Look At Your Prescription Meds
A bunch of different drugs can potentially raise triglyceride levels, including oral estrogen, corticosteroids, and antipsychotic drugs.
If your numbers recently measured high, be sure to review any prescription drugs you might be taking with your doctor. If one of your meds is the culprit, you can talk figure out a plan for protecting your heart health.
Eat More Protein And Fat
Lean sources of protein like eggs, egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, extra-lean ground beef, bison, etc. are all filling food options that have no sugar. These lean options will not cause a spike in blood sugar, and they provide high satiety so you wont snack on sugary options later in the day.
If you elect to have these high-protein options in a sandwich form, pick a whole-grain bun, because it wont elicit the same metabolic response that white bread will, keeping blood sugar levels from spiking too high. Including some dietary fat with your meal or as a snack can also improve insulin response. Instead of reaching for a sugary snack or plate of fries as a side, opt for nuts and fruit or a salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
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What’s Considered As Normal Cholesterol Levels
Many factors influence what your personal cholesterol or lipid targets should be, and so cholesterol tests should be interpreted in the context of your personal risk.
Your doctor can help you understand your results and guide you on strategies to not only lower your cholesterol but lower your risk of heart disease.
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How Long Does It Take To Lower Triglycerides
Depending on whats causing your high triglyceride levels, you may be able to lower them in just a few days. A night out drinking or eating foods high in sugar can cause a spike in your triglyceride levels. Limiting alcohol and sugar intake can bring your levels back to normal within a few days.
If you have consistently high triglycerides, it may take a few months for them to return to a healthy range. How fast they lower depends on the lifestyle changes, diet, and medications youre taking.
Choose Foods That Help Improve Your Ldl And Hdl Levels
Following a healthy eating plan can play a big role in your overall health, including your blood sugar and blood lipid control. What you eat and your cholesterol levels go hand in hand.
Foods that can help lower cholesterol:
Fiber , healthy fats , and plant stanols or sterols have all been shown to help lower cholesterol.
Other ways to improve cholesterol:
— Reduce sugar intake: Cut the amount of added sugars you eat. This is especially important for people with high triglycerides. The grams of sugars on the Nutrition Facts label of a food package, however, doesn’t tell you if sugars have been added . Instead, look at the ingredients list for items such as sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or agave to see if there are added sugars in the product. Natural sugars, such as those found in fruit and dairy products, are also counted as sugars on the Nutrition Facts label. Limit how much sugar you use to sweeten drinks or in recipes.
— Limit high-cholesterol foods: People with diabetes should consume no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day, according to the ADA.
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Eat More Protein & Unsaturated Fats
Compared to a diet high in carbs, diets rich in protein and unsaturated fat reduced triglycerides by about 10 mg/dL in a study of 164 people with high blood pressure .
Diets high in monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil and avocados, decreased triglyceride levels better than a high-carb diet over 7-weeks in 85 people with an increased risk of heart disease. An olive-oil-rich diet also decreased the buildup of triglycerides in the liver .
A diet high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3s decreased triglyceride levels in 17 men with moderately increased triglycerides .
Skip The Sweet Drinks
One of the easiest things you can do to lower your triglycerides is to cut out sweetened drinks. Sodas and other sugary drinks are packed with fructose, a known offender when it comes to boosting triglycerides. Drink no more than 36 ounces of sweet sippers per week — that means three 12-ounce cans of soda.
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You Are Eating The Wrong Kind Of Fat
The low-fat diet trend of the ’90s has been replaced with just the opposite. Diets like keto and Whole30 encourage eating a lot of animal protein as well as full-fat versions of food, which might have many consumers eating more saturated fat. Overeating saturated fat is also associated with elevated triglyceride levels.
If you’re trying to lower your triglycerides, it’s best to ensure that saturated fats make up no more than 10% of your daily calories, replacing them with unsaturated fats, such as nuts and seeds, and omega-3 fats like those found in fatty fish and flax seeds.
You can also lower your saturated fat intake by choosing leaner cuts of meats and preparing your food with oils high in unsaturated fats, such as avocado oil and olive oil, instead of butter. Also try to have smaller servings of desserts and sweets, but really enjoy each bite so you feel more satisfied. Lastly, Nutrition Facts labels are a good place to check the saturated fat content of your packaged foods.
