Triglycerides are used daily by our bodies and are normally found circulating in the bloodstream with other fatty molecules, such as cholesterol. However, when levels of triglycerides in the blood become too high, this can put you at risk for heart disease. If you are overweight, you probably have elevated triglycerides. Here are 10 easy ways to lower them and help you with your weight, too.
1. Restrict total fat to less than 30% and saturated fat in your diet to less than 10% - here is a general guide:
Calories Total Fat Saturated Fat
1200 <33g < 9g
1400 <38g <11g
1600 <44g <12g
1800 <50g <14g
2000 <55g <15g
• Avoid hidden trans fats in foods, which are often found in fried foods, margarine, vegetable shortening, and high fat processed foods (ex: crackers).
• Use only trans-free margarine (Promise, Fleischmann’s Light or Olive, etc.).
2. Restrict alcohol intake.
• Men should drink less than two 1oz servings per day.
• Women should drink less than three 1oz servings per week, with no more than one serving per day.
• Note: If you drink less than the restriction above, yet have high triglycerides, it would be beneficial for you to restrict your alcohol intake even more.
3. Restrict refined carbohydrates in your diet.
• Examples of refined carbohydrates include: white bread, pasta and rice, pretzels, cereals not considered high fiber or whole grain, baked goods (cookies, cakes, etc.) and other sugar-containing foods not providing significant nutrition (ex: pudding).
• Refined carbohydrates should be restricted to 2 servings per week (one serving = 100 calories).
4. Avoid foods high in sugar.
• Eliminate regular sodas, concentrated fruit juices and other sweets.
5. Lose weight and inches.
• A 10% weight loss will not only improve your triglycerides, but also your cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels.
6. Exercise regularly.
• Moderate intensity exercise for 30 – 60 minutes on most days of the week is strongly encouraged.
7. Add more fish to your diet.
• The omega-3 fatty acids, EPA & DHA, are among the most potent things you can increase in the diet to lower triglyceride levels.
• Replace meat and cheese in the diet with seafoods rich in omega-3s.
8. Consume foods high in fiber.
• Look for whole grain breads with 3g fiber per slice on the food label.
• Choose foods with “whole grain” as the first ingredient.
• Other foods high in fiber include beans, ground flaxseed, oat bran, fruits and vegetables.
• Be sure to drink more water when you begin to increase your fiber intake.
9. Consume 2 servings of fish per week.
• Especially fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and trout).
10. Manage daily stress, comply with your medications, and quit smoking.
• If you have questions or concerns with your medications, please contact your doctor’s office.
• Smoking cessation classes are offered at minimal cost (or free) throughout the community. Contact the American Lung Association for classes near you.
By Sarah Mohrman, RD, MA.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.