There is something bad about cholesterol.
If your cholesterol is high, you wouldn't know unless you get a blood test done. Sometimes, it gets so bad that it starts narrowing your arteries before you come to know about it.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood that helps building up your cells. It is of 2 types:
Good cholesterol or HDL and bad cholesterol or LDL. Good cholesterol or HDL helps keep your heart healthy.LDL, of course, is the bad guy.
Trouble starts when too much of LDL cholesterol builds up in your body. It begins to get stored in your arteries. This leads to hardening of arteries to the heart and narrows them down. It reduces and eventually blocks the blood flow to your heart. In severe cases, it leads to a heart attack or stroke.
What Causes LDL to Rise?
-If you are overweight, it may lead to a rise in LDL levels
-If you lead a sedentary life with little or no physical workout, it may hike your LDL cholesterol
-Age is another important factor that leads to a rise in LDL level. You will be surprised to know that cholesterol starts rising after you turn 20!
-Genes rule! If any of your family members especially your parents have a medical history of high cholesterol, chances are that you may also develop it!
-If you suffer from other ailments like hypothyroidism, then it elevates your risk for developing high cholesterol
-Food is another major reason for spiking your LDL levels. Eating excess of oily, greasy or rich food with loads of Trans fats and saturated fats can easily toss your cholesterol levels into an upward spiral! See Cholesterol Management.
– Alcohol and smoke are sure shot ways which increase your cholesterol levels.
Track the Cholesterol in Your Diet!
-Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are not unhealthy. In eateries cream, butter, sour cream or whole milk are generously added to it. This makes it heavily loaded with cholesterol.
-Pizza: The delectable pizza is full of high calorie cheese and meat toppings. It boosts your cholesterol count very quickly.
-Sugar and sweets: Added sugar like table sugar is another reason that makes your LDL level go for a spin. Yummy pies, pastries, cookies and sweets also cause the cholesterol levels to shoot up.
-Clarified Butter (Ghee): It is an inseparable part of traditional Indian cooking. It is rich in saturated fats that lead to blockage of arteries.
-Last but not the least, whole milk and milk products that are full fat also increase cholesterol.
Ways To Lower High LDL :
Through food control and proper exercise you can lower your bad cholesterol. Elevate HDL levels to lower bad cholesterol.
- Lose weight: If you lower your body weight by 10% then your LDL decreases by 20%.
- Load up on fibre: Increase your intake of fibrous foods to enhance good cholesterol. Oat bran, lentils, apples, citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans, unrefined whole grains etc. are rich in soluble fibre. Flax seed and psyllium husk also help in boosting HDL cholesterol.
- Cut down on Sugar intake: Amount of daily sugar intake should be 150 gms for men and 100 gms for women. Cut down in added sugar intake through soda, aerated drinks, tea, coffee, dried fruits, cakes, pastries and chocolates etc.
- Cut down on saturated fats: Butter, milk, cheese, margarine, coconut oil, red meats, fat in poultry fat are loaded with saturated fats and trans fats. Switch over to healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in canola oil, olive oil, soybean oil and safflower oil.
- Boost Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids help lower bad cholesterol. Its capsules can be prescribed by the doctor. You can also boost its intake by eating fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, tuna and lake trout twice a week.
- Stop alcohol and smoking: Stop all forms of booze and the smoke to cut down bad cholesterol.
- Exercise: If you have high LDL levels, getting moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week may lower your cholesterol levels. Alternately, you can indulge in physical activities like 30-45 minutes of brisk walking, cycling, dancing, aerobics or cardio training. It will burn the extra calories and oxygenation will also increase in the body cells. Remember to do these activities under a trainer to avoid injuries.Exercise is also an essential part of keeping your weight under check.
Try Ayurvedic Remedies To Lower Bad Cholesterol:
You can lower high cholesterol by certain herbs and ayurvedic remedies. Some of them are as follows:
- Holy Basil: It helps break up the bad cholesterol from the arteries and flushes it out of the body.
- Coriander: It is added to enhance the flavor and freshness of regular meals. It has diuretic nature that flushes out the excessive cholesterol from the body. Boil 2 tsp of coriander seeds in 1.5 glasses of water. Strain, cool and drink this liquid twice daily. It improves your digestion and removes cholesterol.
- Garlic: It is another herb used commonly in Indian cooking. Chewing 2-3 raw garlic cloves daily can break down your LDL cholesterol clogging the arteries. Alternatively, you can add it to the dishes while cooking.
- Water therapy: Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. Visit nirogam.com to know more on Water Therapy!
- Mix the following spices in the following ratio to make the spice mixture to balance your cholesterol: 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1 tsp ginger (dried and powdered), 2 tsp fenugreek powder, 6 tsp fennel (ground), 6 tsp coriander seeds (ground), 6 tsp cumin seeds (ground), 3 tsp turmeric powder. Mix all the spices and store the mixture in a sealed jar. Sauté 1 tsp of this mixture in a little olive oil. Add it to your vegetables while cooking. It will not only enhance the flavor but also balance your cholesterol levels.
- Arjuna extract is available in the form of capsules. You can take 1-2 capsules daily to lower the LDL cholesterol levels.
- Yogasanas, pranayamas and meditation also help lower the cholesterol levels. Alternate Nostril Pranyama, a few rounds of Surya Namaskar, Setu Asana, Adhomukh Svanasana are a few of them.
Get your cholesterol levels tested at regular intervals and follow your doctor’s instructions. With proper diet control and physical workout you can beat high LDL cholesterol and keep your heart healthy and happy!
Know a home remedy for high cholesterol? Share with us.