What Causes High Cholesterol & How To Lower It:
High cholesterol can be caused by several factorsincluding family history. Lack of exercise, being overweight, an unhealthy diet , plus smoking can all play a role in raising your cholesterol. According to the CDC, a total cholesterol of over 200 mg/dL is considered high. However, there are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so be sure to have a discussion with your medical provider about getting your levels checked. Although high cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, side effects of high cholesterol include heart attack and stroke, so it’s important to practice prevention and discuss your risk factors at your annual visit.
To reduce risk, there are several lifestyle changes we can make, like increasing exercise and focusing on a diet that is high in fiber and healthy unsaturated fats , while limiting excess sugar and saturated or trans fats. Plus, losing weight if you’re overweight can positively improve your cholesterol, so we set this plan at 1,500 calories, which is a level where most people will lose weight. We also included modifications for 1,200 or 2,000 calories a day, depending on your needs.
Let The Healthy Eating Begin
So now I am more confident when it comes to following a cholesterol and triglyceride lowering diet, I can concentrate on introducing other positive changes into my life such as exercise. I will always have to watch what I eat, reducing cholesterol and then maintaining it is not something you do once and that is it.
But, so far I am enjoying learning how to eat healthier and, hopefully, prolong my good health too.
Eat More Medium Chain Triglycerides
Yes, you read that correctly. To improve health and triglyceride levels, you should consume more triglycerides. But make sure they are the medium-chain kind of triglyceride.
MCTs are different from the long chain triglycerides that we commonly find in dairy and meat because they skip the normal process of fat digestion and go straight to the liver. In the liver, the MCTs are often converted into ketones for fuel.
For this reason, many studies have found MCTs to increase weight loss when compared to other healthy fats like olive oil. Believe it or not, MCTs also have been found to decrease triglycerides more than olive oil as well.
Coconut oil is the best natural source of MCTs . However, if you need an unmistakable energy boost that eliminates your cravings right away, then supplement with pure MCT oil. Blend it into your morning coffee or keto pumpkin spice latte or use it as the oil for your salad dressings.
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Sugar Can Become Your New Fat
It would only make sense for fats to increase triglycerides more than carbs, but the science shows us that just the opposite occurs.
In one study, people with high triglycerides and normal triglycerides were put on a 15% fat, whole-food diet after eating a high-fat diet . After only one meal of the low-fat diet, their triglyceride levels were elevated for higher and longer than during the high-fat diet.
Fasting triglyceride concentrations also increased by 60% and the production of atherogenic LDL cholesterol increased as well. This occurred in people with normal and high triglycerides in response to a whole-food based low-fat diet.
Do these findings mean that we should avoid carbs if we want to reduce our triglycerides?
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.
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Foods To Reduce Triglycerides
Following foods will help to lower triglycerides- they are as follows-
Oily fish- Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acid. This is a heart healthy kind of fat. These are polyunsaturated fatty acids that body wont make, hence it should be developed through diet/food. Omega-3 fatty acids are a good source of essentials that will help to lower triglyceride levels, prevent bad plaque buildup and boost healthy cholesterol. You should go for 7-day diet to lower triglycerides.
Vegetables- contain soluble and insoluble fibers which are high in amount. They are very good to lower triglyceride levels. Fiber combats carbohydrates and fat from digesting rapidly, it slows down the absorption process and keep triglycerides low in your blood.
Fruits- Eating lots of fruits is good for your heart. This will help to maintain a healthy weight. Gaining weight may increase the risk of buildup cardiovascular disease. Thus, its important to manage it with 7-day diet to lower triglycerides. Fruits, especially berries, are very good to improve heart health. This combat free radicals that cause inflammation and cell damages. Berries are rich in anti-oxidants.
Low-Fat Dairy Products- such as cheese, milk, yoghurt is rich in calcium and its low in saturated fat. This means it will not influence bad cholesterol levels.
Healthy Fats- are the best food for a healthy heart. Healthy fats contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This will help to reduce triglyceride levels.
Diet Plan To Lower Triglycerides
Fortunately, with something as simple as changing your diet, you can help make these elements normal again.
Below, well show you some foods that will be your friends to lower triglycerides and bring them to normal levels.
- Dairy products. You can eat yogurt, skim milk or non-fat cheese.
- Eggs. You can eat egg whites every day. However, you shouldnt eat the yolks more than three times a week until your triglycerides go back to normal levels.
- Meat. Its best to eat lean meats or chicken breasts. Also, you can have beef up to twice a week. In any case, its best to cook meats by grilling or baking them. In addition, its best to eat fish, especially salt water fish.
- Almost all vegetables, preferably raw.
- Whole grains. The most beneficial whole grains for you are oats, wheat germ, wheat bran and brown rice. These contain fiber, which help you eliminate lipids.
- Fruit. Its best to eat fruit with its peel, since thats where all of the fiber is.
- Water and juices. Make sure that the juices are made with natural fruit juice. In fact, these contain more vitamins and minerals.
