April 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Tips for Ayurveda

Cholesterol is gradually becoming a common health problem due to the consumption of oily and fast foods. More and more individuals are being treated for heart related disorders. Let us understand what causes cholesterol and what are the natural foods that help lower cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and other cells and found in certain foods, such as food from animals, like dairy products, eggs, and meat.

Main functions of Cholesterol:

  • Contributes to the structure of cell walls.
  • Makes up digestive bile acids in the intestine.
  • Allows the body to produce vitamin D.
  • Enables the body to make certain hormones.

High Cholesterol causes Heart Disease

Natural foods that lowers cholesterolWhen too much cholesterol is present, a thick hard deposit like plaque may form in the body’s arteries narrowing the space for blood to flow to the heart. As time progresses, this buildup causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can lead to heart disease.

Types of Cholesterol

Cholesterol is oil-based and so does not mix with the blood, which is water-based. It is therefore carried around the body in the blood by lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are classified as high density, low density, or very low density, depending on how much protein there is in relation to fat.

  • Low density lipoproteins (LDL): LDL, also called “bad” cholesterol, can cause buildup of plaque on the walls of arteries. The more LDL there is in the blood, the greater the risk of heart disease.
  • High density lipoproteins (HDL): HDL, also called “good” cholesterol, helps the body get rid of bad cholesterol in the blood. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol, the better. If levels of HDL are low, the risk of heart disease increases.
  • Triglycerides: Triglycerides are another type of fat that is carried in the blood by very low density lipoproteins. Excess calories, alcohol, or sugar in the body are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells throughout the body.

Tests for Cholesterol:

The cholesterol test is done after a period of fasting – no food, drink or pills for min 9 to 12 hours – to enable an accurate reading of LDL cholesterol from the blood test. The screening also gives information about total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Guidelines set for Total Cholesterol in Lipid profile are:

  • Desirable: less than 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: between 200-239 mg/dL
  • High: 240 mg/dL or above.

Limitations to food intake:

  • Limiting foods that contain Cholesterol (from animal foods, such as egg yolks, meat and cheese)
  • Saturated fat (found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods)
  • Trans fat (found in some fried and processed foods).

Cholesterol Management with lifestyle changes:

  • Eat a ‘heart-healthy diet’
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Control weight increase.

Natural foods that control cholesterol

You may have heard a lot about high cholesterol in few people. After the medical examination you also get to hear an underlined statement by the consulting physician to lower cholesterol levels. With all the news and awareness people set a new daily regimen i.e doing exercise, walking, eating healthy and losing weight. For some all this is not enough. You can make a big difference by eating natural foods that can help lower cholesterol levels.

Fenugreek seeds

Natural foods that lowers cholesterolFenugreek seeds (methi seeds) are a rich source of constituents known as steroidal saponins that help to reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol coming in through the fat-rich foods we eat. Best way to consume Methi seeds is by powdering heating methi seeds over low flame for about 2 minutes. When cool powder methi seeds. Use 1 tsp of this powder in hot or cold water and take once a day. Sprinkle methi powder in the gravy of curries prior to switching off the flame.


Garlic is used in Indian kitchens to add flavor to the dishes. There are multiple benefits of garlic. Garlic (Lahasun) reduces LDL cholesterol, prevents a rise of blood pressure and also avoids the deposition of plaque on the walls of arteries, reducing chances of heart attack and stroke. Garlic contains sulphurous compounds that act as antioxidants and also help with expansion of the blood vessels, keeping blood pressure at a normal level. Consume a few cloves of raw garlic every day . If you cannot bear the raw garlic taste  crush and add it into your curries and gravies. For maximum benefit, crush or chop garlic and leave it for 5 minutes to activate the beneficial compound called allicin – after this, even adding tamarind or lemon juice will not destroy the garlic’s action. Avoid microwaving or boiling entire garlic cloves because this can destroy the activity of the vital constituents.


Natural foods that lowers cholesterolOnion (kandaa) contains a constituent called quercetin that is known to be a strong antioxidant; this means it can prevent the damaging effects of free radicals on human tissues. Researchers have linked quercetin of onions with increased levels of HDL cholesterol as well as low levels of LDL cholesterol. Best way is to consume onion raw in the form of salads.

