Cholesterol has made our life tasteless. Many of the tasty dishes are extinct from our personal menu.
Should we be concerned so much about cholesterol? Is it life threatening?
A review about Cholesterol showed that in 1758, French Doctor Francois Poulletier de La Salle isolated cholesterol in a solid form from gallstones. In 1815, French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul isolated and purified sterol from gallstones, and he named it as “cholesterol.”
In the present situation, the awareness about cholesterol is too high that, people are counting the number of calories in a food before consuming them.
Now a days, there are debates going on regarding the relevance of cholesterol which had ruled the health of an individual for decades.
In 1854, Dr. Rudolf Virchow described atherosclerosis as a disease; it can clog arteries by excess cholesterol deposition.
It is claimed that majority of heart diseases are due to increased levels of bad cholesterol LDL and VLDL Cholesterol).
There are five primary causes for the LDL cholesterol raise, they are:
Poor thyroid function – hypothyroidism.
Sub-clinical liver problems or fatty liver.
Food allergy or food toxins.
Infections and kidney disease.
Opting to lose weight and adopting to low-carbohydrate diet.
Though many a times it is asymptomatic, some of the symptoms experienced by the newly diagnosed hyperlipidemia (cholesterol in blood) are,
Chronic poor appetite or lack of appetite
Tiredness or fatigue
Poor memory, depression, excessive emotions and or drop in memory
Excess weight gain (sensation of bodily heaviness)
Masses in the body, such as bumps, and moles
Chest and/or stomach distension
Aching pain (felt at specific parts; example headache or knee/back pain)
How to monitor the levels of cholesterol? And how to control it? What Ayurveda can offer in controlling it?
Indian foods contain a lot of oil and ghee in it and such practices are not the recent ones. In almost all the geographical areas in India, people take ghee and oil irrespective of race and religion. Awareness about cholesterol came up too late. But we have seen that our ancestors lived much healthy life ironically.
It is undesirable to accept that our ancestors were unaware of it and they had actually suffered from it. Even the old aged people in this time are much healthier than us.
It is a matter of research about their lifestyle. They had all those foods which are actually prohibited to us now. They are still having oil and ghee and staying healthy.
Whether all sorts of oil and ghee should be stopped from consuming?
We can see that only oil and ghee consumption do not increase cholesterol. It is our body who does not digest and assimilate the fat completely. Not all those who are consuming fat are affected.
A fat undigested would show increased levels of cholesterol. If our digestive system is intact and strong, fat consumed will be well digested and would not increase cholesterol.
If we adopt few lifestyle changes, we can effectively control cholesterol.
- Avoid heating the oil repeatedly. Such oils tend to cause some adverse effect.
- Wait for the hunger to develop, don’t consume food because it is the time.
- Raw vegetables take much more time to digest than cooked ones. Unless you have a strong digestive capacity, don’t take raw vegetables.
- Chew the fruits and eat, avoid making juice out of it.
- Avoid too much of oily foods.
- Quit smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Ensure sufficient physical exercise daily.
- Avoid being lazy and sleeping during day.
- Ensure sufficient sleep only during night.
- Have a controlled emotion.
- Avoid over eating and repeated eating.
- Take less food for dinner.
- Avoid too much of water consumption.
- Avoid unaccustomed food.
- Avoid preserved food and junk foods.
- Avoid consuming curd at night.
- Use turmeric in food.
Along with all the above, we can consume honey, lemon, orange, coriander, garlic, turmeric, butter milk, salt water, barley powder, haritaki churna, amalaki churna, asafoetida (hingu), jeera (cumin seeds), dill seeds, fenugreek, flax seeds and ajwain seeds for the effective control of cholesterol. Cholesterol is not a mystery if proper life style is adopted.
Good cholesterol is needed for us. Abandoning fat totally would lead to pain in joints, body ache, dry skin, sleeplessness, constipation etc.
Though cholesterol would not cause an immediate medical situation, it needs to be checked. Adopting a healthy life style would avoid medication and stay healthy.
Regular monitoring would help us in controlling it.
Dr. Sri Nagesh K.A., Consultant Ayurvedic Physician,
AyurCentral, Uttarahalli, Bengaluru.