High Blood Cholesterol
Cholesterol, a yellowish fatty substance, is one of the essential ingredients of the body. Although it is essential to life, it has a bad reputation, being a major villain in heart disease. Every person with high cholesterol is regarded as a potential candidate for heart attack, stroke or high blood pressure.
Cholesterol is a building block of the outer membrane of cells. It is the principal ingredient in the digestive juice bile, in the fatty sheaths that insulate nerves and in sex hormones, such as the transportation of fat, providing a defence mechanism, protecting red blood cells and the muscular membrane of the body.
Most of the cholesterol found in the body is produced in the liver. However, about 20 to 30% generally comes from the food we eat. Some cholesterol is also secreted into the intestinal tract in bile and becomes mixed with dietary cholesterol.
What does high blood cholesterol mean?
High cholesterol means increased lipids (fats) in the blood. It is essentially a metabolic disorder. People having a low liver function or diminished thyroid activity, who have taken steroids in the past, or whose diet is very Kaphagenic, are seen as most prone to develop high cholesterol.
Normal labels of cholesterol
Your cholesterol level should be below 200. About 160 to 190 is normal, but cholesterol reading of 200 or above is worrisome, as a high cholesterol level in the blood tends to create plaque on the artery walls, resulting in atherosclerotic changes, cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, stroke and heart problems.
Types of cholesterol
There are two kinds of cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is the good cholesterol, and LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which is bad cholesterol. Researchers these days are saying that what is more important than the total level of cholesterol, as a predictive factor for cardiovascular and other health problems, is the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL.
What causes high levels of cholesterol?
- Hypercholesterolemia or an 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 the increase in cholesterol are irregularities in habits, smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Stress has been found to be a major cause of increased levels of cholesterol.
Management of the high cholesterol levels
- To reduce the risk of heart disease, it is essential to lower the level of LDL and increase the level of HDL. This can be achieved by improving the diet and changing the lifestyle.
- To reduce high cholesterol levels, and to prevent cholesterol from building up any higher, follow these guidelines.
- Watch your diet- Stick to a Kapha-pacifying diet. No fatty fried food, no cheese, no high-fat milk or yogurt. Minimize sweets and cold food and drinks. Use garlic and onion in cooking.
- Get regular exercise- Each day from Monday to Friday, walk for at least half an hour. Go swimming or participate in some other aerobic exercise at least three times a week.
- Just by regulating diet and exercise, you can control cholesterol. But there is much more you can do.
- Foods that reduce cholesterol- In addition to avoiding high-fat foods, you can eat certain foods that in themselves help to reduce cholesterol. These include blue corn, quinoa, millet, and oatmeal. Some research suggests that apples, grapefruit, and almonds can also reduce cholesterol.
- Some yoga and breathing exercises are also beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels.