There’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to cinnamon – this humble spice is packing a host of benefits, from lowering blood pressure to reducing your risk for heart disease. We’ll be unpacking a few of the impressive reasons to add some cinnamon to your shopping list this week.
Cinnamon is made up of two varieties – there’s Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon, the latter of which is the most commonly sold type and is known for its stronger flavour. But the most significant component of this type of cinnamon is its cinnamaldehyde content – this is the stuff that's responsible for a number of impressive health benefits. We’ll be diving into 3 of these benefits and why it's time to sprinkle some cinnamon over your next bowl of oatmeal.
Lowers blood pressure
One of the most impressive benefits of cinnamon is its effects on blood pressure – research shows that this humble spice can help lower high blood pressure, with a study finding it may relax blood vessels, thereby helping prevent spiked blood pressure levels. But using cinnamon for this cause – along with other conditions affecting the heart – is not a recent practise, with early uses dating back centuries. Well, the research shows they were onto something – one study indicates that the consistent consumption of cinnamon over 3 months lead to significantly improved blood pressure levels, finding that it reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure refers to the measurement of the pressure in your arteries while your heart is beating, while diastolic blood pressure refers to the pressure while your heart rests between each beat. High levels of either is a sure-fire way to end up with heart disease, so it’s not a bad idea to consume foods with protective properties – and cinnamon’s pretty high on the list!
Cinnamon boasts impressive anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal dietary addition for those dealing with chronic inflammation. While a bit of inflammation is important in helping our bodies fight infections, things start to turn pear-shaped when our body begins targeting itself. The results can stem from anything from gut issues to poor mood and immunity – that’s why it’s worth stocking up on a few dietary supplements, and cinnamon is one of the more impressive, research-backed options on the market. Research has found that the antioxidants in cinnamon are the source of these anti-inflammatory properties, including polyphenols – berries and green tea are also known for their polyphenol content, and it happens to be the reason for their anti-inflammatory reputations too.
Did you know that this versatile spice can also lower your risk for heart disease? Cinnamon has been associated with a significant reduction of triglyceride and cholesterol levels, thereby slashing your chances of winding up with heart disease. One study found that just three quarters of a teaspoon of cinnamon has the power to reduce bad cholesterol – also known as LDL cholesterol – along with balancing blood sugar levels and reducing the severity of metabolic disease, the latter of which is known to lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity. Heart disease is one of the biggest killers around the world, affecting 1.2 million Aussie adults with 27% of deaths attributed to the condition. Some of the signs to look out for include:
- Chest pain, tightness and pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or numbness in the legs or arms
- Neck, jaw, back, throat or back pain
With cinnamon’s strong track record for boosting heart health, it’s worth dusting your morning oatmeal with a bit of this humble spice! It's one of the most versatile ingredients to add to everything from savoury dishes to desserts – here are a few ideas to get the inspiration flowing:
- Curries and soups
- Veggie bakes
- Roast nuts
- Hot cocoa
- Cakes, biscuits and cookies
- Rice pudding
You can even add a dash of cinnamon to your morning coffee for an extra health boost!
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