Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. High triglyceride levels can increase your risk for heart disease. Learn about the foods that contribute to high triglycerides and what you can do to reduce your risk.
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Triglycerides: what they are and why they matter
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Eating foods that contribute to high triglycerides can raise your risk for heart disease. Triglycerides are different from the cholesterol you’ve probably heard about. Cholesterol is made by your liver, and triglycerides come from the food you eat.
Triglycerides are needed for good health, but too much can be harmful. If you have diabetes, are overweight, have high blood pressure, or have a family history of heart disease, you’re at especially high risk for dangerous levels of triglycerides.
A normal triglyceride level is below 150 mg/dL. Levels between 150 and 199 mg/dL are considered borderline high. A reading of 200 to499 mg/dL is considered high, and anything over 500 mg/dL is very high.
There are two main ways to lower your triglyceride levels: diet and exercise. Limit how much sugar, calories, and saturated and trans fats you eat or drink each day. Aim for no more than 2 grams (2000 mg) of sugar per day. Get most of your calories from healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and nuts. Exercise most days of the week for 30 minutes or more to help lower your triglyceride levels and improve your overall health.
The role of diet in triglyceride levels
The role of diet in triglyceride levels is controversial. Some experts believe that certain foods, such as refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and trans fats, can contribute to high triglyceride levels. Other experts believe that diet plays a less important role in triglyceride levels.
There is some evidence that certain foods can increase triglyceride levels. Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries, can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which can in turn lead to higher triglyceride levels. Saturated fats, such as those found in red meat and full-fat dairy products, can also increase triglyceride levels. Trans fats, which are often found in processed foods, can also increase triglyceride levels.
There is also some evidence that certain foods can lower triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil and flaxseed oil, can help to lower triglyceride levels. Fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains and beans, can also help to lower triglyceride levels.
Foods that contribute to high triglycerides
There are a number of different dietary factors that can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels. Saturated fats, trans fats, and refined carbs can all promote higher levels of triglycerides in the blood. In addition, eating too much sugar can also lead to elevated triglyceride levels.
If you are interested in reducing your triglyceride levels, it is important to limit your intake of these types of foods. Instead, focus on eating healthy fats (such as unsaturated fats from nuts and seeds), complex carbs (such as whole grains), and lean protein sources (such as fish and poultry). By making these dietary changes, you can help to lower your triglyceride levels and improve your overall health.
Foods that can help lower triglycerides
There are a number of dietary measures that can help lower triglycerides. Reducing the amount of sugar and refined carbs in your diet is one way to lower your triglycerides. Consuming more omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and foods that are high in HDL cholesterol can also help.
Some specific food choices that may help lower triglycerides include:
-Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring
-Nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds
-Beans and legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas
-Oils such as olive oil and canola oil
-Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, barley, and brown rice
Lifestyle changes to help lower triglycerides
There are a number of things you can do to help lower your triglycerides:
– Maintain a healthy weight. This is one of the most important things you can do. If you are overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can lower your triglycerides by up to 30 percent.
– Eat a healthy diet. Eating foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol can help reduce your triglyceride levels. Good food choices include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
– Exercise regularly. Physical activity helps improve your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and can also help reduce triglycerides. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
– Limit alcohol. Too much alcohol can raise triglyceride levels. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation — no more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
Supplements to help lower triglycerides
Although there are many different recommendations on supplements that can help lower triglycerides, here are five of the most popular and effective supplements:
Niacin: Also known as vitamin B3, this supplement can be effective in lowering triglyceride levels. It works by inhibiting the synthesis of triglycerides in the liver.
L-carnitine: This amino acid helps to transport fats into the mitochondria, where they are burned for energy. Supplementing with L-carnitine can help to lower triglyceride levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids: These healthy fats have been shown to be effective in lowering triglyceride levels. They work by inhibiting the release of fatty acids from fat cells and by promoting the burning of fat for energy.
Garlic: This common kitchen herb has been shown to be effective in lowering triglyceride levels. It works by inhibiting the synthesis of triglycerides in the liver.
Green tea: This popular beverage is rich in antioxidants that can help lower triglyceride levels.
When to see a doctor about high triglycerides
You should see a doctor if you have any of the following:
-Triglyceride level over 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 2.3 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)
– LDL cholesterol level over 100 mg/dL, or 2.6 mmol/L
– HDL cholesterol level below 40 mg/dL, or 1 mmol/L in men, or below 50 mg/dL, or 1.3 mmol/L in women
– You have heart disease or diabetes
– You have a family history of early heart disease
– You are a smoker
– You are obese
– You have high blood pressure
The risks of high triglycerides
If you have high triglycerides, it means that there is too much fat in your blood. This can be a problem because it can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
There are a few things that can contribute to high triglycerides, including:
-Eating too much sugar
-Eating too many calories
-Not exercising enough
-Being overweight or obese
-Drinking too much alcohol
The link between high triglycerides and heart disease
There is a strong link between high triglycerides and heart disease. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are then stored in your fat cells.
High triglycerides can be caused by obesity, a high-fat diet, pancreatitis, kidney disease, and certain medications. If you have high triglycerides, you’re at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems.
Certain foods can contribute to high triglycerides. Foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, and sugar can all raise your triglyceride levels.
Tips for managing high triglycerides
If you have been diagnosed with high triglycerides, there are some dietary changes that can help to lower your levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream, and when levels are too high, it can increase the risk for heart disease. Managing triglycerides starts with diet and lifestyle changes, so here are some tips to get started.
Cut back on saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in animal products like butter, cheese, and red meat. Trans fats are found in processed foods like cookies, crackers, and cakes. Both types of fat can raise triglyceride levels.
Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol can raise triglyceride levels, so it’s best to limit alcoholic beverages or abstain from them altogether.
Eat more fiber-rich foods. Fiber helps to lower triglyceride levels by keeping cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
Increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake. Omega-3 fatty acids help to lower triglyceride levels by reducing inflammation throughout the body. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, as well as nuts and seeds.