How Your Healthcare Provider Can Help
Your healthcare provider can help you get your triglyceride levels under control by ruling out possible causes like medications, thyroid issues, unmanaged diabetes and liver or kidney disease. They can then formulate an effective management plan with you. This might include medication and lifestyle changes like losing weight and eating smaller portions.
As mentioned before, a healthy, fiber-rich diet can help in the matter. Exercising regularly can also play a huge part in managing triglyceride levels. By cleaning up your existing routine, you could see changes in your triglyceride levels within a few months.
This article was adapted from Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.
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Busy Lifestyles Are The Most Common Reasons For High Cholesterol And Triglyceride Levels
If you are like me and like to pack your day full of activities or if you are simply trying to balance a work and home life, watching your diet is often the last thing on your mind.
Therefore, making a healthy meal for yourself and even the family is often impossible. Processed and other fast foods are often high in the fats associated with increasing cholesterol and triglycerides.
To try and tackle this problem, I have started doing a simple menu plan. That is deciding for the week what foods will best suit my cholesterol and triglyceride lowering diet and ensuring I have the ingredients ready to go.
The idea of creating a menu plan is, the days you know you are going to be pressed for time you and organise a simple meal that is still healthy. The meals that require more preparation or cooking time, I save for the days I know I can commit the time.
- Day one Poached salmon, new potatoes and carrots
- Day two Pasta with tomato and basil sauce
- Day three Vegetable curry with rice
- Day four Chicken salad
- Day five Mackerel, rice and poached eggs
The weekend I would leave to chance, although I do treat myself to a small Chinese takeaway and a half-a-glass of red wine on a Saturday evening.
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Control Your Serving Size
One of the easy ways to remember about the balanced diet is to know the rule of hand. Your palm is the amount of proteins that should be in a portion. Your fist tells about the volume of veggies to be included in the food, your cupped hand tells about the amount of carbs to add in the food, and your thumb tells about the amount of fats to add in food.
It is equally important to eat daily at a fixed time. Cut down on your portion size, and further learn to estimate the size of your portion. It is also a good idea to have big breakfast, but light dinner, as you have the whole day to burn your calories.
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Causes And Effect Of High Triglycerides
Triglycerides are generally fats present in the blood. They serve as the energy reservoir for the body, when theyre within the normal range. High levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. This is why it is very important to keep an eye on the level of triglyceride to ensure theyre within the normal range.
The triglyceride level range in the body system is as follow:
Normal Triglyceride: Below 150mg/DL
High Triglyceride: 200-499mg/DL
Very High Triglyceride: Above 500mg/DL.
A simple lipid test would place you in one of the aforementioned categories. If you fall into the good category, such an individual is considered healthy.
Individuals in the borderline high category need to exercise the more and adopt a healthier lifestyle. At this stage, there is no need to take supplement or triglyceride reduction medication. Unless advised by your physician.
People in the high and very high category should consult their physician, as they adopt a healthy lifestyle and explore alternatives to lowering the blood triglyceride level.
Some of the major causes of high triglycerides are obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol, physical inactivity, and certain diseases such as diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, hypothyroidism, and the use of some medications.
Some foods that lower triglycerides include tuna fish, sardine, brown bread, and a host of wheat whole products.
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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.
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.
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/11lower Your Carb Intake
Just like the added sugar, extra carbs in your diet also get converted into triglycerides. Low carb diet has been linked to lower triglyceride levels.
Studies have found that people getting a lower number of calories from carbs had lower triglyceride levels as compared to people who received more calories from carbs.
People who were kept on a low carb diet for one year lost more weight and had lower triglyceride levels as compared to people who had a high carb diet, finds a study.
What Kind Of Medications Treat High Triglycerides
If your triglyceride levels are very high, you may need medication.
Niacin supplements also known as vitamin B3 can help reduce blood triglyceride levels. You can get niacin naturally from meats, avocados, and peanuts among many other foods. Supplements work well, too, if youre worried you may not be getting enough through your diet alone.
For those who dont like to eat fish, packaged omega-3 fatty acids, and even cod liver oil, can come in a capsule and help you get some of the same benefits. Vascepa is an FDA-approved prescription-strength omega-3 fatty acid that you can take if you are 45 or older and have diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It has been shown to reduce triglyceride levels and the risk of heart attack or stroke when exercise, diet, and other medications arent enough.
One of the main types of medication prescribed to treat high triglycerides are called fibrates, including fenofibrate. These medications slow down production of triglycerides and help remove triglycerides from the bloodstream.
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Include Nuts In Your Diet
Nuts provide a concentrated dose of fiber and healthy fats, which work together to lower blood triglycerides and improve cholesterol.
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.
How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Tested
Adults should have their blood lipids measured every 5 years, starting at 45 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should start lipid blood tests at 35, because on average heart and blood vessel disease such as heart attacks and stroke happen 10 to 20 years earlier in Indigenous people.
All Australians in these age groups are eligible for a regular 20-minute heart health check with their doctor. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can then assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
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Eat A Mediterranean Diet
If youre looking for an overall diet plan that will lower triglycerides, the Mediterranean style may be the way to go it is, after all, one of the best diets for heart health. It encompasses all of the TG-lowering foods weve talked about. A diet that promotes eating more fatty fish, healthy plant-based oils, and nuts and seeds like the Mediterranean diet may be beneficial to reducing TG levels and improving heart health, Palinski-Wade says.
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What Are Triglycerides And Why Are They Important
“Triglycerides are a type of blood lipid and they’re made up of free fatty acids. They’re stored in your body fat, but you’ll also find them in your blood,” says nutritionist Jessica Ash, CNC, HHC, FDN-P and founder of Jessica Ash Wellness. “And because your liver makes them, they’re also found in your liver and then your tissues. Our body gets triglycerides either from the food that you eat or from the body it manufactures triglycerides in the liver.”
