Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ayurveda Explains Why Your Accountant's Cholesterol Shoots up During Tax Season

While total high cholesterol has been thought to be a risk factor in heart disease, the recent focus has become the "bad" cholesterol, which is known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein).  Our bodies need cholesterol to produce hormones, strengthen our brain health and memory formation, build new cells and help produce vitamin D. The main problem with cholesterol is when the LDL rises and forms the fatty deposits that clog the body's arteries.  It is a form of excess and toxic waste, which is known as ama in Ayurveda.

It was also thought that LDL cholesterol was created from fatty foods, lack of exercise and smoking.  However, recent research has shown chronic stress having the same LDL raising effect as those other unhealthy behaviors.  Unfortunately, few doctors tell their patients about this risk or even investigate whether a patient has high stress before prescribing statins for high cholesterol.  This is despite research showing that accountants close to the tax filing deadline have a sharp rise in their cholesterol levels which decline again a few months after the busy tax season.

Some doctors are recommending relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises to help manage chronic stress as well as behavioral modifications like scheduling in down time, increased positive thinking and gratitude and letting go of perfectionist tendencies.

These are all wonderful suggestions but more importantly they emphasize the holistic approach to health that Ayurveda teaches.  Total health and balance are achieved when both the mind and body are doing well.  Further, it demonstrates how the body systems weaken under stress.  For example with the accountants, their diet didn't change around tax season but their stress did.  Their bodies in times of stress had a diminished capacity to digest the foods they normally ate.  Undigested food becomes ama (or toxic build up).  A healthy body had the ability to digest food better to prevent ama accumulation. A healthy body is also more efficient at removing waste instead of allowing it to build in the body.

In times of stress Ayurveda recommends a clean diet of natural, unprocessed foods.  Ayurveda also favors cooked foods like soup and steamed vegetables because they are easier to digest.  Heavy proteins or sugars should be avoided as they strain the digestive system.

The good news about managing stress for cholesterol is that it will make your life happier and more positive.  Stress doesn't just hurt your cholesterol.  It also hurts the quality of your life.

Stay healthy & well,

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