How To Lower Cholesterol And Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of lipid, or fat, your body produces to store extra calories and provide energy. Cholesterol is another lipid that circulates in your blood. Your body uses cholesterol to build cells and produce hormones.
Both triglycerides and cholesterol are essential for your health but having levels that are too high puts your health at risk. Living a healthy lifestyle helps to keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels within a normal range.
What Causes High Triglycerides
Have you put on a few extra pounds? Your yearly blood tests probably reflect an increase in triglycerides. These triglycerides are fats that are important for your body, but too many of them can hurt your heart and lead to other health problems.
Triglyceride fats can come from the food we eat. They are also made by the liver when we eat starchy or sugary foods. Whether you eat triglycerides or your body makes them, the energy is either used or stored. When your body can’t use all the triglycerides it consumes or produces, triglycerides are stored as fat cells.
Just like cholesterol, high triglycerides can clot arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. They can also lead to pancreatitis in high levels. The good news is that there are many ways to start lowering your triglycerides and bringing your body back to good health. In the following medically reviewed slides, we explain the role of triglycerides in the body and how you can work to reduce high triglyceride levels.
Foods That Lower Triglycerides Naturally
Having high triglyceride levels is often part of the criteria when diagnosing high cholesterol, and it also plays a role in cardiovascular disease and strokes. Keeping triglyceride levels down in our blood stream may require the use of pharmaceutical medication, exposing you to the annoying and potentially harmful side effects. Thankfully, there is a natural way to regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levelsit includes keeping a healthy diet and simple lifestyle changes that will not only make you feel healthier but keep your blood vessels and heart muscles performing at their best. Here you will find a list of food that lower triglycerides.
Studies show over the past 30 years that more and more Americans are becoming overweight, leading to high triglyceride levels becoming a serious issue. They are linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack and may actually have a genetic predisposition, with high triglyceride levels and low good cholesterol numbers having a tendency to run in the family.
It is good to know what is considered a normal and abnormal triglyceride level.
- Normal: Less than 150mg/dl
High levels of triglycerides are often associated with obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, and thyroid disease.
Recommended Reading: Is Camel Meat Cholesterol Free
Mistakes You’re Making When Trying To Lower Your Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat that makes up most of your body fat stores. They can also be found in various foods, such as butter, margarine and oils. Beyond consumption of triglycerides, what and how much you eat also affects your blood triglyceride levels. When you eat more calories than you need, whether from carbohydrates, protein or fat, your body stores the excess calories as fat in the form of triglycerides.
Hypertriglyceridemia is a condition where elevated levels of triglycerides are present in the blood. It is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. Luckily, making changes to your diet and lifestyle can help lower your triglycerides and improve your health outcomes. Here are six mistakes that you may be making when trying to lower your triglycerides.
How Long Does It Take To Lower Triglycerides
Lowering triglyceride levels can require a change in dietary and lifestyle habits. If these steps are implemented, then it is possible for some people to see lower triglyceride levels in a matter of a few days, according to the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Although triglycerides are important in the body for energy, a high triglyceride count may increase the risk for heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic. The normal level of triglyceride, which is a type of fat, should be less than 150 milligrams per deciliter.
When triglyceride levels are high, the American Heart Association recommends lowering these levels by changes in diet and lifestyle habits, notes Mayo Clinic. Foods that contain excess sugar, refined carbohydrates and fats should be eliminated from the diet. Foods to eat, which can lower these levels, include tuna, salmon, beans, oat bran, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Changes in lifestyle habits can entail losing weight, exercising and not consuming alcohol.
Don’t Miss: Do Egg Whites Contain Cholesterol
Learn Your Triglyceride Range: Go To The Doctor
It’s hard to know how much you need to do to reduce triglycerides if you don’t know what triglyceride range you fall in. Fortunately, finding out is easy. Here’s how triglyceride test numbers stack up:
- Normal – Less than 150 mg/dL
- Borderline – 150-199 mg/dL
- High – 200-499 mg/dL
- Very high – 500mg/dL and up
Simply having your blood drawn each year can help you keep track of your triglycerides, and it will help you know when they are too high. At the same time, your doctor may also look for related health problems, including
- kidney disease,
- a slow thyroid gland output,
Finding Out Your Triglycerides Levels
Triglycerides are measured with a simple blood test. Triglyceride levels should be measured when you have a cholesterol test as they can also contribute to your risk of developing heart disease, and other disease of the heart and blood vessels. The triglyceride test measures the triglycerides carried in chylomicrons and VLDL cholesterol. National guidelines in the UK no longer recommend a fasting blood test .
What should your triglyceride levels be?
