Lowering Triglycerides Without Medication
Unless your triglycerides are extremely high, lifestyle changes are the best place to start. These simple steps can significantly lower triglyceride levels.
- Beware of bad fats. Cutting back on saturated fat and trans fats can lower triglycerides.
- Go for good carbs. Easily digested carbohydrates give triglycerides a definite boost. Eating whole grains and cutting back on soda can help control triglycerides.
- Check your alcohol use. In some people, alcohol dramatically boosts triglycerides. The only way to know if this is true for you is to avoid alcohol for a few weeks and have your triglycerides tested again.
- Go fish. Omega-3 fats in salmon, tuna, sardines, and other fatty fish can lower triglycerides. Having fish twice a week is fine.
- Aim for a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing just 5% to 10% of your weight can help drive down triglycerides.
- Get moving. Exercise lowers triglycerides and boosts heart-healthy HDL cholesterol.
- Stop smoking. It isnt good for triglyceride levels or for anything else.
About the Author
Gregory Curfman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Former Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Health Publishing
How Can I Lower My Triglycerides Quickly
Dietary and lifestyle changes may help you lower your triglycerides within a few months. The first step, though, involves finding out why your triglycerides are high. Hypertriglyceridemia has many causes. These include:
- Dietary factors.
- Medical conditions.
- Some medications.
If you just learned your triglycerides are high, the first thing you should do is talk with your healthcare provider. Your provider will ask you some questions and review your medical history to see what might be causing the spike in your triglyceride level.
Your provider will then help you come up with a plan for getting your triglycerides back to a healthy level. This plan may involve medication to lower your triglycerides, especially if your numbers are very high. Or, you may need treatment for an underlying condition.
Your provider will also help you with dietary and lifestyle changes. Its always best to follow the individual plan your provider gives you. But here are some general guidelines that research shows can help you lower your triglycerides.
Dietary changes to help lower your triglycerides
There are four main dietary culprits that raise your triglycerides:
Product labels or packaging will also tell you if an item is fat-free. Its important to reduce your fat intake. But be aware that desserts labeled fat-free usually contain more sugar than full-fat versions and just as many calories. Limit these desserts or find healthier options like fresh fruit or sugar-free popsicles.
What Are The Good And Bad Types Of Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol. The more LDL you have in your blood, the higher your risk of heart disease. High-density lipoprotein is good cholesterol. This type lowers your risk of heart disease.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. People with diabetes and those who are at risk of diabetes tend to have high triglycerides. When you make changes in your lifestyle to improve your cholesterol levels, you want to lower LDL, raise HDL, and lower triglycerides.
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Focus On Monounsaturated Fats
As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way your body uses them. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.
Some recommend a low fat diet for weight loss, but research is mixed on its effectiveness in controlling blood cholesterol.
One research report acknowledged that lower fat intake is an effective way to reduce blood cholesterol levels. However, researchers were concerned over potential negative effects of low fat diets, such as lowering HDL and increasing triglycerides .
In contrast, research has shown that a diet high in monounsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, helps reduce levels of harmful LDL and increase levels of healthy HDL .
Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of cholesterol, according to research. Oxidized cholesterol can react with free radicals and contribute to clogged arteries. This can lead to atherosclerosis or heart disease .
Overall, monounsaturated fats are healthy because they decrease harmful LDL cholesterol, increase good HDL cholesterol and reduce harmful oxidation (
Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts, and avocados reduce LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol, and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.
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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What Is A Good Tg: Hdl Ratio
A lower TG/HDL is better. In the discussion of science, studies, and treatment, there has been a tendency to go with higher ratios to show the largest impact on CV disease risk and death.
Here are the typical cut points for risk :
- In US less than 2 is ideal above 4 is too high
- In Europe less than 0.87 is ideal above 1.74 is too high
Taking Herbs And Supplements
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Health Conditions Related To Triglycerides And Cholesterol
High blood lipid levels may increase your risk for plaques to develop in your arteries or thicken the walls of your arteries .
