We know that triglycerides have a direct link with heart health. Yet, the reports of elevated triglycerides levels worldwide are alarming. Recently, The US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that more than 25% of US adults suffer from high levels of triglycerides. The survey that lasted for 8 years provides alarming rates of triglyceride patients. It also states, around 37% of the patients to be on medications for triglycerides.
However, we are blessed with foods that can help lower triglyceride levels and help in leading a healthy life. Before reaching for the foods, let’s first understand triglycerides better to treat it accordingly.
What is triglyceride?
Our sedentary lifestyle has led to multiple diseases. The root cause of many ailments is fat, and now it is overly confusing and overwhelming as we begin to hear about different types of fat. There is good and bad cholesterol. Then we hear about saturated and unsaturated fat. It’s all overwhelming, and when we say that triglyceride is also fat in the blood, you may wonder how to distinguish all of these. We shall make the explanation easy to clearly understand what kind of fat triglyceride is and how to deal with it.
Whatever food we eat has a certain number of calories. The body may not require all of it; hence it is transformed into lipids or fats, and the body stores it for later. Our hormones release this fat or triglycerides for energy in between meals. If we consume more calories than needed, it leads to fat accumulation in the hips and belly. This condition is known as elevated triglycerides, and it is essential to maintain the proper levels to stay healthy.
Tryglyceride Level Chart Infographics
What are the expected levels of triglyceride?
It is essential to know its normal range before reaching out to the foods that help lower triglycerides. Here we are providing the expected levels of triglycerides for fasting adults-
|Normal Levels of Triglycerides||150 mg/dl and less|
|Borderline High Level of Triglycerides||151 to 200 mg/dl|
|High Level of Triglycerides||201 to 499 mg/dl|
|Very High Levels of Triglycerides||More than 500 mg/dl|
What are the risks of high Triglycerides?
Our body naturally produces triglycerides and extracts some from the food consumed. Though a person following a healthy lifestyle can burn triglycerides in the form of energy, somebody consuming more than needed may be at risk of diseases caused by high triglycerides. A few diseases caused due to high triglycerides are-
- Atherosclerosis- Heart disease causing narrowing of arteries
- Heart attack
- Dysfunction of organs
- Pancreatitis- Inflammatory disease in the pancreas
How do Triglycerides increase?
Some diseases such as diabetes, kidney diseases, hyperthyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis are responsible for high triglycerides. However, an unhealthy lifestyle is a prime culprit behind the elevated levels of triglycerides. Following are a few reasons for high triglycerides-
- High-calorie food
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Alcohol consumption
What foods are responsible for high triglycerides?
As said earlier, a high-calorie diet is responsible for high levels of triglycerides. Some foods in this category are-
Starchy vegetables are the storehouse of carbohydrates. As you consume these, the body stores excess of it as triglycerides. If you follow a moderate exercise routine too, your body may not be able to burn all the triglycerides, which shall increase its levels. Hence, always take a small amount of starchy foods when filling the plate.
High amounts of sugar
By sugar, we don’t imply just the actual sugar granules. Packaged food loaded with sugar and other fats must also be avoided. Foods such as chocolate, ice cream, sweetened juices, jams, jellies, etc. too are packed with sugar or empty calories, as doctors refer it. It does not pack any nutrients and increases triglycerides in the body.
Saturated fats are long deemed the culprits of deteriorating heart health. The high levels of LDL, triglycerides are all linked with the consumption of saturated fats. Such type of fat is solid at room temperature. The major sources are egg yolks, red meat, high-fat dairy, butter, margarine, and junk foods.
There is no gain in consuming alcohol. All we do with alcohol consumption is tormenting the body and forcing the lever to escalate triglyceride production.
The prime reason for high triglycerides is lack of physical activity, as we cannot burn calories. Hence, it is better to have low-calorie food and stay away from whatever packs high calories. Foods such as pork, fried food, Packaged food, full-fat dairy, etc. are better avoided.
What are the foods to lower triglycerides?
Now that we know food to avoid and block high triglycerides let’s see what foods can help us lower the triglyceride levels. We have relishing food products around us that are healthy and tasty to lead us towards a disease-free lifestyle. Here we go-
Avocado contains high amounts of fiber and healthy fat. Fiber is essential in eliminating toxins of the body, and it is also a low calories food. Hence, there is minimal production of triglyceride that the body consumes to function. Thus it does not lead to triglyceride accumulation.
Berries are loaded in fiber that is an essential nutrient in eliminating triglycerides from the body. A handful of blueberries have 4 grams of fiber while it is 8 grams in raspberries. Berries are great for removing various toxins from the body that includes high triglycerides.