HEART UK experts state that we should aim for a non-fasting triglyceride level below 2.3mmol/L.
If your doctor has asked you to fast for a test then your triglyceride level should be below 1.7mmol/L. This “fasting test” number is lower because only the triglycerides made by the liver and carried in the VLDL cholesterol will be measured not the triglycerides you get from food. As you have not eaten, there will be no chylomicrons present in your blood.
Don’t Miss: Is Lecithin Good For High Cholesterol
Risk Factors For High Triglycerides
Research shows that triglyceride levels predict cardiovascular disease, a principal cause of morbidity and mortality in Western society. People with high triglycerides may be at significant risk for cardiovascular disease even if their LDL cholesterol levels are at goal.
A 2010 study conducted at Harvard Medical School evaluated the relative contributions of triglyceride and HDL cholesterol in the risk of coronary heart disease after LDL cholesterol levels were reduced. The study, involving 170 cases and 175 controls, suggests that high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol levels were associated with coronary heart disease even in patients with lower LDL cholesterol levels. The odds of coronary heart disease increased by approximately 20 percent per 23 milligrams per deciliter increase in triglycerides.
Having high triglycerides also makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Its not that high triglycerides actually causes diabetes, but it shows that the body isnt turning food into energy properly. Normally, the body makes insulin, which escorts glucose into the cells where its used for energy. The insulin allows the body to use triglycerides for energy, but when someone is insulin-resistant, the cells wont let insulin or glucose in, thereby causing both glucose and triglycerides to build up in the blood.
Conventional Treatment for High Triglycerides
Foods That Lower Triglycerides
Your diet is the main contributor to your overall triglyceride levels, with high calorie, high-fat foods being the main culprits. Eating in excess amounts contributes to this problem as well, as when you take in more calories than you need, the body changes those calories into triglycerides, getting stored as fat. Following some of these tips can help you choose calories wiser and help lower your triglyceride levels:
- Reduce saturated fats and trans fats. These are commonly found in animal products, fast food, baked goods, and other prepackaged and processed foods
- Use healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. Found in olive or canola cooking oil
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Getting the majority of your calories from these sources make it satisfies hunger and keeps you away from unhealthy alternatives
- Alcohol in moderation. May be full of empty calories
- Avoid refined sugars. Typically found in processed foods
- Eat fish protein once or twice a week. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can help lower triglyceride levels
- Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber increases satiety, and also aid in decreases cholesterol absorption in the gut
- Limit total dietary cholesterol to 200mg per day
The following is a list of well-known natural foods that lower triglycerides:
Don’t Miss: How Can You Lower Cholesterol
How To Lower Triglycerides: Cut Out Sweet Drinks
One of the simplest ways to reduce triglycerides is to skip sweetened drinks. Sodas and other sugary drinks are packed with added sugar, and as we’ve already discussed, added sugars boost triglycerides.
How much added sugar is in those sweet sodas? A single 12-ounce can of Coke packs 39 grams of sugar, which is higher than the daily sugar limit recommended by the American Heart Association. The AHA recommends that adult men consume no more than 36 grams of sugar per day, and that adult women eat no more than 24 grams per day.
Drink no more than 36 ounces of sweet sippers per week. That rightthat means only three 12-ounce cans of soda in a single week. Better yet, cut the sugar-sweetened soda habit completely.
How To Lower Triglycerides Naturally
1. Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Cut Back on Calories
Because of the relationship between increased weight circumference and high triglycerides, cutting back on calories and losing weight can have a big impact on triglyceride levels. Stick to cholesterol-lowering foods, such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, garlic and sweet potatoes.
In a study conducted at the School of Medicine and Pharmacology in Australia, compared with weight maintenance, weight loss significantly decreased body weight, plasma insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. To lose weight fast, begin by avoiding the consumption of empty calories throughout the day. This means cutting back on sweetened beverages, refined carbohydrates and baked goods.
Avoid Sugary Foods
A study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that when fructose was given to rats, there was a 20 percent increase in triglyceride production. The results suggest that dietary fructose not only increases triglyceride production, but also impairs triglyceride removal. Fructose is a natural simple sugar found in fruits, vegetables and honey. Instead of consuming too many of these high-fructose foods, focus on bringing complex carbs and healthy fats into your diet. Also, always avoid high fructose corn syrup, one of the worst ingredients out there.
Stick to Complex Carbohydrates
Choose Healthy Fats
3. Essential Oils
Read Also: Which Tea Helps Lower Cholesterol
Include Nuts In Your Diet
Nuts provide a concentrated dose of fiber and healthy fats, which work together to lower blood triglycerides.
