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Cholesterol and Ayurveda

5 best herbs to lower bad cholesterol in your body

What is the best way to lower our cholesterol and bad cholesterol? From the foods we take daily, lipids are absorbed and assimilated for various physiological functions in our body. Cholesterol (lipids) is present in fatty acids. Some amount of this cholesterol is needed for example proper utilisation of food particles, formation of hormones, bile etc.

Cholesterol is found as three different types:

  • LDL – low density cholesterol
  • HDL – high density cholesterol
  • VLDL – very low density cholesterol

Among them HDL is required for the functions explained earlier and is usually known as the useful cholesterol where as LDL is the built up fat or residue fat in the circulatory system. This is popularly known as the bad cholesterol. If the amount of LDL is gone beyond normal level, it can create major health problems. Especially those related to heart and circulation.

In the present scenario, cholesterol related problems have become a major health hazard.  On average, 50% of people above the age of 25 are affected with increased lipid level. The usual lipid health issues are:

  1. Hypercholestremia – when serum cholesterol level increases
  2. Hypertriglyceridemia – when serum triglyceride level increases
  3. Hypercholestremia and hypertriglyceridemia together – when both serum cholesterol and triglyceride level increase.

One of the major symptoms caused by increased LDL cholesterol level (bad cholesterol) is atherosclerosis meaning the LDL cholesterol gets deposited on the lining of blood vessels and starts accumulating. Calcium deposits later with them making these plaques harder and cause losing natural elasticity of blood vessels. Other health issues caused by elevated cholesterol level are:

  1. Coronary artery disease and heart attack
  2. Aortic aneurysm (bulging of aorta blood vessel)
  3. Peripheral vascular diseases (Diseases to the blood vessels in the periphery)
  4. Metabolic disorders
  5. Stroke
  6. Liver disorders
  7. Renal disorders

As per Ayurveda Cholesterol is caused by impairment in digestive fire (Agni). There are 7 tissues formed inside our body, each developing from the previous one. These 7 tissues are:

  1. Plasma
  2. Blood
  3. Muscle
  4. Adipose
  5. Bone
  6. Marrow
  7. Semen (menstrual blood in ladies)

Due to etiological factors, adipose tissue can get impaired and the fire principle concerned with it can go malfunctioning. Thus, the conversion to next tissue level will also be impaired. As a result undigested and residual adipose tissue gets accumulated in the lining of blood vessels and they may even get transported to other areas as well.

The etiological or causative factors for this are:

  1. Sedentary lifestyle
  2. Improper diet – intake of deep fried foods, oily foods, fat-rich foods, junk foods, meat
  3. Lack of exercise
  4. Sleeping during day time

Ayurvedic science has explained ways to clear our channels from excess or unwanted materials like toxins with help of herbs and correcting lifestyle. Herbs useful in treating bad cholesterol are:

  1. Arjuna
  2. Garlic
  3. Coriander
  4. Tulasi
  5. Kalamegh

Those suffering with bad cholesterol levels should also alter their lifestyle. Some recommendations are:

  1. Keep check the amount of calories taken by a person
  2. Avoid chocolates, ice creams, red meat and high calorie food items.
  3. Include more leafy vegetables, fruits, soy and soy products.
  4. Drink a lot of water.
  5. Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol.

Yoga and exercise are very beneficial in controlling high cholesterol levels. Yoga postures like ardhamatsyendrasana, vajrasana, sarvangasana, surya namaskar and shalabhasana help a lot in maintaining normalcy of cholesterol level in our body. Stress also adds up to high cholesterol levels. Hence, meditation is another way to relax body and mind.

Key words: bad cholesterol, heart disease, Lipid metabolism

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