(Last Updated on : 02/01/2009)
Cholesterol, a yellowish fatty substance, is one of the essential ingredients of the body. It performs several functions such as transportation of fat providing defence mechanism, protecting red blood cells and muscular membrane of the body. Although it is essential to life, every person with high blood cholesterol is regarded as a potential candidate for heart attack, a stroke or high blood pressure
Causes of High Blood Cholesterol:
Hypercholesterolaemia or increase in cholesterol is mainly a digestive problem caused by rich foods such as fried foods, excessive consumption of milk and its products like ghee, butter and cream, white flour, sugar, cakes, pastries, biscuits, cheese, ice cream as well as non-vegetarian foods like meat, fish and eggs. Other causes of increase, in cholesterol are irregularity in habits, smoking and drinking alcohol.
Stress has been found to be a major cause of increased level of cholesterol. Adrenaline and cortisone are both released in the body under stress. This, in turn, produces a fat metabolizing reaction. Adrenal glands of executive type aggressive persons produce more adrenaline than the easygoing men. Consequently they suffer six to eight times more heart attacks than the relaxed men.
Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol by Nature Cure:
In order to reduce the risk of heart attacks, one should improve the diet and change the life style. Thus, foods rich in cholesterol and saturated fats, which lead to increase in LDL level, should be reduced to the minimum. Cholesterol-rich foods are eggs organ meats, cheese, butter, bacon, beef, whole milk and even coconut and palm oils, are high in saturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats such as corn, safflower, and soyabeans should replace all these and sesame oils, which tend to lower the level of LDL. There are monosaturated fats such as olive and peanut oils, which have more or less neutral effect on the LDL level.
The amount of fibre in the diet also influences the cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol can be lowered by taking diets rich in fibres. The most significant sources of dietary fibre are unprocessed wheat bran, whole cereals such as wheat, rice, barley, rye, legumes such as potato, carrot, beet and turnips, fruits like mango and guava and green vegetables such as cabbage, lady's finger, lettuce and celery. Oat bran is especially beneficial in lowering LDL cholesterol.
Lecithin, also a fatty food substance and the most abundant of the phospholipids, is highly beneficial in case of increase in cholesterol level. Egg yolk, vegetable oils, whole grain cereals, soyabeans and unpasteurised milk are rich sources of lecithin. The cells of the body are also capable of synthesizing it as needed, if several of the B vitamins are present.
Persons with high blood cholesterol level should drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water every day as regular drinking water stimulates the excretory activity of the skin and kidneys. This in turn facilitates elimination of excessive cholesterol from the system.
Regular drinking of coriander (dhania) water also helps lower blood cholesterol as it is a good diuretic and stimulates the kidneys. Boiling dry seeds of coriander and straining the decoction after cooling prepare it.
Regular exercise also plays an important role in lowering LDL cholesterol and in raising the level of protective HDL. It also promotes circulation and helps maintain the blood flow to every part of the body. Jogging or brisk walking, swimming, bicycling and playing badminton are excellent forms of exercise.
Hydrotherapy can also be successfully employed in reducing excess cholesterol. Cold hipbaths for 10 minutes taken twice every day have proved beneficial. Steam baths are also helpful except in patients suffering from hypertension and other circulatory disorders. Mudpacks, applied over the abdomen improve digestion and assimilation. They improve the functioning of the liver and other digestive organs and activate kidneys and the intestines to promote better excretion.
Treatment High Blood Cholesterol by Yogic Asanas:
Yogasanas are highly beneficial as they help increase perspiratory activity and stimulate sebaceous glands to effectively secrete accumulated or excess cholesterol from the muscular tissue. Asanas like ardhamatsyaendrasana, shalabhasana, padmasana
are useful in lowering blood cholesterol by increasing systemic activity.