Ways of Controlling Cholesterol through Ayurveda

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High cholesterol levels in routine blood test reports have become common in a doctor’s clinic. 1 in 5 patients without any significant health complaints tends to see elevated values of cholesterol in their routine blood tests. What exactly is this cholesterol and should you be worried about it?

Simply put, cholesterol is a fat or lipid which is created in the cells of the body, necessary for making hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. It is needed in adequate amounts for the body to function properly. Certain food items contain a high amount of cholesterol that eventually exceeds the normal levels of cholesterol and often leads to conditions such as hyperlipidemia, gallstones, and cardiac ailments.

Know Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol is transported to the blood through compounds made of lipids and proteins called lipoproteins. There are two major types of lipoproteins, 

  • LDL‐C – Low-density lipoproteins or BAD cholesterol causing arteries to block and increasing the risk of heart disease 
  • HDL‐C –  High-density lipoproteins or GOOD cholesterol helping remove the excess LDL from the arteries
  • Triglycerides – Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy.

The combination of high levels of triglycerides with low HDL and/or high LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk for health problems, such as heart attacks. Different types of fatty acids in foods have different effects on health depending on the amount consumed and how they affect the body’s metabolism profile.

Controlling Cholesterol through Ayurveda

High cholesterol is known as Hyperlipidemia which is a metabolic condition. Ayurveda considers high cholesterol as Medovriddhi, where Meda refers to one of the Dhatus or Lipid in modern medicine, and Vriddhi means increase. Ayurveda aims to balance the high levels with diet, lifestyle, and herbal plant-based medicines to avoid any complications due to high cholesterol. Here are some Ayurveda tips to manage your cholesterol levels: 

 

  1. Limit Saturated Fats – Limit the intake of saturated fats such as animal fat, various dairy products, palm oil, etc results in increasing LDL levels or bad cholesterol. Instead, opt for Polyunsaturated fats that help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure, inhibiting clot formation in the arteries, and boosting levels of HDL or good cholesterol.
  2. Quit Smoking – Nicotine is the main component in cigarette smoke contributes to plaque buildup on artery walls and could trigger heart attacks and strokes. Nicotine also contributes significantly to elevated LDL cholesterol.
  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight – Obesity is closely linked to elevated Triglycerides and LDL, and increased risk of heart disease. Exercise regularly to reduce abdominal fat and improve stamina. Brisk walking, swimming, and aerobic exercises are beneficial. 
  4. Ayurveda Diet – Ayurveda recommends eating a diet moderate in carbohydrates, low in fat and minimal salt with plenty of exercise, and good sleep every night. Replace table salt with natural salt such as rock salt and include herbs such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and black pepper in the diet. These herbs improve metabolism and help in fat loss. 

Ayurveda Treatment – In addition to eating right and staying active, Ayurveda focuses on certain plant-based herbal medicines to improve metabolism. Certain treatments such as Panchakarma help to reduce cholesterol levels and are often prescribed to patients with conditions such as hyperlipidemia, obesity, etc. Panchakarma procedures are only carried out under the supervision and guidance of expert Ayurveda physicians.

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