Nuts and Dry fruits

Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that help to keep the arteries healthy. Eat them in raw form without adding salt or sugar or you will add to the calorie content. Watch out as eating nuts in excess may prove counterproductive because the fats in them can cause weight gain.

Oats & Beans

Natural foods that lowers cholesterolOats are a rich source of fiber and a compound called beta glucan; these act together to bring about a reduction in the levels of LDL cholesterol. Oats may be consumed by cooking slightly in water and then mixing in milk or buttermilk; you could also substitute oats for some of the rice in dosa batter or khichadi.Kidney Beans contain a large amount of fiber and can help to reduce the quantity as well as the rate of cholesterol absorption from the diet. Include dishes containing both black and white Rajma as a regular item on your menu.

Coriander water

Ayurveda strongly recommends having coriander water i.e Malli vellam.Coriander is a very good diuretic. It makes the kidneys perform better so that they flush out the excess unneeded cholesterols from the body. Holy basil has the capacity to dissolve the accumulated cholesterol from the arteries into the person’s bloodstream. Drink lots of water every day, in which a few coriander seeds have been boiled.


Certain species of fish are a storehouse of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that reduce LDL cholesterol and protect the heart. Herring, salmon (surmai), mackerel (bangda), sardines (Padwa / Washi), halibut and lake trout are good sources of these fatty acids that also help increase HDL cholesterol.  Preferably consume fish in grilled or baked form; frying it will only add to the unhealthy fat content of your food.

Follow diet changes and lifestyle changes. Take care of your health.

Get rid of Prickly heat with Home Remedies

April 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Tips for Ayurveda

Here are a tips to get rid of prickly heat with home remedies. Prickly heat rash is also called miliaria or heat rash that can develop after a person sweats far more than usual and sweat glands become blocked. Prickly heat causes an itchy rash of small red raised red spots with a prickling or stinging sensation.

Get rid of Prickly heat with Home RemediesPrickly heat develops anywhere on the body, but most commonly occurs on the face, neck, back, chest and thighs. Mostly affecting parts of body covered with clothing.

Causes of prickly heat rashes:

Prickly heat begins with excessive perspiration, usually in a hot, humid environment. The perspiration makes it easier for dead skin cells and bacteria on the skin to block the sweat glands, forming a barrier and trapping sweat beneath the skin, where it builds up, causing the characteristic bumps. As the bumps burst and sweat is released, there may be a prickly, or stinging sensation that had lead this condition get its name.

Apart from the external heat and sweating, prickly heat has several other causes, such as overwork, intake of alcohol, smoking, unhealthy and stressful lifestyle, excessive consumption of junk food, untimely food eating habits, acidity, food poisoning and side effects of certain medicines.

Home remedies are based on the principles of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of healing, and are completely natural, non-invasive, and can be prepared at home. Consult your Medical practitioner if the symptoms continue. Follow mixing proportions and directions for use.

Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Prickly Heat

1. Margosa leaves (Neem leaves)Get rid of Prickly heat with Home Remedies

Take some neem leaves and mash them into a fine paste using water. Smear the paste over affected areas and leave it on the skin until completely dried. Margosa leaves has  antibacterial property and helps in killing the germs and providing immediate relief from other skin diseases as well.

2. Ice cubes

Ice is another great solution for reducing prickly heat caused due to hot and humid temperature. Rub small ice cubes over the rashes to reduce inflammation and ease prickly sensations. It gives a nice cooling effect. Ensure intervals of 5 mins after each rub.

3. Cold water

If ice cubes are not available you can use cold water stored in an earthern pot. Soak a cotton cloth in cold water, squeeze out some water and place the cloth over the affected area until all the water has been absorbed. Repeat 2 to 3 times a day. This will give you instant relief from inflammation and prickly heat.

4. Sandalwood powder

Take 2 tbsp each of sandalwood powder and coriander powder. Add 2-3 tbsp of rose water and stir to form a smooth paste. Smear the paste over the affected areas and leave it to dry. Rinse off with cold water thereafter.

