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 levels—it 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
- Borderline: Between 150 and 199 mg/dl
- High: Over 200 mg/dl
- Very high: Over 500mg/dl
High levels of triglycerides are often associated with obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, and thyroid disease.
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:
- Salmon: Cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, and cod have omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to significantly reduced triglyceride levels. By far the best fish is salmon. Fish oil supplement can also be used to supplement eating fish. Fish rich in omega-3 are some of the best foods that lower triglycerides and cholesterol.
- Whole grains: This may include bread, pasta, cereals, and brown rice. Whole grain foods are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. Whole grains also provide some protein and are generally low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat.
- Legumes and peas: Dry beans and peas are a good source of plant protein and are fiber-rich. Ideally, they should substitute foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat.
- Flaxseed: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids to the extent that a mere two tablespoons contain almost 133 percent of the daily requirement of omega-3. There is one caveat, however. In their whole form (unbroken seed) they get passed through the digestive tract, therefore, they have to be ground in order to benefit from their beneficial effects.
- Olive oil: A low triglyceride substitute for saturated fats. It helps lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and aids in maintaining HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). However, olive oil is considered high in calories, so it is therefore recommended not to consume more than two tablespoons a day. Flaxseed is considered one of the best foods to eat to lower triglycerides.
- Egg whites: Contain no cholesterol and can be eaten often. A typical egg with yolk contains 215mg of cholesterol. Limit egg yolk consumption.
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.
- Fatty meat products: These foods are often high in cholesterol and saturated fats that contribute to increased triglyceride levels. They include red meat, poultry skin, butter, lard, and shellfish.
- Processed foods: Trans fats also raise triglyceride levels, and many artificial foods manufactured through a process called hydrogenation have excessive amounts. Liquid oils are an example of this, as they are chemically treated to make them solid, improving both texture and shelf life inexpensively. Sources of these trans fats include margarine, lunch meats, hot dogs, French fries, chips, crackers, and desserts like pies, cakes, doughnuts, and cookies.
- Simple carbohydrates: Making a switch from refined carbohydrates in your diet to whole grain can help reduce overall triglyceride and cholesterol levels. For example, instead of eating products made with white flour, substitute them for whole grain items. Refined carbohydrates are known to raise blood sugar and stimulate insulin production, which leads to raises in triglyceride levels.
- Cut your calories: Losing weight can further reduce triglyceride levels. By aiming for a daily 500 calorie reduction from your normal dietary intake, you will lose approximately one pound of body weight a day or more. Adding an exercise regimen to your routine will further aid in your weight loss goals. It is good advice to start slow and make gradual changes to help solidify these habits into a healthy lifestyle.
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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