The popular spice cinnamon is used to enhance the flavor of sweet as well as spicy dishes. It is used in various types of foods, in all parts of the world, as it inhibits the growth of bacteria in foods. Study reports show that proanthrocyanidin from cinnamon enhances the function of insulin receptors within the body cells; which in turn enables the cells to absorb glucose from the blood and convert it into energy. This is the way it helps stabilize blood glucose levels. But can this spice lower blood cholesterol levels? Is there any link between the intake of cinnamon and cholesterol levels? Let us try to find out the answers to these questions.
Use of Cinnamon for Lowering Cholesterol
Cinnamon and honey diet helps lose weight, controls diabetes, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, lowers the chances of having stomach problems, strengthens the immune system, and improves overall health. To reap these health benefits, you need to consume pure cinnamon. Cinnamomum verum, is the ‘true’ cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon; which helps enhance the flavor of sweet pastries. Another variety, Cinnamomum cassia, or cassia, is the Chinese cinnamon, which is also known as ‘bastard cinnamon’. It is stronger and is used in a variety of foods. Cinnamomum verum is more expensive than Cinnamomum cassia, the commonly available variety.
Various study reports have shown that the spice helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides levels. The popular journal called ‘Diabetes Care’ had published a study report saying that regular consumption of this spice can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels significantly. Another report published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology states that cinnamon works great for metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, elevated glucose and lipids, increased weight gain, etc.) I know, more studies are required to prove the fact scientifically, but there is no harm in using cinnamon in moderation, in a regular diet. In fact, it exhibits several health benefits.
As far as the intake of cinnamon and cholesterol lowering is considered, there exist different theories. According to some, cinnamon triggers a thermogenic reaction in the body, which results in an increased rate of metabolism and the fast burning of calories, leading to weight loss, especially loss of fat (lipids).
According to many experts, as cinnamon promotes low blood sugar levels, the body requires less insulin. The pancreas then starts producing less insulin. The hormone insulin encourages the body to store excess sugar in the form of fat. When insulin levels are low, the tendency of the body to store fat is also minimized. Various study reports have shown that people who regularly consumed a small amount of cinnamon, lost weight and abdominal fat significantly. It is a fact that high cholesterol levels and excessive weight (or obesity) go hand in hand. Studies have shown that only 1g (lowest amount) of cinnamon per day can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), total cholesterol, and triglycerides levels.
Cinnamon facts inform us that the combination of calcium and fiber in the spice help remove bile salts from the body. Apart from reducing the risk of colon cancer, the above action helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. Calcium and fiber bind to bile salts and promote removal of bile salts. So the body is compelled to break down cholesterol as it needs to produce new bile. This helps lower high cholesterol levels, prevents atherosclerosis and heart diseases. Fiber also helps relieve the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea.
You can add a pinch of cinnamon powder to tea with some fresh ginger. There doesn’t exist any magic pill or magic herb which can help you shed those extra pounds and can offer you a perfect shape. Cholesterol levels and weight can be controlled only with the help of a balanced diet and regular exercises. Home remedies like cinnamon can work great only when accompanied by diet and exercise. Excessive expectations regarding ‘intake of cinnamon and cholesterol lowering’ may result in disappointment. Cinnamon cannot substitute a healthy diet or vigorous physical activity, but it can definitely promote low cholesterol levels and healthy weight loss.