#41 – How Meditation Lowers Cholesterol: Less Stress, Cortisol, Plaque
Cholesterol, widely misunderstood, is a substance that has no calories and therefore, the body cannot get energy from it. Cholesterol has a number of functions – it is used in the body as a glue for cell membranes to stick together, it helps to produce bile acid to help in food digestion, and it also helps in the production of vitamin D and sex hormones.
Cholesterol becomes bad if there is an excess in the body. When there is too much cholesterol the cells no longer take it in, with the extra getting deposited in the blood, causing plaque to form – clogging the blood passages and clogging the arteries.
A stroke can occur when these plaques build up past a certain point, blocking oxygen to the brain. Excess cholesterol causes many problems not mentioned here, including cardiovascular diseases.
So how does meditation drop cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease? It is pretty simple. When a person is stressed, the body releases stress hormones like cortisol that act as free radicals, which are elements in the body that destroy cells. When the cells get hurt, they need cholesterol to patch up the damage.
This process can build huge amounts of cholesterol in the body, leading to the problems described above. Meditation dramatically reduces stress, emptying your mind of negativity, refocusing it into a perfectly calm and serene state. Meditation reprograms your mind on how to deal with stressful situations more efficiently, lessening the release of stress hormones (cortisol) that damage your cells, thereby reducing your body’s need for cholesterol.
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