Supplements And Medications To Lower Triglycerides
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When Should You See A Doctor
Because high triglyceride levels usually do not cause any symptoms, theyre typically spotted when a doctor orders a blood test that includes a lipid panel.
If you do not have high risk factors, including health conditions and some lifestyle factors, a doctor will order a lipid panel every few years to check cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
If your lipid panel results show above normal triglyceride levels, a doctor may suggest lifestyle changes focused on diet and exercise. If diet and exercise do not have the desired effect, they may recommend medication such as statins or fibrates.
How To Lower Triglycerides
What does it mean when you have high triglycerides? How do you lower your triglycerides?
If youve been told that you have high triglycerides a type of fat found in the bloodstream youre not alone. One report suggests that nearly one-third of Americans have elevated triglycerides.1
Higher than normal triglyceride levels are a problem because theyre associated with increased risk of metabolic dysfunction, heart attacks, and strokes.2
Although many people focus on the risks associated with high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triglycerides may be even more predictive of future heart events.3
The good news is, you can use the advice in this guide to work with your healthcare provider to reduce your triglycerides naturally. You can also consider discussing medications or supplements to lower your triglycerides if needed.
Heres what you need to know about reducing your triglycerides.
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Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors
High triglyceride levels are associated with a collection of disorders known as metabolic syndrome. A person with metabolic syndrome has an increased risk of developing diabetes, stroke or heart disease.A person is classed as having metabolic syndrome when they have any three of the following factors:
- Central obesity excess fat in and around the stomach
- High blood pressure
- Higher than normal blood glucose levels
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High blood triglycerides.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
Added sugar is a big part of many peoples diets.
While the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 100150 calories of added sugar per day, one study found that the average American eats about 308 calories of added sugar daily .
Added sugar is commonly found in sweets, soft drinks, and fruit juice.
Extra sugar in your diet may be turned into triglycerides, which can lead to an increase in blood triglyceride levels, along with other heart disease risk factors.
A 2020 review that included data on 6,730 people found that those who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages regularly were over 50% more likely to have high triglycerides, compared with those who did not drink them regularly .
Another study found that consuming high amounts of added sugar is also associated with higher blood triglyceride levels in children .
Fortunately, several studies have shown that low carb diets can lead to a decrease in blood triglyceride levels .
Even a simple change such as replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water could decrease triglycerides in some people .
Minimizing added sugar in your diet from sugary beverages and sweets can reduce your blood triglyceride levels.
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Healthy Fats Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Replace unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. To eat more omega-3 fats, include fatty fish, flaxseed or ground flax, and walnuts in your eating plan. The oils that contain omega-3 fats are olive and canola oils. The ADA recommends eating two servings of omega-3-rich fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. The oils high in omega-6 fats are corn, soybean, and sunflower oils.
Eat less of these unhealthful fats:
— Saturated fat: The biggest food contributor to elevated LDL cholesterol is saturated fat. To remedy the cause-and-effect relationship between saturated fat and LDL, the ADA recommends limiting saturated-fat intake to less than 7 percent of your daily calories. So if you’re trying to eat no more than 2,000 calories a day, that would mean eating no more than 140 calories from saturated fat daily, or 15 grams of saturated fat.
— Trans fat: The ADA also recommends avoiding foods that contain trans fat. Although many restaurants and manufacturers advertise products as having zero trans fat, if the ingredients include shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or hydrogenated vegetable oil, the food likely contains trans fat. Labels are not required to list trans fat if the total is less than 0.5 grams per serving. Eating multiple servings of such foods means trans-fat intake can add up.
Ways To Lower Triglycerides
Candy, cookies, pies, pastries, ice cream, frozen yogurt, puddings, fat free desserts , fruit juice, other sweet beverages, such as soda, sweetened iced tea, iced coffee beverages, lemonade, fruit punch, sports drinks, energy drinks. Also limit added sugar of any kind, syrup, and honey.
White bread, bagels, pita, etc, white rice, white pasta, white flour in any product, pretzels, rice cakes, ready-to-eat cereals made with white flour.
