Address Underlying Health Issues
Remember, although triglycerides can be high due to bad lifestyle and dietary choices, they can also be high due to an underlying health condition. The most important thing is to work with your doctor to find out whats causing your high triglyceride levels and to treat any underlying conditions!
For example, triglycerides can be high due to liver disease, infections, underactive thyroid , autoimmune disease, or some genetic disorders just to name a few .
In these cases, simply changing your diet or lifestyle wont help address the underlying issue and may actually be harmful!
In addition, high triglyceride levels can be dangerous for your body. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe triglyceride-lowering medication.
Thats why, if your triglycerides are elevated, you should discuss the lifestyle and dietary changes listed below with your doctor. None of these strategies should ever be done in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes!
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.
/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.
Recommended Reading: What Should Your Cholesterol Numbers Be
Eating Foods With A Low Gi
The glycemic index indicates how much a specific food is likely to increase your blood sugar levels.
For example, oats have a low GI, but white bread has a high GI and is more likely to lead to a big spike in your blood sugar.
Research suggests that eating a low glycemic diet is associated with lower triglycerides.
Taking Supplements To Lower Triglycerides
The data show that diet and exercise are practical approaches for lowering triglycerides. However, for some people, lifestyle changes may not be enough. In that case, it may be worth discussing supplements with your healthcare provider.
Heres a list of possible choices.36
- Niacin: 2,000 to 3,000 mg per day37
- Berberine: 500 mg twice daily38
- Fish oil: Eicosapentaenoic acid 2 to 4 grams per day 39
- Curcumin: 80 to 100 mg daily40
- Fenugreek: 10 grams per day41
You May Like: What Is Safe Ldl Cholesterol Levels
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.
Normal Levels Of Serum Triglycerides
Triglycerides are measured with a blood test and are generally part of the lipid panel, also known as lipid profile, which includes testing for HDL and LDL cholesterol levels as well. To perform the test, youll have to be fasting for at least 10-12 hours but drinking water is allowed. Alcohol should also be avoided in the 24 hours preceding the test.
- 40-100 mg/dL or is considered the optimal level of fasting triglycerides
- < 150 mg/dL : normal triglyceride range
- 150-199 mg/dL : borderline high triglyceride range
- 200-499 mg/dL : high triglyceride range
- > 500 mg/dL : very high triglyceride range
Your lipid profile is not only influenced by your diet and lifestyle, but also by your genetics. Some medications such as estrogens or some health conditions may also lead to increased serum triglycerides.
Don’t Miss: How To Test Cholesterol In Blood
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.
What Causes High Triglycerides
Aside from consuming a high-fat and/or high-carb diet, other lifestyle factors can contribute to high triglycerides, specifically excess weight, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol and smoking. Dr. Malaney adds that it can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as some birth control pills, beta blockers, antipsychotics medications, and corticosteroids.
You May Like: What Makes Your Cholesterol Go High
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.
Increase Your Intake Of Unsaturated Fats
Studies show that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can reduce blood triglyceride levels, especially when theyre replacing carbs in your diet .
Monounsaturated fats are found in foods like olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are present in vegetable oils and fatty fish, as well as nuts and seeds such as walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
A 2019 review of 27 studies reported that while olive oil consumption does decrease triglycerides levels, it does so significantly less than other types of plant oil .
One older study analyzed the diets of 452 adults in a specific population of Indigenous people in Alaska over the previous 24 hours.
It found that saturated fat intake was associated with increased blood triglycerides, while polyunsaturated fat intake was associated with lower triglyceride levels .
To maximize the triglyceride-lowering benefits of unsaturated fats, pick a heart-healthy fat like olive oil and use it to replace other types of fat in your diet, such as trans fats or highly processed vegetable oils .
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can decrease blood triglyceride levels, especially when theyre consumed in place of other fats.
Fats: Choose The Right Ones
The body needs fats to function correctly, but some fats are more healthful than others. Choosing healthful fats may help reduce triglyceride levels.
Solid fats come from meat, full-fat dairy products, and some tropical oils, such as coconut and palm oil. These foods contain trans fats and saturated fats.
Trans fats and saturated fats raise triglyceride levels, so people should try to replace them wherever possible.
Unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats , can help lower triglyceride levels. Avocados and olive oil contain monounsaturated fats, also a healthful choice.
Omega-3 fats are present in cod liver oil, flaxseeds, and cold-water fish, such as salmon and sardines. People can add PUFAs to their diet by eating these foods.
What Are Triglycerides And What Raises Them
Everyone consumes triglycerides as part of their diet. They circulate in your bloodstream, similar to cholesterol, and pair with proteins to form lipoproteins.