Pectin is a soluble fiber that is low in calories and carbs. The nutrient has multiple health benefits, including improving blood sugar, maintaining a healthy weight, helping gastrointestinal issues, and lowering triglycerides. Pectin is mainly available in the following fruits, and these are great if you seek fruits for reducing triglycerides.
Starchy food with high content of carbohydrates is notorious for triglycerides. But the body needs carbohydrates to function. Hence, choosing oats over white flour is a healthier option as it contains high amounts of fiber and the necessary carbohydrates required to perform without increasing triglycerides.
Barley is another grain that is high in soluble fiber and low in calories. It is also known to control sugar levels and lower the risk of heart diseases. Barley reduces triglyceride levels in the blood and prevents further spikes.
The white rice that we mostly consume is the refined, polished form devoid of any nutrients. Swapping it with brown rice provides the body with fiber, vitamin B, selenium, magnesium, and other vital nutrients. These come together to help the body lower triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Beans are a storehouse of soluble fiber. Also, the body takes some time to digest these, and we feel full for a longer duration. Beans are beneficial if you are trying to lose weight and lower triglyceride levels.
Recent studies have quoted that 2 ounces of nuts taken every day can help lower the triglyceride levels by 5%. Apart from reducing triglycerides, nuts are also packed with nutrients that help to stay healthy.
Alpha Lipoic acids
Various lab studies have constantly proven that alpha-lipoic acids reduce triglycerides by 60%. Our veggies are packed in nutrition that includes alpha lipoic acids. Below we have listed a few veggies that can be added to the diet and lower the triglyceride levels.
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
Kale is a tasty leafy vegetable that has diverse uses. One can add these in stews, soup, salads, and even saute as side dishes. Kale has high amounts of vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other beneficial nutrients for health. Though Kale is packed in nutrients, it is a low-calorie food and does not add triglyceride in the body.
Spinach is another leafy vegetable that is tasty and healthy. The low calories veggie is a powerhouse of nutrients that include omega-3 fatty acids. It is also known as a vegetable that has cholesterol-lowering fiber and is beneficial to eliminate triglyceride from the body.
Fishes rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are a blessing to the body to reduce triglyceride and LDL and enhance HDL levels. It is responsible for stabilizing heart health. Several fishes contain omega 3 fatty acids and can lower the triglyceride in the blood. It is advisable to add at least 8 ounces of omega3 fatty acids to the diet thrice a week to stay healthy and lower the triglycerides. The fishes rich in triglycerides are-
Oils rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
Leafy vegetables are healthy. You can make them healthier by cooking in oils rich in omega 3 fatty acids. As we read above, omega 3 fatty acids help lower triglyceride levels and keep the heart healthy. There are several oils packed in omega 3 fatty acids that can help in cooking more nutritious meals. These are-
- Flaxseed oil
- Canola oil
- Soybean oil
- Mustard oil
- Walnut oil
Egg yolks are full of saturated fats that must be avoided. However, egg whites contain zero cholesterol and can be a regular part of your diet. It is high in protein, vitamin B2, selenium and does not add more calories.
Lean meat has a lot of protein. It also packs high levels of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. In addition to all the goodies, lean meat is low in calories and a superfood that lowers triglyceride levels. To be on the safe side, carefully scrape all the visible traces of fat from the meat.
More ways to lower triglycerides
Swapping your regular diet with a healthier version shall be a determinant at lowering triglyceride levels. The following additional changes in your lifestyle can aid in eliminating lipids and leading a healthier life.
Aim at spending at least 30 minutes doing moderate or intense exercises. It shall help burn excess calories and maintain a healthy weight.
Your height and weight should be in the proper alignment. A nutritionist can help assess the ideal weight for your body and create a diet plan that helps maintain the right weight. It shall help in eliminating triglycerides and avoiding future accumulation.
Eat small, frequent meals
Small meals ensure that you have fewer calories at a time. The body instantly uses it for activities. When we have frequent meals, there is have ample energy to perform tasks. Hence, there is no accumulation of triglycerides.
Opt for healthy fats
Saturated fats are a sin when choosing the healthier way. Swap these with healthy fats that are beneficial for your health. Olive oil, canola oil, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, etc., are recommended as healthy fats.
Sugar is unhealthy and the biggest culprit in elevating triglyceride levels. Along with sugar, refined carbohydrates also must be avoided due to the high fructose content responsible for increasing triglycerides in the blood.
Alcohol is high in sugar and carbs. It is responsible for high triglycerides in the blood. Hence, it is better to avoid in case of high triglycerides.
Triglycerides can sometimes be aftermath of medications. However, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and a sedentary lifestyle are the key determinants of high triglycerides in most cases. Thankfully, you can prevent it from happening and lower the triglyceride levels in the blood through a thoughtful diet. Since you know what food reduces triglyceride levels, begin including them in your diet and eliminate everything that can make you unhealthy.