- INSTEAD: use whole grain breads, cereals, and pasta, and increase fiber intake.
- Old fashioned or steel cut oats are great choices, as are brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, amaranth, and other whole grains.
- Choose legumes often chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, etc.
- Note: eating too much of any high-carbohydrate food will contribute to high triglycerides
Choose foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fats :
- Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, trout, bluefish, herring, swordfish. Eat at least 2 servings per week limit albacore tuna and swordfish.
- Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseed , walnuts, soy products such as tofu and soy milk, dark leafy greens
- Other nuts and seeds are also good almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds, etc.
Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if needed.
- You may be surprised that even a modest weight loss can greatly reduce your TGs, cholesterol, and heart disease risk.
Avoid trans-fatty acids in processed foods
Limit saturated fats
Stop Smoking To Lower Cholesterol
The ADA recommends if you smoke to quit to improve diabetes management. Quitting smoking can also improve your overall health and reduce your risk of cancer.
There are numerous programs, support systems, and medications available to help you quit smoking. Studies show it might take a few tries to quit your smoking habit for good. Not smoking when you have diabetes can help you reduce your risks of cardiovascular disease and other diabetes complications.
What About Eggs Should I Avoid Them
For years, medical professionals have told people to avoid eggs because of their cholesterol content . I see it quite often, patients come to me and have swapped their protein-rich egg breakfast for a cold cereal higher in sugar and lower in protein.
The effect of the cholesterol we eat on the cholesterol content in our blood is not strong . In fact, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans even removed their cholesterol restriction in 2015. We shouldnt be eating 5-egg omelets every day with highly processed meats. But, 1-2 eggs paired with high fiber foods can be a healthy breakfast option to keep us satisfied until our next meal or snack.
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You Are Drinking Too Much Alcohol
While some research studies suggest that drinking alcohol, specifically red wine, may provide some health benefits, drinking alcohol excessively causes more harm than good. Alcohol has calories, and adding sweetened beverages and mixers to alcohol, like cola or syrup, can increase the calories even more. Alcohol is processed in the liver and, as with food, any excess calories consumed are stored as fat. Over time, these extra calories can also raise your triglyceride levels. Drinking too much can also put you at risk for unnecessary weight gain, heart and liver diseases, and more.
Eat Fatty Fish Twice Weekly
Fatty fish is well known for its benefits on heart health and ability to lower blood triglycerides.
This is mostly due to its content of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that is considered essential, meaning you need to get it through your diet.
Both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Heart Association recommend eating two servings of fatty fish per week to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke .
Whats more, one study showed that eating salmon twice a week significantly decreased blood triglyceride concentration .
Salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, and mackerel are a few types of fish that are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating two servings per week may lower triglyceride levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Causes Of High Triglycerides
In many cases, habitual overeating causes high triglycerides. Occasionally, the trigger is an underlying condition such as:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Some types of liver disease
- Some types of kidney disease
- Some genetic disorders, including the inherited disease familial hypertriglyceridemia and familial combined hyperlipidemia .
When Supplements Make Sense
Not everyone with an elevated cholesterol level needs to take a statin. There are ways to achieve moderate lowering of cholesterol levels without using such drugs.
If you are basically healthy, and a formal assessment of your cardiovascular risk places you in a low-risk groupor at least shows that your risk is not high enough to warrant statin therapythen non-prescription cholesterol lowering makes good sense.
Lets review some of the commonly used non-prescription means of lowering cholesterol.
Cholesterol does play a vital role in your body
Its important to all your cell membranes. Its a precursor to your natural steroid and sex hormones. Its needed to produce vitamin D and bile acids. And its also involved in healthy nervous system and brain function.
If you take a visit to your physician, common measurements of assessment include total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL and HDL levels. Its high total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL that have long been associated with increased risk of heart disease. But HDL cholesterol is vital to the body, especially for optimal cardiovascular health. The special job of HDL is transporting LDL cholesterol and plaque buildup from the arteries back to the liver for breakdown.
Fortunately, triglycerides and LDL are aspects of your health that can be influenced from your very own your kitchen, using the great powers of nutrient dense foods
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