In the last 2 decades, there has been an increasing importance for monitoring the cholesterol level and the treatments for cholesterol. All for a lot of purpose, but mainly to lessen the risk of heart diseases.
The American Heart Association finds that around 98.6 million Americans who are aged 20 & above have cholesterol above the optimal level and hypercholesterolaemia is estimated to cause 56% of ischemia heart diseases (a disease characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart) and about 4.4 million deaths per year. A research says that about 72% Indians have low levels of the good cholesterol.
This article aims to show how Ayurveda is helpful in managing the hypercholesterolaemia, which is a leading contributor of coronary heart disease.
Cholesterol is a greasy, fat-like substance found in the cells of the body. It is used to form hormones, cell membranes and other bodily functions, thus plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body. However, high cholesterol in the blood may lead to increase heart diseases.
Risks of high LDL: Too much of LDL cholesterol in the blood can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries. When joining with other substances, this LDL can form a thick, hard deposit which blocks the arteries. And this is really not good for health, since artery is the one that conveys blood from the heart to other parts of the body.
Importance of high HDL: High HDL levels decreases the risk of heart diseases. HDL reduces LDL cholesterol by transporting it back to the liver, where it can be reprocessed. Medical experts say that HDL removes the harmful bad cholesterol.
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the ancient medical systems. Its holistic healthcare method is based on a unique understanding of the body, mind and spirit. The Ayurvedic treatment is processed based on the laws of nature. The aim of Ayurveda is to balance and put together these elements to prevent health problems and support wellness through herbs, spices, nutrition, diet, yoga, meditation, and external therapies.
When it comes to the Ayurvedic care for the cholesterol issue, it involves treatments that pierce into cholesterol levels and maintain the body physique. Also, general guidelines like eating heart-healthy foods with no fats and oils; quitting the habit of smoking; reducing the intake of alcohol; being active with regular exercise; taking up Ayurvedic medicines will help to keep the right cholesterol level in the body.
Cholesterol from the perspective of Ayurveda:
It is to be noted that cholesterol is not mentioned in the Ayurvedic history. Instead, it texts as meda dhatu (lipid tissue) and describes how to maintain the health of fat tissue in the body. When meda dhatu is healthy and balanced, it consequently helps to sustain balanced cholesterol.
Meda dhatu is one of the seven body tissues. According to Ayurveda, the body is a mixture of and malas, dhatus, and doshas.
Doshas: fundamental physiological governing principles (Kapha, Pitta, and Vata)
Dhatus: 7 tissue elements that support and maintain the body, including shukra dhatu (sperm and ovum), majja dhatu (bone marrow), asthi dhatu (bone), meda dhatu (fat), mamsa dhatu (muscle), rakta dhatu (blood plasma), and rasa dhatu (nutritive fluid).
Malas: metabolic impurities (sweat, bowels, and urine)
The main factor behind body balance is the balanced agni (digestive fire). Digestion is the basis for good health in every part of the body. When digestion, assimilation, and elimination are balanced, cholesterol and fat tissue will also be balanced.
In the Ayurvedic perspective, the production of cholesterol does not need to be diminished, but needs to be balanced. When the digestion is balanced, the body produces cholesterol with right quantity, in the right proportion to support the body.
Improve HDL and lower LDL:
Ayurveda recommends that a diet and exercise can help to achieve the goal of controlling cholesterol level. Given here are a few beneficial measures that can bring down your high cholesterol level to normal, and keen on preventing atherosclerosis & its hazards.
- Start your day with fresh fruits and grains like oats as they are high in soluble fiber.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.
- Have a large amount of anti-oxidant foods such as strawberries, nuts, broccoli, carrots, and spinach.
- Reduce intake of dairy products or consumption of any animal products, as they are rich in saturated fatty acids and dietary cholesterol.
- Regular physical exercises like walking an hour increases HDL cholesterol.
- Refresh your body by doing breathing exercises for at least 15 minutes daily.
- Quit smoking, as smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels.
Ayurveda in fighting cholesterol:
- Take a grill of 1 or 2 small garlic cloves with your meal.
- Get Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) from Ayurvedic store and use it as per instructions on the container. It is effective in lowering cholesterol. (Guggul is a tree that exudes a resin. This resin has been used for centuries as part of Ayurvedic traditional medicine.)