These lipoproteins carry triglycerides to your tissues, where they are either used for energy straight away or stored as fat for later.
Triglyceride levels can be measured by a simple blood test. According to the American Heart Association , fasting levels those taken when you havent eaten should be below 150 mg/dl and post-meal levels below 200 mg/dl .
Many lifestyle factors can raise your fasting triglyceride levels, such as a diet high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, a lack of physical activity, drinking too much alcohol, and smoking. Pregnancy and menopause can also have an effect.
Postprandial lipaemia is the scientific name for the rise in triglycerides that happens after eating. The peak in triglyceride levels is around 45 hours after eating, and the level should return to baseline around 8 hours after eating.
Measuring triglyceride levels within a 4-hour period after a meal is a strong predictor of your risk of heart disease, even if your fasting triglycerides are within a healthy range.
That means post-meal triglycerides can act as an early warning system for your risk of heart disease.
Your blood fat control indicates how well you can clear triglycerides from your blood in other words, how well youre able to handle high-fat foods.
Recommended Reading: What Affects Cholesterol Levels In The Body
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.
How Quickly Can I Lower My Cholesterol
Your cholesterol levels may lower as quickly as a few weeks to a few months, depending on your treatment plan.
If your levels are very high, your healthcare provider may recommend taking medications at the start of your treatment plan. This may help lower your cholesterol levels more quickly. The sooner you can lower your bad cholesterol levels, the sooner you can lower your risk for plaques to form.
You can also lower your cholesterol through lifestyle and diet changes alone, but it may take three to six months to see results. Talk with your healthcare provider to figure out the best treatment plan for you.
Recommended Reading: Is Turmeric Good For Cholesterol
A Promising New Treatment For High Triglycerides
- By Gregory Curfman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Former Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Health Publishing
When you think about fat circulating in the bloodstream, you might immediately think of cholesterol. But theres another type of fat you shouldnt ignore: triglycerides. As with cholesterol, high triglycerides can also increase the risk of having a heart attack. Existing drugs for lowering triglycerides arent that good at reducing heart attack risk. Thats why a report on a new way to lower triglycerides, New England Journal of Medicine, is generating some excitement among cardiologists.
Diet For High Triglycerides
To quickly lower your high triglyceride levels with diet you should implement the following dietary changes:
Also Check: What Is Cholesterol Level Supposed To Be
/11have More Unsaturated Fats
Studies have shown that consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can reduce the blood triglyceride levels.
Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts, olive oil and avocado.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils and fatty fish.
Studies have found that intake of saturated fats is associated with increased blood triglyceride levels while consumption of polyunsaturated fat is linked with lower blood triglyceride levels.
In another study, participants were given extra virgin olive oil for six weeks. There was a significant decline in the triglyceride levels, total cholesterol levels and LDL levels of these people.
To lower the triglyceride levels, pick a healthy fat like olive oil and use it to replace other types of fats like trans and other highly processed fat.
/11include More Fibre In Your Diet
We all know fibre helps us in losing weight by keeping us fuller for longer and stopping us from binge eating.
Some common sources of fibre include nuts, cereals and legumes. Having more fibre decreases the absorption of fat and sugar in the small intestine, which helps lower the triglycerides levels in the blood.
Also Check: Diet To Lower High Cholesterol And Triglycerides
Foods And Drinks With Simple Sugars Or Added Sugars
Sodas, ice-creams, desserts, baked products, sweet and flavored yogurts, breakfast cereals, candies are some of the many everyday products that should be avoided. Check product labels for added fructose, corn syrup, cane syrup, honey, sucrose, dextrose, glucose, lactose, maltose or malt sugar, molasses, which are all sugars.
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 .
Read Also: Does Drinking Water Help Cholesterol
/11limit Your Sugar Intake
Most people consume double the daily recommended amount of sugar every day. Not many know this, extra sugar in your diet can turn into triglycerides, increasing your risk of heart diseases.
Studies have found that people who consumed 25 per cent of their daily calories from sugar were twice more likely to die from heart disease as compared to people who consumed only 10 per cent of their calories from sugar.
Replacing your sugary drinks with water can lower the triglyceride levels by 28 mg/dL.
Add More Fiber To Your Diet
Fiber is the part of your food that isnt digested, and its important because it helps you feel full. According to a study published in February 2019 in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition, dietary fiber can reduce the risk of high triglycerides in young to middle-aged adults who are overweight or obese. In general, fiber-rich foods also have carbohydrate content that is more complex and can lead to more gradual absorption by the body, which can also help temper the triglyceride increase that occurs after meals, says Michael Wesley Milks, MD, a cardiologist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. Fiber is found in whole grains and nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Recommended Reading: Is Rice Bad For Cholesterol
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.