Yes, your body needs some cholesterol to function properly. But having too much cholesterol puts you at the risk of ending up in heart disease or stroke. Do you know how to manage your blood cholesterol in an ayurvedic way?

This article will guide you through the ways to manage your blood cholesterol levels in a natural way.

Why does high cholesterol end up in heart disease or stroke?

When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. When the heart does not get enough oxygenated blood, the risk of heart attack increases. If there is a decreased flow of blood to the brain due to fat deposits in arteries supplying oxygenated blood to the brain, that can result in a stroke.

There are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association, all adults must check their cholesterol every 4 to 6 years starting at age 20. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol.

Cholesterol is carried through your blood, attached to proteins. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called a lipoprotein.

Based on the type of cholesterol the lipoprotein carries, it is classified into 2 types.

  • Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) – Also known as the bad cholesterol. It builds up in the walls of the arteries making them hard and narrow.
  • High-density Lipoprotein (LDL) – Also known as good cholesterol. It picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to the Liver.

 

Ayurveda perspective on cholesterol 

Ayurveda classics has not used the term ‘Cholesterol’ as such. But has discussed medo dhathu (Fat tissue) in detail. There are explanations on how to maintain a healthy quantity and quality of fat tissue.

According to Ayurveda principles, there is an Ashraya ashrayi bhava between Kapha and Medo dhathu (Fat tissue).

What exactly is ashraya ashrayi bhava? It is like an abode and tenant relationship. Which means Meda or Fat tissue is the abode and Kapha is located in the Medo dhathu. Kapha and medas mutually guard or vitiate each other. In normal proportions they are constructive and beneficial in nature. According to Madhava Nidana an ancient classic in Ayurveda, when the pathways and channels in body get blocked by morbid fat, the other tissues get deprived of nutrition.

Just like the bad cholesterol, there is a concept of Ama or toxins in Ayurveda. Ama in the fat tissue is harmful. These metabolic leftovers or toxins are the result of improper digestion and accumulation and can block the channels of the bodies like arteries. As per Ayurveda, in order to have a healthy body ‘Agni’ or digestive fire is really important. When the digestion is balanced and healthy, then the body produces the right amount of cholesterol, in the right proportion to nourish the body.

Manage your blood cholesterol in an ayurvedic way

The imbalance of Kapha is the most important cause of the production of excess cholesterol in the human body.

  • Follow a diet that can pacify Kapha. Include Bitter and Pungent food in the diet.
Include the following in diet
1.       Beans, green gram, Bengal gram, Chick peas or garbanzo beans, horse gram

 

2.       Indian gooseberry or Amla, Neem, Garlic, Radish, Bitter gourd

 

3.       Hot water, Honey, Mustard and mustard oil, Old wine

 

4.       Pepper, ginger, Triphala

 

5.       Barley – Though barley is sweet and astringent in taste it is a coolant and help pacifying excess Kapha

 

  • Taking easy to digest – light diet, warm foods, having an early dinner etc. keeps Kapha in check

Healthy Recipes to try at home for lowering Cholesterol levels 

  • Amla Drink – Mix one teaspoon of Indian gooseberry powder (amla) in a glass of warm water. Drink it daily in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • Amla Ginger Juice –

A study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, compared the effect of cholesterol-lowering drugs against amla. In addition to reducing cholesterol, amla was found to provide the additional benefit of protection against atherosclerosis and CAD. Daily intake of amla not only reduces bad cholesterol levels but also reduces the damage due to oxidation.

Ingredients –

Frozen or fresh Indian Gooseberry – ½ cup

Ginger chopped – 1 tsp.

Honey – 1 tbsp.

Water – 1 cup

Lemon juice – 1tbsp.

Method of preparation –

Blend all the ingredients together and have empty stomach

  • Coriander Tea

Add two teaspoons of coriander seed powder to one cup of water. Boil the mixture and then strain it. Add honey and cardamom (1/2 tsp. each). Replace regular tea with Coriander tea.

  • Boil few leaves of mint with water. Add some honey and pepper powder. Drink lukewarm 2-3 times a day.
  • Fenugreek seeds or methi helps in lowering Cholesterol. Saponins found in fenugreek help remove cholesterol from the body and its fiber helps reduce the synthesis in the liver.
  • Green Tea

Green tea has the highest concentration of polyphenols associated with not only lowering LDL Cholesterol but also increasing HDL Cholesterol.

Simple Green tea recipe –

Boil one cup of water. Put 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves in it. Strain and add ½ tsp. each of lemon juice and honey. Serve warm.

Top 5 Herbs for reducing High cholesterol levels

1.       Turmeric It lowers LDL cholesterol levels and thereby can cut off the accumulation of plaques in the arterial walls. It can be used for cooking in your vegetables.
2.       Ginger The medicinal properties in ginger help in lowering Cholesterol. Include ginger in cooking or you can consume 1tsp. ginger juice with a pinch of rock salt 2-3 times a day.
3.       Garlic The traditional recipe Rasona ksheerapaka or Garlic milk helps in lowering cholesterol levels due to the presence of Sulphur and anti-clotting factors in garlic.
4.       Cinnamon Include in cooking or have ½ tsp. powder with honey at bedtime.
5.       Flax seeds The abundance of lignans in Flax seeds helps lowering cholesterol levels. It’s rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

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Heart-Healthy Foods –

To reduce cholesterol and improve heart health You can make slight changes and replacements in the diet.

  • Avoid red meat and full-fat dairy products. Replace dairy with coconut or almond milk. Saturated fats found in whole dairy and red meat can reduce your total cholesterol level. By reducing them you can keep your LDL or bad cholesterol in check.
  • Avoid or reduce Trans-fats. Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. If you check the ingredients of your store-bought Cookies, pies, crackers and all you can see the presence of Trans fat.
  • Include plenty of omega-3 Fatty acids in the diet. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds.
  • Soluble fibers can reduce the absorption of cholesterol in to the bloodstream. Oatmeal, apples, pears, black beans, Brussel sprouts, avocados, broccoli, turnip, etc. has soluble fiber in it.

 

Lifestyle changes for controlling High cholesterol

 

  • EXERCISE

Moderate physical activity can help to increase High density Lipoprotein (HDL). Walk for half an hour daily or Check with your doctor and perform vigorous aerobic activity for 5 days a week for 20 minutes. Adding physical activity, even in short intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight. You can even try riding bike to your work or go swimming alternate days. Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking farther from your office. Doing yard works on weekends can increase the physical activity.

  • Quit smoking

Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. Cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, making them likely to accumulate fatty deposits.

  • Lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight
  • Virechana or Purgation – It’s ideal to do a detox or cleanse every 3 months. It helps in balancing the high cholesterol levels and improves digestion and assimilation.
  • Udwarthana or dry powder massage can be performed which helps in reducing excess body weight.
  • Avoid day sleep and indulge in good sleeping habits.

 

Medication to lower cholesterol should not be taken or discontinued without the doctor’s orders.  But still, you can always try healthy food habits and lifestyle changes to improve your high cholesterol levels.

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash