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.