Herbalists and folk practitioners have used plant remedies for centuries, but only recently have scientists begun to study the powers of common herbs and spices. High cholesterol is a major public health problem as it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. The World Health Organization estimates that about 2.6 million deaths worldwide are linked to high cholesterol. Can a popular spice help lower your levels naturally?
One review of 13 randomized controlled trials examined whether there was an association between cinnamon supplementation and blood lipid concentrations.
They each took one to six grams of cinnamon powder daily for up to four months.
The review authors found that cinnamon supplementation significantly reduced blood triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.
The study concluded that cinnamon supplementation was found to be significantly associated with higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, known as the “good cholesterol”.
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In another study published in the National Library of Health, further research was conducted on Indian spices such as cinnamon for heart health.
“Studies have shown potential antioxidant and antimicrobial, and cinnamon’s anti-diarrheal activity is well documented,” the study began.
She added: “Indian Materia Medica” and “Indian Medicinal Plants – Compendium of 500 species” classify cinnamon as an herbal drug with cardiovascular effects.
The study found the circulatory tonic effects of cinnamon reported in many books on medicinal plants.
It was also found that dietary cinnamon increases bile duct secretion of cholesterol and phospholipids without affecting the bile content.
Studies in rats using cinnamon on cholesterol levels found a significant anti-hypercholesterolemic effect and decreased serum triglycerides at a single dose of 250 mg/kg body weight.
Suppression of serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids, and low-density lipoprotein levels was also observed in another investigation.
“The same group observed in their extended study using an 80 percent methanol extract and chloroform fraction from different types of cinnamon that the extracts reduced elevated levels of total cholesterol and serum triglycerides in corn oil-induced hyperlipidemia rats.”
Health experts advise to stay away from foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
These man-made oils are sources of unsaturated fatty acids that are known to raise bad cholesterol.
They lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which protects the heart and increase the body’s inflammatory response.
You can find trans fats listed on the Nutrition Facts panel for packaged foods.
Reduce the amount of food you eat with unsaturated fatty acids.