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A Bark That's Good for Your Heart

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Spice slashes fat and heart attack risk by 10%

Now that we’re well into the colder months, you may be looking for ways to keep things interesting to avoid midwinter boredom. Cinnamon could be just the thing you’re looking for to spice up your diet and improve heart health. The warm and aromatic spice has become a common household staple. Originally from South East Asia, it’s a fragrant spice made from peeled, dried and rolled bark. Research has shown that it has been linked to reduced abdominal fat and improved gut health, increased HDL (good cholesterol) and now new research published in Lipids in Health and Disease, shows that it could cut heart attack risk by 10%.

Investigators looked at the effects of oral cinnamon in a double blind, randomized, controlled trial within a group of 116 Asian Indians with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition where an individual may have a group of symptoms including abdominal obesity coupled with impaired glucose tolerance, poor cholesterol levels as well as hypertension. Over 16 weeks, 58 participants were given 3 grams of cinnamon daily via capsule, while the other 58 individuals were given a placebo. Prior to the start of the intervention, all participants were provided with dietary advice in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines for Asian Indians, plus counseling regarding physical activity. These habits were to be implemented for four weeks before the cinnamon (or placebo) was administered.

Interestingly, those that took cinnamon experienced significant decreases in fasting blood sugar along with improved lipid panels and blood pressure as compared to the placebo group.  Three grams of cinnamon is just over 1 teaspoon which can easily be achieved through diet.  Try our Banana and Blue Breakfast Smoothie  for ¼ tsp per serving or Banana Berry Breakfast Cups will get you ¾ tsp per serving while smaller amounts of cinnamon in dishes like Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Salsa or Moroccan Fruit Salad can really add up quickly. You can even add ½ -1 tsp to coffee ground before brewing to sneak the benefits into your morning brew. Experiment with cinnamon at home to see how you enjoy it most.

Published February 1, 2018

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