Cholesterol is essentially a type of fat (wax-like element ) that circulates in the bloodstream. It is present in the cell wall, nerve covering and brain cell. Cholesterol is a component of the plasma membrane and is essential for maintaining proper membrane permeability and fluidity. Cholesterol also helps in vitamin D synthesis.
Imbalanced cholesterol builds up the plaque that narrows the blood vessels(atherosclerosis). If the coronary arteries get blocked, it can lead to heart attack. Sometimes these plaque breaks off and travel, thereby obstructing vessels elsewhere in the body
Cholesterol circulates in the blood attached to proteins called as lipoproteins.
Lipoproteins are of two types:-
LDL Cholesterol is also called the Bad Cholesterol. It is the cholesterol that contributes to fatty build up (plaque) which eventually narrow arteries. It can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
HDL is also known as Good Cholesterol. HDL act as a scavenger of LDL Cholesterol by taking it back to the liver. At liver, it is broken down and passed out of the body.
Thus a healthy HDL will protect us from the risk of heart attack. High level of HDL also protects us from heart diseases.
In Ayurveda , cholesterol is mainly related with meda dhatu(lipid tissue). Ayurveda mainly focuses on how to maintain a healthy quantity and quality of this tissue in our body. When meda dhatu is balanced – it subsequently helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels.
According to Ayurveda, the major factor behind the balance of the body is Agni (digestive fire). It is important to understand that according to Ayurveda, the fat tissue(Cholesterol) is not bad and is essential for the proper body functions.
Ayurvedic treatment mainly focuses on balancing the cholesterol. The food we eat is metabolized by 13 agnis which work together in the digestion process.
Yakrit (Liver) plays a major role in maintaining balanced cholesterol. Liver screens the toxins before they enter the bloodstream. If the liver is overloaded with toxins, the 13 types of agnis(digestive fires) are disturbed.
Imbalance in Agni can lead to 3 types of imbalances
- Increase in meda dhatu
- Decrease in meda dhatu
- Meda dhatu mixed with ama(type of toxin)
When meda dhatu mixes with ama it leads to imbalanced cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a Kapha dosha disorder. Ayurveda mainly focuses on Kapha pacifying diets that mainly favours food with astringent, pungent and bitter tastes.
Given below are the major cholesterol reducing foods–
All types of green leaves including kale, spinach, chard and mustard greens helps in reducing cholesterol naturally. When cooked with spices these greens can help cleanse the bowel and prevent bad cholesterol from accumulating in our body.
Astringent foods :
Astringent taste mainly includes pulses and dried beans such as split moong dal, garbanzo beans, lentils. Astringent tastes also include vegetables in the cruciferous family such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower and also fruits such as apple and pears.
Kapha pacifying diet also includes grains such as barley(enhances metabolism), unprocessed oats(provide fibre), quinoa(provides zinc, which enhances fat metabolism) and amaranth.
Try to avoid sweet, sour and salty foods. Sweet doesn’t just mean sugar it also includes grains like wheat, pasta, rice and bread.
Eat your food warm as it helps counteract the cool, earthy Kapha dosha.Avoid saturated fats and cook with small amount of ghee or olive oil
Triphala (Digestone )for improved digestion and fat metabolism.
Replace unhealthy cooking oils with Ghee (clarified butter).
Home Remedies for High Cholesterol
Tulsi helps in disintegrating cholesterol from the arteries and thus washes it out of the body.
Having 2-3 garlic cloves a day can help in removing bad cholesterol by breaking it from arterial walls.
This herb is a diuretic and it helps in flushing out wastes from our body. It also helps in removing excess cholesterol.
Guggul (Commiphora wightii)
Guggul is the sap of Mukul Myrrh tree and is used for lowering high cholesterol.
Terminalia Arjuna (Arjuna)
Bark of Arjuna tree is white in colour and helps in dissolving cholesterol from the arteries.
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