Managing Triglyceride Levels
Discover the importance of healthy triglycerides and learn how to achieve them
With so much attention lavished on HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, the importance of healthy triglyceride levels has been largely lost. And that’s too bad—because keeping them in a healthy range is essential to heart health.
Triglycerides are the chemical form of most fats in the body. The triglycerides in your blood come from dietary sources, primarily sugars and carbohydrates. I consider a healthy triglyceride level to be 50–100 mg/dL. Levels above that have been linked to coronary artery disease and metabolic syndrome.
Given that the typical American diet is laden with sugary, processed, and fast foods, it’s no surprise that high triglyceride levels are a problem for many people. To lower your triglyceride levels:
- Eat better. Specifically, you want to cut back on the amount of sugar and carbohydrates in your diet, and eat more healthy fats and lean protein. It’s my opinion that combining the healthy eating of Mediterranean cultures with traditional Asian cuisine offers the most heart-healthy diet of all. I call this approach to eating the Pan-Asian Mediterranean diet, or PAM diet. Learn all the details of my PAM diet.
- Keep your weight down. The lower your weight, the lower your triglycerides, so weight loss and weight management are key to lowering triglyceride levels. And since one of the best weight-management tools is exercise, I strongly recommend exercising regularly. Find out my two favorite forms of exercise.
- Take omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) help promote normal triglyceride levels. One popular way to get your EFAs is by taking fish oil supplements, which can be found at health food stores and grocery stores. But because our ocean waters are getting more polluted, fish can be contaminated with heavy metal and toxic chemicals; and the large factory ships that catch the fish don’t do a very good job of processing it right away, which means oils can oxidize even before they’re put into capsules. So look for a fish oil product that can guarantee freshness, preferably one that includes antioxidants such as rosemary extract and vitamin E to ensure stability and freshness. For triglyceride support, try 2–3 grams daily in divided doses. Learn more about the four other supplements I recommend for everyone with cardiovascular concerns.
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Healthy Cholesterol
What numbers indicate high cholesterol? Get my recommendations on what constitutes healthy cholesterol levels.
What are the different subtypes of LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol? Discover which kinds of cholesterol are most harmful.
What tests do you need to accurately assess your cholesterol levels? Find out which tests can flag the most dangerous subtypes of cholesterol.
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Meet Dr. Sinatra
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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