Top 10 Ways to Lower Triglycerides

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.

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