Q: Could you offer any natural solutions for high triglycerides and high LDL (low-density lipoprotein)?
A: Though Ayurvedic tradition spans more than 5,000 years, it doesn’t specifically address high cholesterol as a condition to be resolved. However, high cholesterol can be related to Ayurveda through the science’s explanation of how our intake and digestion of food defines the health and balance of the different types of tissue in the body. When we eat food, it gets digested and forms different tissues like muscles, fat, bones, and semen. To have healthy tissue, we must eat a balanced diet that keeps our three doshas as balanced as possible. When we ingest excessive amounts of toxic matter in the form of too much animal protein (especially non-organic hormone feed creatures), too many processed foods, and too much food that aggravates one of the doshas (e.g. eating too many spicy foods which then aggravate the fiery Pitta dosha), we compromise the balance of our digestive fire which in turn creates imbalance in the different tissues in the body.
Specific to high cholesterol, when we consume poor fats like saturated fat and trans fats, processed foods, alcohol, and foods grown with pesticides and other chemicals, the imbalanced digestive fire hinders the liver’s ability to provide a healthy detoxification of the body, resulting in the body producing either too much or too little fat tissue. This imbalance of fat tissue can form in the blood as high amounts of what we in the West know as LDL cholesterol.
The most important step Ayurvedic patients can take to lower their cholesterol count is to balance their digestive fire through a dosha-balancing diet and exercise routine. If your most dominant element is your airy Vata dosha, then your diet must consist of Vata-reducing foods like oils and your physical activity must be calming and grounding. If your most dominant element is your fiery Pitta dosha, then your diet must consist of Pitta-reducing foods like sweet fruits and your physical activity must be gentler and more soothing. If your most dominant element is your moist and earthy Kapha dosha, then your diet must consist of Kapha-reducing foods like pungent and bitter vegetables and your physical activity must produce heat in the body. In balancing your most dominant elements, you can strengthen balance your digestive fire and ultimately balance the production of fat tissue in the body.
Reduce High LDL & Cholesterol levels: 9 Must-Know Tips
- Eat organic, locally grown produce in season, as eating food with too many chemicals or from too far away adds toxicity to the body.
- Avoid processed, packaged foods, as these items contain chemicals and toxins that will create imbalances in the production of fat tissue.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances that create toxicity in the body.
- Eat no more than two or three times a day so as to avoid aggravating the digestive fire in the stomach and to give the body a chance to digest toxins.
- Favor ghee (clarified butter) as a source of fat over processed oils like canola oil and the saturated fats found in beef.
- Do not eat leftover foods, as they have little nutritional value and add heaviness to the system. This creates more unwanted fat.
- Avoid eating fewer than four hours before going to bed, as leaving undigested food in the stomach during sleep creates toxicity in the body.
- Partake in regular exercise and physical activity appropriate to balancing whichever doshas are most excessive.
- Avoid drinking with meals (or keep it to a half cup of warm or room temperature water) so the digestive fire does not become dissolved and lose its power to digest food and toxins.