Other health conditions related to high triglycerides or cholesterol include:
- High blood sugar levels or diabetes
- Metabolic syndromea cluster of conditions that increase your risk for heart disease
- Genetic conditions
How To Lower Your Cholesterol
If you are wondering what to do about your cholesterol, follow these rules:
Get regular aerobic physical exercise. It has been proven that regular exercises increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol . Moreover, it may also lower your risk of heart attack or stroke, as it reduces the blood pressure.
Diet. Eat foods low in fatty acids, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Dont forget to include in your diet fish, as they are a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Consider eating cholesterol-lowering foods, such as margarine, enriched with plant sterols and stanols.
Use medications. If the non-pharmacological ways of treatment dont bring satisfactory results, dont hesitate to contact your doctor, who may propose drug therapies. There are numerous drugs that doctors can use to lower your bad cholesterol and correct your LDL HDL ratio. It has been scientifically proven that they not only lower cholesterol but also and prolong life.
Dont be afraid to make valuable changes in your life. Calculate your LDL HDL ratio and other ratios using our cholesterol ratio calculator. Lower your cholesterol, treat hypertension and diabetes, check for abnormalities in your ECG, protect your heart and live healthier, longer, and happier!
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Which Medications Improve Tg/hdl
- Statins. The major impact of statins on TG/HDL is to lower TG. But usually, statins are given to lower LDL. Sometimes they can also increase HDL levels but still not as much as how they lower TG. They can lower TG by as much as 50% .
- Prescription-strength niacin
- Prescription-strength omega-3s. Icosapent ethyl , Epanova, and Lovaza are prescription forms of omega-3s
My Cholesterol Is Normal But My Triglycerides Are High: Why Is That
So both your HDL and LDL levels are where they should be, but your triglycerides are still high why is that?
Triglycerides become elevated due to excess calories that do not get burned off, and in turned get stored in fat cells. Statins are medications that primarily lower LDL cholesterol, but depending on the medication dose, can lower Triglycerides from 20 to 40 percent, Sai Hanumanthu MD, with the TriHealth Heart Institute explains.
There are steps you can take to lower your triglyceride levels while promoting good cardiovascular health, including:
- Losing 5 to 10 pounds if overweight
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding foods high in saturated fats
- Limiting simple carbs that have high processed sugars .
- Participating in 30 minutes of exercise per day
All these suggestions and routine follow up with a medical professional will lower you triglyceride level, even despite a low total cholesterol, Dr. Hanumanthu says.
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Can Lowering Carbs Actually Improve Tg/hdl Rc And Cv Risk
Yes. There is plenty of evidence showing this. Multiple studies range from clinical trials in animals and humans to meta-analyses. Here are 4 of them:
- The Abbasi study was a human clinical trial using a crossover design. People ate high carbs for 2 weeks, then low carbs for 2 weeks, with a washout period of 2 weeks in between. The high-carb diet doubled TG levels, tripled remnant cholesterol, and lowered HDL by 15% .
- The Wang study is a randomized clinical trial in laboratory mice .
- The Volek study is a meta-analysis. It reviews pre-2005 studies which had already shown that low-carb diets decrease triglycerides and remnant cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol level .
- The Ebbeling study was also a human subjects clinical trial. It was done at Harvard. Subjects on a low-carb diet had lower TG and higher HDL cholesterol. Also, researchers showed that low-carb diets were less likely to result in weight rebound due to improved energy expenditure and leptin .
My name is Ford Brewer. My team and I work to prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer, and dementia. Our goal is to help you understand how to prevent major killers and disablers. Most of them are driven by the process of cardiovascular inflammation.
The Link Between Dietary And Blood Cholesterol
The liver produces as much cholesterol as your body needs. It packages cholesterol with fat in whats called very low-density lipoproteins .
As VLDL delivers fat to cells throughout the body, it changes into the more dense LDL, which carries cholesterol wherever it is needed.
The liver also releases HDL, which then carries unused cholesterol back to the liver. This process is called reverse cholesterol transport, and it protects against clogged arteries and other types of heart disease.
Some lipoproteins, especially LDL and VLDL, are prone to damage by free radicals in a process called oxidation. Oxidized LDL and VLDL are even more harmful to heart health .
