It is a misconception that cholesterol is bad for your body. Cholesterol is an oil-based substance produced in the body as well as taken from the different foods we consume. It is necessary to have HDL (good) cholesterol in the body; however if the LDL (bad) cholesterol level is high, it can create coronary heart diseases, heart stroke, and high blood pressure. The levels of LDL cholesterol in the body can also go high due to several other problems in the body such as diabetes, liver or kidney dysfunction as well as hormonal imbalances such as under-active thyroid gland, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc. LDL cholesterol levels may also go high in women during the period of pregnancy.
According to Ayurveda, unlike what Western medicines suggest, cholesterol plays an important role in lubricating the numerous circulatory channels in the body, which are called shrotas. Cholesterol is not considered very harmful by Ayurveda; however, when ama is present in the body, cholesterol shows a harmful effect.
What Is Ama?
Ama is the metabolic waste that gets accumulated like toxins. It generally gets accumulated in the fat tissues and is caused due to improper digestion. When it is present in the body for a long time, amavisha is created, which gets mixed with the fat tissues and damage the shrotas. This will lead to certain diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart diseases. Ama is also very harmful because it can block the channels in the arteries.
What Does Ayurveda Have To Say About Cholesterol Levels?
To treat problems of high cholesterol, Ayurveda focuses on consuming foods that help lower cholesterol. Ayurveda also focuses on giving dietary recommendations that balance the overall fat metabolism by balancing the Kapha Dosha, one of the three bodily principles that is involved in the metabolism of fat tissues. Ayurveda says that unbalanced Kapha is the cause of high cholesterol in the body.
What Foods Does Ayurveda Recommend To Balance The Kapha?
To balance the Kapha in the body, Ayurveda recommends a certain diet. Bitter, pungent-tasting foods help in balancing the Kapha and enhances the metabolism of fat tissues in the body. Astringent foods like pulses, broccoli, cabbages, dried beans, cauliflowers, apples, pears, etc. also help in reducing the Kapha levels. Bitter foods include all sorts of leafy greens, which include spinach, kale, chard, and mustard greens. When they are cooked with spices, they help in cleansing the bowels and prevent the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the body. It is also recommended to include healthy grains in the diet, such as oats and avoid sugar, sweet grains like rice, wheat, sweet dairy products like cheese and yogurt, and sour foods like lemons, tomatoes, and pickles. Ayurveda also says that consuming warm food, avoiding saturated fats, and cooking in less oil and ghee help in balancing Kapha Dosha.
What Are The Other Ayurvedic Treatments?
Ayurveda has proved that certain herbs also help in the reduction of the accumulation of bad cholesterol and its buildup in the body. Herbs such as Arjuna are very helpful in reducing bad cholesterol and keeping the heart safe and sound. Arjuna is prescribed in the forms of Arjunarishta and ArjunaGhritam. Other medicines include Hridayarnava Rasa and PrabhakaraVati, and if the bad cholesterol levels are too high, Mrigamadasava is prescribed.
What Asanas Are Recommended For Cholesterol Reduction?
Ayurveda says that practicing Yoga can be extremely beneficial to eliminate cholesterol buildup in the body and recommends the practice of certain Asanas to reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
With a proper Kapha-balancing diet, usage of certain herbs such as Arjuna, and practicing certain asanas, one can effectively lower the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in one’s body.