The cholesterol level in the blood determines risk of coronary heart diseases. The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater is your risk. A high blood cholesterol level is not only thing that increases your chance of getting heart disease. There are certain other factors such as age, sex, family history of early heart disease and your personality can play the role. Other factors include cigarette-smoking, high blood pressure; elevated serum cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and stress.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all parts of our body. It helps to make cell membranes, some hormones and vitamin D.
Just like oil and water, cholesterol and blood do not mix. So, for cholesterol to travel through blood our blood, it is coated with a layer of protein forming lipoprotein. Two lipoproteins are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, it can lead to cholesterol build up in the arteries. That is why LDL cholesterol is called the bad cholesterol. HDL cholesterol on the other hand helps remove cholesterol from the blood and helps prevent the fatty build up. Therefore, HDL cholesterol is called the good cholesterol.
SELF HELP APPROACH
Whatever your blood cholesterol level, you can make changes to help it or keep it low and reduce your risk of heart diseases by eating in a heart healthy way, being physically active, losing weight if you are overweight and taking herbal supplements.
- Use unsaturated fat containing foods.
- Eating fish has been reported to increase HDL cholesterol and is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease in most of the studies.
- Vegetarians have lower cholesterol and fewer heart diseases than meat eaters, in part because they avoid animal fat.
- Soluble fiber from beans, oats, and fruit pectin has lowered cholesterol levels in most trials.
- Eating sugar has been reported to reducep0rotective HDL cholesterol and increases other risk factors linked to heart diseases.
- Drinking coffee increases cholesterol levels.
- Alcohol, on moderate drinking, increases protective HDL cholesterol.
- It has been found in some researches that eating garlic helps cholesterol.
- Exercise increases protective HDL cholesterol, an effect that occurs even from walking.
- Obesity increases the risk of heart diseases, in part because weight gain lowers HDL cholesterol.
- Smoking is linked to a lowered level of cholesterol and is also known to cause heart disease.
- Garlic: Reports on all garlic studies, performed until quite recently found cholesterol was lowered by an average of 9-12% over a one to four months period. Most of these trials used 600-900mg per day of garlic supplements.
- GUGGULU: This is a mixture of substances taken from the plant Commiphora mukul. This is an approved treatment for elevated cholesterol. Reports have showed that serum cholesterol dropped by 17.5%. In another report guggulu to the drug clofibrate, average fall in serum cholesterol was slightly greater in the guggulu group. The recommended amount of guggulusterones is 25mg taken three times per day. Most extracts contain 5-10% guggulusterones and doctors familiar with its use usually recommend taking guggulu for at least twelve weeks before evaluating its effect.
- ONION: One trial studying the effects of onion reported that continuous consumption of onion for five months (80mg daily) decreased serum cholesterol below normal in healthy humans.
- TUMERIC: The functional component of turmeric, curcumin not only lowers serum cholesterol and blood sugar level but also acts as anti-oxidant to scavenge serum peroxides to prevent atherosclerotic changes. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine recommends an internal dosage of 10-20ml infusions or 1-3gm powders. A heaped teaspoonful of powdered turmeric can be mixed with water to slurry and drunk two to three times a day.
- MUSTA: It's botanical name is Cyperus rotundus. This is the root of a grass variety. A trial have showed that the effects of this root in obese patients reported that oral administration of the root powder produced significant reduction in body weight and lowered abnormal blood pressure. Two capsules, two times a day with water were prescribed to the obese patients for two months.
- There are certain other medical herb that cures for cholesterol lowering effect. Some of them are kusstha (Saussurea lappa), prabhar (Trichosanthes dioica).