DASH – Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension
Elevated blood cholesterol is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases. Low ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘high’ bad cholesterol and triglycerides are commonly seen values on a deranged lipid profile. Diet and lifestyle play an especially important role in reducing the elevated levels as well as improving the good cholesterol in the blood. Most of the time, one does not need to take medicines but can simply adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce and maintain lipid levels. The DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) is beneficial as it is rich in magnesium, calcium and has low sodium and fats. Ayurveda has a similar line of thought which advice to avoid Havana (salt) and Guru Aahar (heavy to digest food)
Some essential food items which should be a part of the Dash diet for this purpose are:
- Whole Grains – Including whole wheat, barley, oats in the diet is useful as it helps in lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol.
- Vegetables and fruits – These provide necessary fiber and also contain antioxidants. Including Okra, eggplant, carrots, and fruits such as apples, oranges, etc are useful. Leafy green vegetables like Kale and spinach improve the blood flow as they are rich in carotenoids.
- Legumes and Pulses– Beans, peas, lentils, green gram, horse gram, etc are rich sources of protein, minerals, and fibers.
- Nuts and seeds– Flaxseeds can be considered a superfood for fighting against elevated cholesterol, especially triglycerides. Other than that, walnuts and almonds are also beneficial as they are a good source of natural fat, which increases the ‘good’ cholesterol.
- Others – Fatty fish such as salmon, is a good source of Omega 3 which helps in balancing cholesterol. Some clinical studies have also mentioned that having a small amount of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 75% and higher is also beneficial.
- Herbal teas such as Turmeric tea, Ginger tea, Green tea, Tulsi tea, etc help to reduce inflammation.
- Ayurveda recommends herbs such as Triphala, Amalaki, Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic, Cumin, and Coriander to be included in the diet.