Further reading: How to prevent nose bleeding in summer

5. Cucumber or papaya pulp

Natural homemade beauty face masksTake some cucumber or papaya pulp and apply on the affected areas. Leave it for 25 to 30 mins. Wash off with cold water. This application will cool the affected area and relieve the itching.

6. Fuller’s earth

Fuller’s earth or multani mitti is yet another popular home remedy for treating prickly heat. Prepare the pack by mixing 5-6 tbsp of fuller’s earth, 3-4 tbsp of rose water , add water to form a thick paste. Apply the paste over prickly heat and allow it to dry for 2-3 hours. Thereafter, wash it off with cold water.

7. Aloe VeraGet rid of Prickly heat with Home Remedies

Aloe vera is known as an universal skin protector. Apply the gel of the aloe vera leaves on the affected regions. Leave it on for 10 to 15 mins and go for a cold water bath.

8. Baking Soda

Prepare a cooling compress for your itchy and irritating prickly heat. Dilute 1 tsp of baking soda into 1 cup of cold water. Soak a clean washcloth into the solution and squeeze it out to remove excess water. Apply the cloth to the rashes. While the water will reduce inflammation, the baking soda will work towards easing itching and irritation. For best results repeat this process 4 to 5 times a day.

9. Cornstarch

Prepare a smooth paste by mixing cornstarch or 2 tspn corn flour with water. Smudge the paste over the affected areas and allow it to dry for about ½ hour. Thereafter, go for a cold water bath and wash off the paste.

10. Chickpea flour ( besan) paste

Take ½ cup of chick pea flour, add paste of 15-20 neem  leaves. Add required water to make a paste. Mix well and apply the paste on the affected areas. Leave it for 15 to 20 mins. Wash off with cold water. Combination of besan flour and  neem leaves provides relief from inflammation. Burning sensation is cooled off also relieves dead skin cells.

Read on: How to Overcome common summer health problems

11. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an effective home treatment for prickly heat. Add ½ cup of oatmeal into the bath tub and stir it well. Step into the bath tub and lie in there for 15 minutes to ease the tenderness and soothe the skin. Repeat this twice a day. This is considered a luxury. You have the other simple home remedies to get instant relief.

Supplements to be taken internally to minimize the irritation of prickly heat. Avoid spicy food, junk food. Minimize on fried items as it gives heat to the body. Forego pickles till you get relief. Summer is the time when most households prepare pickles in bulk due to the availability of mango, and low prices for tomato etc.

  • Lime Juice: Drinking lots of lime juice also works well in treating prickly heat. Consume 3 to 4 glasses of lime juice daily and you are sure to see the effects in one fortnight itself.
  • To get relief from severe itching: Soak 1 tspn of Cumin Seed (Jeera) and 1 tspn of Coriander Seeds (Dhaniya) in water overnight. Strain this solution in the morning and drink. You will observe the difference within 30 to 45 mins.

Over the counter Medication to get rid of Prickly heat

Applying calamine lotion (Lacto calamine lotion available with different bases), it will soothe the affected area of skin. This layer will keep your affected area cool and the irritation will disappear in a day or two. Hydrocortisone cream is recommended if your skin is particularly sore and itchy.

How to Prevent Prickly Heat

To help protect yourself and your little ones from prickly heat, follow the following tips:

  • Avoid tight clothing that can irritate the skin. Preferable use cotton and light colored cloths.They prevent sweat accumulation and dry off easily.
  • Avoid hot and humid weather. When unavoidable stay in the shade. Use fan, cooler or air-conditioning at a safe distance with a soft air circulation.
  • Keep your sleeping area cool and well ventilated.
  • Frequent cool showers or cool baths with mild soap can help to prevent heat rash. Avoid using synthetic or perfumed soaps which dries the skin.
  • Avoid using creams or oils – they block pores and do not aid sweat release.
  • Opt for a short hair cut to avoid sweat remaining on the scalp for long. Women can place a hair band while working in the kitchen or into domestic chores. This will avoid hair contact to the neck.

Avoid prickly heat this summer .Take care of your family and dear ones. You can give your input in the comments section.

Further reading: How to overcome heat this summer