Insulin resistance, triglycerides (fats), inflammation and elevated cholesterol are all precursors to cardiovascular disease (CVD), the major cause of death in Australia. We all know that CVD is generally a preventable condition and that the food we eat plays a major role, but are there any specific foods that can support us in minimising these risks?
In short, absolutely! There is often research on different spices and their medicinal effects, but one spice stands out from the others when it comes to reducing symptoms leading to CVD – and that spice is cinnamon.
Most of the studies examine the benefits of cinnamon in Type 2 diabetes. This is because cinnamon has been proven to lower sugar in different ways. Firstly, it slows the breakdown of carbohydrates (sugar) entering the bloodstream and secondly, it improves the uptake of glucose into cells preventing the development of insulin resistance. This anti-diabetic effect has been shown to lower blood sugar levels by 10-29%. Trials have also shown that cinnamon may reduce cholesterol by 12-26% and triglycerides (fats) by 23-30%.
The dose used in these human trials ranged between 1-3 grams of cinnamon per day (½ - 2 teaspoons) over a 40-60-day period. The studies unanimously conclude that including cinnamon in your daily diet may prove to have a significant impact on heart health.
But, be careful. If you are deciding to eat regular doses of cinnamon for its medicinal effects, pick wisely. There are two types of cinnamon; Cassia and Ceylon. Cassia cinnamon is considered to be cheap and low quality and also contains a compound called coumarin, which can be harmful in large doses. Ceylon is more expensive, better quality and safer to use in high doses. Make a habit to always look at the “ingredients” list on the back of every packaged product you buy!
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