- Mix 2 teaspoon of coriander seeds with water and boil it. Filter and drink its water 2 times daily that helps to control cholesterol, wash out toxins, and promotes digestion.
- Ayurvedic expert says that taking 1 to 2 capsules of Arjun (Terminalia arjuna, rich in co-enzyme Q-10, CoQ10) extract per day helps to lower LDL cholesterol and improves HDL recovery.
- Add ingredients (like turmeric and curry leaves) in dishes that have cholesterol lowering properties.
Fruits and vegetables to prevent high cholesterol:
Cholesterol and fats are important for a healthy living. However, when the level of cholesterol rises, you are diagnosed for low or high cholesterol levels in the body. Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level is essential to regulate and streamline the hormones action in the body.
Reduce the intake of food that contains harmful cholesterol content. Foods from plants (such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and seeds) do not contain cholesterol. Listed here are some foods which you can consume to increase your HDL.
Red wine and grape juice: The extracts made from grapes add at least 15% of your HDL. 8 ounces of grape juice or 5 ounces of red wine per day will give strength to you.
No red/ yellow: Avoid eating yellow of eggs and red meat which will increase your LDL. It is not good to have more or taking often, but once in a while is not bad.
Green vegetables: Choose salads during your snack time. There are plenty of healthy foods that can make with green vegetables. They will keep you fit and healthy, and do not add on to your existing cholesterol levels.
Say no to cheese: It is better to replace cheese cubes with soy pieces. Similarly increase your HDL by taking soy milk instead of high fat milk.
Whole grains and legumes: Lentils, sprouted beans, and Quinoa will add HDL levels and do well in your heart. Keep your heart secure with these whole grains and legumes.
Fruits and fish: Lower your LDL and improve HDL by consuming fish like sardine, salmon, and tuna with clams, oysters and mussels. When it comes to fruits, choose fruits like berries and apples that do not raise the level of cholesterol but ensures supply of minerals and vitamins to the body.
Oats: Improve your health by having a breakfast made of oatmeal. You can also try a variety of foods made of oats and milk. Oatmeal is one of the best breakfasts for lowering the cholesterol level.
Go for nuts: Take walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and flax seeds that are rich in good cholesterol and do not harm your health. You can have mixed nuts along with green tea, which is a perfect combination during your break time.
Oils: Avoid Omega-6 oils such as safflower and corn oil. You can use sesame oil, rapeseed oil that contains good fat. Use olive oil instead of sunflower oil. Drive away the risk of cardiovascular attacks by consuming omega 3 fatty acid products.
Lower cholesterol in a natural way:
To reduce the cholesterol number naturally, Ayurveda focus on cholesterol lowering foods and dietary suggestions to balance the overall fat metabolism of the body. For this, Ayurveda suggests balancing Kapha dosha, one of the 3 bodily principles in fat metabolism. Unbalanced Kapha remains at the root of extra production of cholesterol in the body. To enhance fat metabolism, follow a Kapha-pacifying diet, which favors, foods with bitter, and astringent tastes.
Bitter foods: All kinds of leafy greens, including spinach, kale, chard, and mustard greens. When cooked and flavored with spices, these greens help to cleanse the bowel, preventing bad cholesterol from accumulating in the body.
Astringent foods: This includes dried beans or pulses. Go for the smaller beans or split kind instead of larger beans.
The Kapha-pacifying diet also includes healthy grains like processed oats, barley, and so on to improve fat metabolism.
Avoid sour, sweet (also sweet grains like rice, wheat, breads, pasta, along with sweet milk products), and salty foods. Sour foods include lemons, yogurt, cheese, tomatoes and vinegar that are found in pickles, salad dressings, mustard, and ketchup. Avoid bad fats, and cook the food with little amount of olive oil or ghee. Cook your food and try to have it with warm.
The increased level of cholesterol can be controlled by several Ayurvedic treatments. Cholesterol reduction will save you from the cardiovascular diseases, which are the main causes of deaths.
Ayurveda has played a leading role in balancing cholesterol. So, go for the Ayurvedic lifestyle to head a cholesterol free life!
- December 05, 2016
- Nattura Biocare Private Limited