Although food companies often advertise products as being low in cholesterol, recent research has shown that dietary cholesterol actually has only a small influence on the amount of cholesterol in the body .
This is because the liver changes the amount of cholesterol it makes depending on how much you eat. When your body absorbs more cholesterol from your diet, it makes less in the liver.
Current guidelines by leading U.S. health organizations for lowering risk of heart disease no longer contain specific recommended levels for dietary cholesterol, including the:
- American Heart Association (
The 2020 DGA recommends, for people 2 years old and over, to limit intake of saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day. They also recommend replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, particularly polyunsaturated fats .
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Lowering Triglycerides Dessert Options
5. Low Sugar Dessert: Considering the importance that sugars play in spiking triglyceride levels, dessert can seem like a thing of the past for those with elevated levels of the blood fats. In fact, many people with high triglycerides stick to a hypoglycemic diet, where carbohydrates are measured and very limited. However, there are some great dessert options that wont throw a low glycemic diet out of whack and still allow people with elevated three molecule lipid levels to enjoy a sweet treat following a good meal. Low triglycerides recipes for dessert options may be limited, but their taste potential certainly isnt.
Fruit Kabobs are one dessert option for people with high triglycerides. Not all fruit is ideal for people on this type of diet, so low fructose options are best. Choices like cantaloupe and strawberries are great options and work well on a stick to provide a treat as pleasing to look at as it is to eat. Consider low fat yogurt for dipping or a low fat whipped cream.
Parfaits can provide a more decadent treat with creative substitutions serving in place of triglycerides enemies like pound cake and whipped cream. Greek yogurt spiked with honey and cinnamon can be used in place of the creamy filling and handfuls of homemade oatmeal granola can be incorporated for delicious crunch. Layering the parfait with berries and topping with yogurt can finish off the sweet treat.
What About The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan that improves cholesterol and lowers your risk of dying early. A big change for most people is to use olive oil instead of other fats and oils. Other parts of the Mediterranean diet include:
Eating less red meat, dairy products, eggs, and poultry
Eating more fish, tree nuts, vegetables, and whole grains
Drinking wine in moderation.
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You Can Begin Lowering Cholesterol Naturally Today
Sound like a lot to take on? Dont be intimidated. Bringing down your high cholesterol doesnt have to mean changing your life completely. Rather, start with changing your mindset. Instead of thinking of it as moving away from things, youre moving toward new habits that will help you create a healthier and more enjoyable future.
Now is always the right time to start taking care of your heart health. If you need a little support, lean on friends and family. And dont forget that your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
Dont delay getting the heart care and answers you need
How Does Diet Affect Cholesterol Levels
Your cholesterol level has a lot to do with what foods you choose to put on your plate.
In the United States, Cardiovascular Disease is one of the leading causes of poor health, sometimes accompanied by death.
This happens to be directly associated with poor eating habits.
For instance, consuming too much fat can increase LDL cholesterol. Subsequently, elevating the risk of heart disease.
However, choosing a healthy diet reverses this process, giving you a clean bill on health.
And if these are not enough, there are other foods to sink your teeth into in order to balance your cholesterol level.
Here are some foods to increase HDL and decrease LDL levels.
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What Foods To Avoid If Your Triglycerides Are High
Knowing what not to eat to keep triglyceride levels under control is just as important as knowing what food you should eat instead. The following are some foods you should try to avoid when keeping triglycerides and cholesterol low, as they are not foods that reduce triglycerides in the body.
Achieving ideal triglyceride and cholesterol levels may seem like an uphill battle, but with the tips and recommendations listed here, you will be on the right track for success. It is important to stay vigilant and not become discouraged during the tough days, as your health is something that should take top priority. Speaking to your doctor about other diet and lifestyle changes that may work best for you is also advised.
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Normal Cholesterol With High Triglycerides What Is That
When measuring total cholesterol levels, low-density lipoprotein , high-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides are used in the measurement.
For adults, standard cholesterol levels are:
- Less than 200 mg/dL is desirable
- Between 200 â 239 mg/dL is considered borderline
- Over 240 mg/dL is considered high
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