Can cinnamon help to lower blood pressure?

September 05 2013

Cinnamon is already one of the most popular and commonly-used spices in any chef's repertoire, but demand for the delicious flavouring could be set to increase following new research into its potential health benefits.

A recent study carried out by the University of Toronto - in association with the UK's University of West London and London South Bank University - has revealed that this ingredient could play an important role in lowering blood pressure levels among diabetic and prediabetic people.

The meta-analysis of 93 studies suggested that cinnamon can be linked with beneficial effects on the majority of factors associated with metabolic syndrome, including insulin sensitivity, glucose, lipids, antioxidants, inflammation, blood pressure and body weight.

Although the paper in the Nutrition medical journal said more research needs to be done to prove this link, the overall findings add to cinnamon's existing reputation as a healthy and tasty addition to any dish.

It is also understood that the spice has possible anti-clotting and antimicrobial effects, suggesting it could appeal to Canadian diners who are actively seeking healthier dining options at the moment.

One of the oldest spices used in cooking today, cinnamon's culinary history can be traced back to Biblical times and has been employed by cooks across the world for generations.

The spice is also extremely versatile and can create appealing taste experiences when added to both main courses and desserts.

Adding cinnamon to recipes for fruit pies, doughnuts, cookies, buns and cakes can lend fragrance and sweetness to an already tempting dessert or snack item, while it can also enhance beverages such as coffee, tea and liqueurs.

Ground cinnamon can also enliven various meat dishes, being an ideal addition to curries, steak marinades and sauces. Chefs might also like to try adding it to black beans and serving it with burritos and nachos for a combination that is difficult to resist.