Heart disease is the world’s biggest killer, and causes 23.4 per cent of deaths in the United States. The good news, however, is that there are many things we can do to decrease our chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease. There are a range of small but significant life changes that all play their part in improving heart health, which range all the way from more frequent exercise, to following a healthy, whole-foods based diet.
As part of a healthy diet, there are plenty of of natural superfoods that can boost heart health even further. Enter Cinnamon – the everyday spice with incredible health benefits. New research suggests that this superfood spice has the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as boosting overall health. In this article, we explore how.
Heart Disease: The Lowdown
There are many different forms of heart disease, but the biggest killer in the US is coronary heart disease (CHD). It's caused when the arteries that flow to and from the heart become blocked by a buildup of plaque, leading to heart attacks, ruptures and other fatal conditions.
Treatments for heart disease have improved dramatically in the past few decades. Now, coronary conditions are treated with prescription drugs that reduce the risk of clotting and balloon implants that open up the arteries. Improvements in bypass surgeries have meant that heart disease is often considered to be chronic rather than fatal.
So what is the underlying cause of heart disease? As with many other modern diseases, the answer lies in inflammation. Research suggests that the buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in blood vessels can prompt the body to launch an attack with white blood cells and chemicals, resulting in increased inflammation.
The good news, however, is that our diet can play a huge part in reducing inflammation. Superfoods like Cinnamon are packed full of phytonutrients, antioxidants and vitamins, all of which can help protect our heart.
How Can Cinnamon Reduce Our Risk of Heart Disease?
On top of its many known health benefits, research now suggests that Cinnamon might be able to help protect against the world's biggest killer – heart disease. Research presented in 2017 at the at the American Heart Association’s Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology/Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Scientific Sessions, revealed that Cinnamon can activate the body's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory systems and slow down the fat-storing process.
The researchers fed rats a high-fat diet supplemented with Cinnamon for three months. After the trial period, they found the rats that had been supplemented with Cinnamon weighed less and developed less abdominal fat compared with those fed the high-fat diet without Cinnamon. According to lab tests, the Cinnamon group also showed healthier blood levels of sugar, insulin and fat.
While more research needs to be carried out on humans, the results are promising. They suggest that this everyday spice may hold one of the secrets to naturally promoting heart health.
So how exactly does Cinnamon work to help protect the heart?
Cinnamon is Rich in Polyphenols
According to Dr Vijaya Juturu, the co-author of the study, Cinnamon's amazing ability to reduce the heart disease risk factors comes from its impressive offering of polyphenols – a chemical that boasts a lot of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols have long been associated with improved cardiovascular health, including the modulation of various cardiovascular parameters: vascular and platelet function, blood pressure and plasma lipid profile. It is believed that antioxidants help tackle these health issues by preventing oxidative stress of blood cells. During oxidation, free radicals affect blood cells and cause damage to blood vessels by robbing electrons from lipids found in cell membranes.
Using Cinnamon for Better Heart Health
Luckily, Cinnamon is one of the world's favorite spices, thanks to its sweet, fragrant and warming fragrance and taste. A common addition to all kinds of sweet treats and savory dishes, this superfood spice is found everywhere – especially in the winter months. For a healthy breakfast, why not add 1/2tsp Cinnamon powder to your oatmeal, or sprinkle some into your smoothie for extra flavor. Cinnamon is also delicious in stews and soups. For the ultimate heart-healthy meal, add a teaspoon of Cinnamon to a vegan bean chilli.
However you use Cinnamon in your everyday diet, just make sure you always choose the best. Organic Ceylon Cinnamon boasts the most impressive nutritional credentials, making it the perfect choice when it comes to boosting your heart's health.