Do you need to decrease your triglycerides? Triglyceride levels are the blood fat not readily discussed during your doctor’s appointment. The focus may be more on your blood cholesterol level. But, blood triglyceride levels are still very important to your heath. If your blood triglyceride value is elevated, your blood is thick like motor oil. This can contribute to heart disease. Here are six simple tips to decrease your triglycerides.
Limit alcohol as the first of 6 tips to decrease your triglycerides
For some people, cutting out alcohol drastically lowers triglyceride levels. While you may like it if your doctor tells you red wine is healthy, your dietitian knows it can increase your triglyceride levels. So, I tell patients to eat grapes instead! I know it’s not as fun, but it works.
Choose fats wisely
Replace butter with olive oil. Don’t forget to swap these fats for each other! Simply adding olive oil to your diet on top of your usual butter intake will not decrease your triglyceride level. That also goes for topping your salad with a whole avocado. While an avocado has heart healthy fat, the impact on your triglycerides will be the same as too much olive oil. Scale it back to a small wedge or 2 Tbsp.
Decrease simple carbs
Carbohydrates are basically divided into two categories: complex and simple. Bread, pasta, rice, fruit, and vegetables are examples of complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates tend to be sweet, such as soft drinks, desserts, candies, and syrup. Individuals should avoid simple carbohydrates in order to decrease triglyceride levels. Some people are so biologically sensitive to sweets that their triglyceride levels drastically increase when they eat too much sugar.
In any healthful diet, complex carbohydrates should be in the 45-65% range of overall calories. But even excessive amounts of healthy complex carbohydrates can elevate triglycerides. Triglycerides often decrease when complex carbohydrates are less than 60% of the overall diet.
Eat more omega-3 fatty acids
Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and herring give us omega-3 fatty acids. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include: tofu, soybeans, flaxseed, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.
Increase physical activity
Aerobic exercise can help with weight loss and decrease triglyceride levels at the same time. Triglyceride reduction occurs with both short bouts of exercise and longer term repetitive exercise. Most studies find that the best bet is to do 30-45 minutes of moderately intensive exercise five times a week. Have your doctor approve an exercise program if you have been inactive.
Maintain or get to a healthy weight as a final tip to decrease your triglycerides
A healthy body weight has been shown to correlate with lower blood fats-including both triglycerides and cholesterol.
Start lowering your triglycerides by cutting down your alcohol and total fat. Add some more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. And, lastly, ramp up your physical activity and get to a healthy weight. These steps usually get the job done when trying to decrease triglyceride levels.
Do you have a success story about how you lowered your triglyceride numbers?