“It’s important to know that triglycerides, like cholesterol, are normally protective . But triglycerides are used for energy, whereas cholesterol is used for steroid hormone production,” Ash explains. “And our muscles are specifically what like to uptake fatty acids or triglycerides. So they’re fatty acids that the body usually uses for energy.”
Your body needs energy from food to function. But excess energy, especially from sources like simple carbohydrates, can be stored as triglycerides, which can create issues if your triglyceride levels are elevated above the normal range. According to the Mayo Clinic, if your triglycerides are over 150 mg/dL, then you’re at a greater risk for developing heart disease.
Instead Eat Healthy Fats
Not all fats are created equal when it comes to triglycerides. Certain healthy fats actually make the body work better, according to the American Heart Association, so you do want to include them in your diet. Replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat has been shown to help reduce TG levels, Palinski-Wade says, adding that the connection is quite direct: Research has shown that every percent you decrease your intake of trans fatsreplacing them with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatlowers your triglyceride levels by the same amount. Eating avocados and cooking with olive oil instead of butter are great ways to add these healthy fats to your diet. Olive oil also contains another fatty acid that can reduce your heart attack risk by 48 percent.
How To Lower Triglycerides Naturally
The two primary fat sources in the bloodstream are cholesterol and triglycerides. Both are vital for optimal health. Cholesterol helps build healthy cells, and triglycerides provide energy. However, if either is too high, problems develop. High cholesterol levels clog arteries. High triglycerides also cause vascular disease associated with low HDL cholesterol levels . You then have fat elements in your blood, which can eventually harm your heart. The disorder is called hypertriglyceridemia.
Triglycerides are composed of three fatty chains linked together. People with diabetes often have high TG levels. Effectively dealing with diabetes will often reduce TGs. The second primary cause of high TGs is drinking alcohol. Sugar also increases them. Smoking or chewing tobacco is another major cause. Obesity also causes it.
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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.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can increase your levels of triglycerides. Along with LDL cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease.
Excess alcohol consumption also increases blood pressure and can lead to obesity both additional risk factors for heart disease.
To reduce the risk of heart disease and other risks from alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.
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What Other Lifestyle Changes Help Lower Triglycerides
Lifestyle strategies are a way to lower triglycerides naturally.
Weight loss has a positive effect on triglycerides. For every 5% to 10% weight reduction, triglycerides may be lowered by 20%. Another way to look at this: For every kilogram lost, triglycerides may be reduced by 2%.
Increasing physical activity lowers triglycerides.
- Aerobic activity of any kind, especially when done after a meal, uses up triglycerides that are in the blood ready to be used as fuel. This not only lowers triglycerides but also helps with abdominal obesity.
- Exercise is most effective for lowering triglycerides when they are very elevated. If triglycerides are optimal , exercise will not further lower the level.
All together, intensive lifestyle strategies can reduce triglycerides by 50% or more over a year. Lifestyle strategies can enable people to effectively reduce triglycerides without medicine or drugs, plus there are many other positive effects on other aspects of health and well-being. This is the recommended approach of the American Heart Association for anyone with triglycerides greater than optimal .
Why Are The Risks Of High Triglycerides
High triglycerides usually go hand in hand with other health issues that make up metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome includes:
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels. Usually, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein and low levels of high-density lipoprotein .
- Obesity. People who have high triglycerides can suffer from obesity and excess belly fat.
- High blood sugar. When triglycerides are higher, blood glucose levels are usually higher, too.
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease and can coincide with a diagnosis of high triglyceride levels.
Metabolic syndrome places you at a higher risk of developing heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. In addition, youâre more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when you have high triglycerides.
If you need to lower your triglyceride levels, there are ways you can do it by making simple but intentional lifestyle changes to support your health goals.
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What Is A Healthy Triglycerides Range
Aiming for a healthy triglycerides range can help improve your overall health and reduce your risk of conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
Triglyceride levels are measured in milligram/deciliter . See the table below for information about optimal and high triglycerides levels.
Conditions That Raise Triglycerides
Certain health conditions can cause high triglycerides, so let your doctor know your medical history or any unusual symptoms you may have. This could shed some light on your levels, says Joel Kahn, MD, clinical professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and associate professor of medicine at Oakland University Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan. For example, he says conditions such as prediabetes, diabetes, liver disease, and thyroid disease could be responsible for high triglycerides. But lifestyle factors have a huge impact on your triglycerides as well, so before your doctor prescribes medication, you may want to try to lower them naturally. Heres how to do it.
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Substitute Healthy Oils In Place Of Butter And Margarine
Of course, its not always realistic to avoid fats when youre whipping up a tasty meal. When you do need to add fat for cooking, baking or pan frying, use healthy oils instead of solid fats, like butter, margarine, shortening and lard.
Solid fats are high in saturated fats, but oils are high in unsaturated fats, which remember are better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using oils that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon .
Many times, its easy to swap a solid fat to a healthier one. Try using olive oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of a solid fat.
For example, if youd rather use olive oil than butter, substitute three quarters the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. You might also bring out some new, surprising, subtle flavors, too.
Path To Improved Health
There are 2 main types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein . This delivers cholesterol to the body. This is called bad cholesterol. You want a low level of this type.
- High-density lipoprotein . This removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. This is called good cholesterol. You want a high level of this type.
If your doctor says you need to improve your cholesterol, youll need to lower your LDL and increase your HDL. Medicines can help with this. But the simplest way to improve your cholesterol is through lifestyle changes.
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