The heart is responsible for pumping blood around the body, providing oxygen and nutrients and removing waste substances. One of the best ways to keep heart health in check is to eat a healthy balanced diet, with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, fibrous foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta, some dairy foods, protein, and unsaturated oils and spreads.
A 2017 Romanian study reported cinnamon could help boost heart health
While it’s essential you eat foods that fall under all these food groups, specific foods have also been found to improve heart health.
A 2017 Romanian study reported cinnamon can reduce triglycerides, which is a type of fat found in blood that may raise your risk of developing coronary artery disease.
It was also found to lower total cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is vital for normal function of the body, but too much can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Holland & Barrett gives and explanation of what cinnamon is: “Cinnamon is a spice derived from the inside bark of the Cinnamomum tree. When the bark dries, it curls into ‘quills’ or cinnamon sticks.
“This spice has been a popular cooking ingredient throughout history, with its use thought to date from Ancient Egypt. Christopher Columbus was among many explorers sent to search for the spice.
“Historically, cinnamon has been revered almost as much for its health properties as for its distinctive aroma and flavour. Traditionally, it has been used as a breath-freshener because of its anti-bacterial effects.”
Cinnamon is available in its natural stick form, ground down, or as capsules, tea and essential oil extracts.
But how much cinnamon is safe to take?
The high street health store states: “In general, cinnamon is safe, but it’s important to know which type of cinnamon you are taking.”
If you take cassia cinnamon it advises each teaspoon contains 5g of coumarin, a plant compound that can damage the liver if taken in large amounts.
For this reason, the European Food Safety Authority has set safe daily limits.
Up to 3g (1tsp) of cinnamon cassia is recommended daily.
If you take ceylon cinnamon, this contains only trace amounts of coumarin, so can be consumed in larger amounts of up to 5g (2.5tsp) a day.
You should avoid taking cinnamon supplements if you are pregnant or a child, as this hasn’t been proved safe.
Cinnamon should also be avoided if you’re taking medications that can affect the liver, such as paracetamol or statins.
Three other supplements that have been proven to boost heart health are magnesium, calcium and silica.
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