5 Shortcuts to Keep Your Triglyceride Levels Down
What are triglycerides, and why should we worry about them? Triglycerides are fatty components that form when we eat more food than our bodies need. The liver converts the extra calories into a form of fat called triglycerides (think of “love handles”). Dietary sources of triglycerides include sugars, other carbohydrates, and alcohol.
To keep your heart in the healthy zone, you want your triglycerides to be 50-180 mg/DL. What’s also important is that high triglycerides are more dangerous for women than for men, so if you are a woman and your triglycerides are elevated (above 200 mg/dL), you want to put some effort into lowering them, especially if you are a diabetic. If you are a diabetic woman who also has high triglycerides, your risk of developing heart disease increases to 200 times normal.
The good news is that triglycerides can be easily and quickly lowered with some simple lifestyle changes.
1. Decrease your consumption of high-glycemic carbohydrates (rice, pastas, potatoes, corn, carrots and peas). Avoid bread and bread-like products such as crackers and bagels. Instead, eat fish and nuts and use olive oil as a source of healthy fat. Also, add more protein to your diet, such as eggs and poultry.
2. Lose weight. The lower your weight, the lower your triglycerides, so weight management is critical to lowering triglyceride levels. Even a modest weight loss of five to eight pounds will make a difference in your triglyceride level.
3. Exercise, such as walking 30-45 minutes a day, burns calories which helps to lower triglyceride levels.
4. Take fish oil. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) in fish oil help promote normal triglyceride levels. For triglyceride support, try 2–3 grams daily in divided doses.
5. Finally, avoid beer, wine, liquor, and sweets, as much as possible since they can elevate your triglyceride levels.
Now it’s your turn: Have you adopted any of these triglyceride-lowering habits?
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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