Atherosclerosis is the buildup of fats and cholesterol (plaque) in the artery walls, which can restrict blood flow. This plaque can get detached and result in a blood clot, blocking the blood flow to the heart. This article will focus on natural treatment options for atherosclerosis. Nature cure, otherwise called natural cure, is defined as a self-healing system in harmony with the constructive principles of nature on physical, mental, spiritual, and moral planes of being.
What Is Diet Therapy?
- Consume a plant-based and low carbohydrate diet, which reduces the risk of chronic painful conditions.
- The patient should include alkaline food consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables. Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and minerals has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Fasting, which helps to decrease the potent inflammatory mediator.
- The patient should eat a variety of foods, which are low in fats, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Trans fat should be avoided. The intake of bakery products should be limited.
- Vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids like safflower and sunflower oil should be included. Solid fats should be avoided. Olive oil rich in monounsaturated fatty acids can be included.
- Small quantities of almonds and walnuts can be consumed to bring down cholesterol levels. High amounts of nuts and seed oils increase the calories and fat content in the diet.
- Avoid high amounts of saturated fatty acids. Consume less saturated fats and cholesterol and more PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) with omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Low carbohydrate and normal protein, minerals, and vitamins, and high fiber with increased antioxidants are suggested.
Consuming 1000 to 1200 calories is suitable for patients with atherosclerosis. The total calories should be restricted to reduce weight.
What Is the Role of Unsaturated Fatty Acids?
Fats should not make more than 20 % of the total calories and should be in the form of unsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linoleic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid. Omega-6 fatty acids are linoleic acids and arachidonic acids.
Nuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, fatty fish, corn oil, safflower oil, etc., are good sources. The importance of unsaturated fatty acids include:
- They promote the esterification of cholesterol and convert it into easily utilizable forms.
- They are precursors of prostacyclins, thromboxane, and leukotrienes, which prevent thrombus or clot formation.
- They decrease the stickiness of platelets and prevent their aggregation, decreasing the tendency of blood platelet clots, and raise the endothelial-derived relaxing factors.
- Prevent the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the blood.
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids - Oleic Acids and Erucic Acid
Olive oil, canola oil, almond oil, and groundnut oil are good sources of these fatty acids. They are:
- Thrombolytic and anti-inflammatory.
- Decrease oxidative susceptibility of LDL (low-density lipoprotein).
Carbohydrate - Complex carbohydrates should be included in the diet.
Proteins - Animal proteins are not suggested for an atherosclerotic patient.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) - Niacin increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) while lowering the levels of low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, and lipoprotein. Combining niacin with statins or bile acids sequestrants is safe and effective for improving lipid levels and decreasing heart risk.
Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid - Reduce the levels of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, is linked to the development of heart diseases.
Vitamin C - This vitamin regulates cholesterol metabolism and maintains the structure of blood vessels. The antioxidant effects of this vitamin might prevent tissue damage.
Vitamin E - Maintains the integrity of the cell membrane, preventing the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Reduces platelet aggregation and thrombus formation.
Vitamin A - Carotenoids and beta-carotenes are potent antioxidants.
Minerals - Restrict the sodium level in the diet. Potassium helps to maintain cell fluid and plays a role in muscle contractions. Magnesium relaxes the muscles, promoting blood flow to the heart and keeps the heart rhythm steady.
Soya Proteins - Reduces the plasma cholesterol concentration due to the presence of isoflavones, genistein, and daidzein compounds.
Garlic - Allicin and Ajoene found in garlic have anti-thrombotic properties.
Fenugreek - Reduces the cholesterol storage in the liver due to the presence of diosgenin and tigogenin.
Yogurt and Milk - Contain catalytic enzymes, which limits the rate of cholesterol biosynthesis. Casein and calcium have hypocholesterolemic properties.
High Fiber - Reduces cholesterol and enhances the excretion of fecal steroids.
All these minerals, vitamins, etc., can be obtained by including fruits (guava, pineapples, orange, pears, kiwi, banana), green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fish in your diet.
What Is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga therapy for atherosclerosis improves blood flow to the organs by neuromuscular action. The practice of Pranayama stimulates and changes the lumen size of the arterioles, which helps to regulate the circulation. Asana and Pranayama, by their segmental spinal nerve actions, can voluntarily alter regional blood flow and blood pressure. The arteriolar resistance is extremely important to the regulation of blood flow in the body as a whole and also in different regions of the body. Specifically, standing and seated poses stimulate neuromuscular action. Twisting and backward bending pose massage the internal organs. Restorative pose and Pranayama induce pneumatic function in the body, improving the respiratory and circulatory pressure in the body.
- Deep relaxation technique (DRT).
- Quick relaxation technique (QRT).
- Instant relaxation technique (IRT).
- Mind sound resonance technique (MSRT).
- Breathing exercises.
- Nadi Suddhi.
- Suryabhedana Pranayama.
Bhastrika yoga acts primarily through the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and autonomous nervous system, which in turn brings beneficial effects through a complex cascade of actions in intermediary outcomes of risk factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels.
What Is Hydrotherapy?
- Neutral spinal spray and spinal bath.
- Neutral underwater massage.
- Cold circular jet.
- Neutral tub bath.
- Sauna bath.
- Warm water immersion.
- Warm foot bath.
- Cold chest pack.
- To influence the autonomic nervous and cardiac functions.
- It has a thermoregulatory mechanism in which the blood vessels dilate, increasing circulation. It also delivers oxygen and nutrients to the tissue.
- Due to heat, it helps in relieving congestion.
- Improves cardiac function due to an increase in early diastolic filling and a decrease in heart rate, resulting in improvement in stroke volume and ejection fraction.
- It promotes a good sleep cycle and plays an important role in cardiovascular functions.
- Increases the peripheral blood flow and peripheral temperature.
Diet and lifestyle play a major role in atherosclerosis.
Supplement will not cure atherosclerosis on its own. Any plan to treat the condition will likely include a regular exercise, healthy diet, and also prescription medicines to take along with the supplements. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements as it may interfere with the current medications.