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The Best Meals To Lower Your Triglyceride Levels
Triglycerides are fatty substances in your blood similar to cholesterol that, in high levels, can put you at greater risk for high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Luckily, your diet can help: Creating a meal plan to lower your numbers can support overall health and prevent disease.
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Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body and come from fatty foods like butter and oils, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine . Eating too many calories or too much sugar, smoking, drinking and certain conditions like thyroid disease can all elevate your levels.
Here’s a meal plan to help you lower your triglycerides.
- âHealthy triglycerides:â Less than 150 mg/dL
- ââHigh triglycerides:â 200 mg/dL and above
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:
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Foods That You Should Avoid
A person with high triglycerides should avoid eating certain foods to get their levels back to normal. Next, well show you what not to eat.
- Sweets. In general, you should avoid sweets. At most, you can occasionally let yourself have a little bit of natural jam.
- Coffee. While youre on a diet to lower triglycerides, avoid drinking coffee, especially drinking too much. However, you can enjoy a little every once in a while.
Based On The Gathered Results From The National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey From 2001
Although this was lower than the 33.3% prevalence in 2001-2004, it is still alarming given the current lifestyle of Americans which involves consumption of mostly processed and fast foods, and a sedentary lifestyle that contributes to increased prevalence of obesity.
Increased triglyceride levels are said to be related to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. And according to the Harvard Medical School, having high triglyceride levels may be an indication of a metabolic syndrome such as diabetes and pancreatitis.
Because of the complications associated with high triglycerides, it is recommended that those with high triglyceride levels engage in beneficial lifestyles such as increasing physical activities, losing weight, quitting smoking, and having a balanced diet.
However, it is difficult to monitor if you have high triglyceride levels because having this condition does not entail visible and characteristic symptoms. There are no recorded symptoms specific for having high triglycerides alone. The only way to know if you have high triglycerides is through a blood test that will assess your lipid profile.
Now, you may have already started wondering about what triglycerides are exactly? And how does it affect your overall condition? These questions will be answered throughout this guide. But to give you a hint: it is a type of lipid that can be found in our bodies performing an array of functions.
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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.
How To Know If Your Triglyceride Levels Are Optimal
All you have to do is set up an appointment with your doctor to get a standard blood test done. Ask your doctor to print the results for you, and track your progress at after appointment.
According to the American Heart Association, these are the triglyceride level ranges:
|Very high||500 mg/dL or higher|
Aim for optimal triglyceride levels, but dont forget about cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well.
To see if you have healthier cholesterol levels, check your total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. A ratio between 3 and 4 indicates that you have healthy cholesterol levels and are at a substantially reduced risk of heart disease. When it comes to blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar levels should be below 100 mg/dl.
It is also important to take note of your posture before you get your blood drawn. For example, different positions, like sitting, standing, and laying down, can cause triglycerides to vary significantly. Because of this, the American Heart Association recommends that you sit for at least 5 minutes in the same position each time you get your blood drawn to minimize variability in triglyceride measurements.
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Will A Keto Diet Lower Triglycerides And Cholesterol
No, keto diets have been shown to increase cholesterol levels. The Mediterranean diet, however, has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiac events.
The Mediterranean diet promotes eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats daily eating fish, poultry, beans, and eggs weekly reducing portions of dairy and limiting red meat.
Which Foods To Avoid
Avoid alcohol, added sugars, refined carbohydrates and saturated fat. Alcohol is known to increase triglyceride levels which can lead to cardiovascular disease . Added sugars are also high in calories and cause insulin resistance, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease . Refined carbs and saturated fats both contribute to higher blood triglyceride levels which over time will contribute to plaque buildup in the circulatory system and heart disease.
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Follow A Lower Carb Diet
Much like added sugar, extra calories from carbs in your diet are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
Not surprisingly, low carb diets have been linked to lower blood triglyceride levels .
A review of 12 randomized controlled trials found that people following reduced carb diets typically saw a reduction in triglyceride levels at 6, 12, and 24 months. Across these studies, triglyceride levels decreased the most 6 months after starting a reduced calorie diet .
A 2020 review compared low fat and low carb diets. Researchers found that 612 months after starting their relative diets, those on the low carb diet had greater decreases in triglyceride levels than those on a low fat diet .
Following a low carb diet can lead to a significant reduction in blood triglyceride levels, at least in the short term, when compared with a low fat diet.
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.
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Why Lowering High Triglyceride Levels Matters
The national guidelines for fasting triglyceride levels in healthy adults are:
- Normal: Under 150 milligrams per deciliter .
- Borderline High: 151200 mg/dl.
- High: 201499 mg/dl.
- Very High: 500 mg/dl or higher.
When your triglyceride levels are high and you have a high amount of LDL cholesterol or a low amount of HDL cholesterol, all of this could contribute to the development of fatty buildups within the artery walls of the heart. The buildup can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Food Items You Can Easily Consume To Lower Triglyceride
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