An analysis of 61 studies on the effects that nuts have on our health showed that each serving of tree nuts decreased triglycerides by 2.2 mg/dL. Other epidemiological studies found that you will get the greatest health benefits if you consume between 37 servings of nuts per week.
Here are some nutty recipes you can try to get more nuts in your diet:
What Are Normal And High Triglyceride Levels
The National Cholesterol Education Program sets guidelines for triglyceride levels:
- Normal levels: Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter
- Borderline high:150 to 199
- High: 200 to 499
- Very high: 500 or more
Elevated levels may lead to heart disease, especially in people with low levels of “good” cholesterol and high levels of “bad” cholesterol. The same is true if you have type 2 diabetes.
Experts once debated how important triglycerides are, but it now seems clear that higher levels are linked to problems such as heart disease.
One thing is clear, though: A good diet and exercise plan can lower triglyceride levels, improve cholesterol, and decrease the chance of heart disease.
You May Like: Can You Test Your Cholesterol At Home
You Are Cutting Out All Carbs
One common step that’s taken to bring down your triglycerides is to reduce your calorie intake by cutting back on carbohydrates, such as simple carbs found in sodas, juices and sweetened beverages, and refined carbs, which are found in white bread, white pasta and snack products.
This can be a helpful approach: eating too many carbs could contribute to higher triglyceride levels, and cutting back would be one strategy to lower them. However, it is not necessary to cut out all forms of carbs, including those found in whole grains. Whole grains are full of types of fiber and nutrients that work together to benefit your health. Soluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber present in whole grains, vegetables and fruits that slows digestion by attracting water and forming a gel. This process delays the absorption of sugars and fat, softens your stools and promotes regular bowel movements. Together with insoluble fiber, a type of dietary fiber that adds bulk to stools, it can promote fullness and keep you feeling full for longer. In other words, including whole grains as part of your meals and snacks can help regulate your food portion sizes by minimizing your chance of overeating.
You can incorporate more whole grains by having at least half of your grains as whole grains. Try whole-wheat versions of your favorite pastas and other grain products, and make room for whole grains like oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa and barley in your eating pattern.
Possible New Treatment For High Triglycerides
In the report in The New England Journal of Medicine, an international team of researchers describe a new therapy for high triglycerides. It involves a weekly injection of “antisense oligonucleotides” , pieces of DNA that short-circuit the livers production of triglycerides. The new report shows that ASOs can reduce triglyceride levels by as much as 70%.
Keep in mind that this was a phase 2 trial, which is designed to test whether a drug does what it is supposed to do . Larger, longer-term studies will be needed to see whether ASOs actually reduce the risk of heart disease, and what sorts of side effects they cause.
Many experimental medications that sparkle in early testing never become FDA-approved drugs. We wont know for several years whether ASOs will become available for individuals with high triglycerides.
Read Also: What Foods Have Good Cholesterol
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 .
What Foods Can Help Lower Triglycerides
Now that you know which foods to avoid, what foods can you add into your diet that can help support healthy triglyceride levels? “Foods to emphasize are high fiber vegetables with lower sugar content, such as cruciferous vegetables,” Archibald says. “Including legumes, canned or cooked from their dried versions, will add both fiber and satiety to the plate.”
Adding healthy omega-3 fats can be helpful as well. “Among fats, seek out foods rich in omega-3 fats, which not only act as natural anti-inflammatories in the body but can also prevent the production of triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver,” says Archibald.
Here are 20 foods that can lower triglycerides.
Read Also: How Does Oatmeal Help Lower Cholesterol
Foods That Could Help Lower Triglycerides
Chances are, you’ve heard that having healthy triglyceride levels in your blood is important. But what exactly are triglycerides, and how do they work in your body? And when you have high levels, is it possible to manage them with lifestyle, and can food make a difference? The good news is, according to food and health pros, what you eat can help. We’ve rounded up some of the foods that can lower triglycerides, and there are plenty of whole foods on the list.
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.
Read Also: What Happens When You Have High Cholesterol
How Can I Lower Cholesterol And Triglycerides Together
If you have high triglyceride levels, it is also possible that you have too much low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help with triglyceride levels. Fruits high in soluble fiber can also help reduce too much cholesterol absorption. These include:
- liver disease
- thyroid disease
If you have high triglycerides, you may also have low levels of HDL cholesterol. Contact your doctor if you feel you are at risk of high triglycerides and low HDL.
And Limit Unhealthy Ones
Namely, trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils, which sometimes show up in baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, refrigerated dough , nondairy creamers, and margarines.
Eating these harmful fats can send your triglycerides up in just a few short weeks, not to mention raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
Also Check: How Do You Lower Your Bad Cholesterol