The most common kind of fat in the body is triglycerides. The amounts of triglycerides in the blood can be affected by the food that people consume, whether it is from animal or plant sources.
From the polyunsaturated fats in olive oil to the saturated fats in red meat, there are several different types of fat. Both of them lead to triglyceride levels in the body, but they do so in various ways.
It stores these extra calories in the form of triglyceride fats when a person consumes more calories than their body requires. When, at a later stage , the body needs more energy, it absorbs these fats.
Triglycerides are important for health, but high levels raise the risk of heart disease, which in the United States is the leading cause of death. Lowering levels of triglycerides and lowering other risk factors can reduce the probability of a individual developing heart disease.
There are several ways to safely decrease the levels of triglycerides. The best technique can depend on the cause of the high levels of triglycerides.
Calories: Reduce intake
Consuming more calories daily than the body can burn off can result in the body getting an excessive amount of triglycerides.
Eating fewer calories each day is one way of lowering triglyceride levels in the blood.
A 5–10 percent weight loss will decrease triglyceride levels by 20 percent, according to the American Heart Association ( AHA).
The level of weight loss and the reduction in triglycerides have a strong correlation.
Fats: Choose the right ones
The body needs to work properly with fats, but some fats are better than others. Choosing healthy fats can help reduce levels of triglycerides.
Solid fats, such as coconut and palm oil, come from foods, full-fat dairy products, and certain tropical oils. Trans fats and saturated fats are found in these foods.
Trans fats and saturated fats boost levels of triglycerides, so individuals should aim to replace them whenever possible.
Unsaturated fats can help to lower triglyceride levels , especially polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados and olive oil, which are both a good option.
Omega-3 fats are present in cod liver oil, flaxseeds, and cold-water fish, such as salmon and sardines. Through consuming these foods, people will add PUFAs to their diet.
People can opt for a fillet of salmon or a tuna sandwich instead of a steak or hamburger, which are high in saturated fats.
Healthy options are also animal products, such as lean meats, skinned poultry, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and seafood.
According to the AHA, fats can constitute about 25 to 35 percent of the diet.
Carbs: Eat the right sort
People can limit their total consumption of carbohydrates to less than 60% of their daily recommended calorie allowance. The body can store them as fat when a person consumes more carbohydrates than they need.
An increase in levels of triglycerides appears to follow diets with an intake of carbohydrates above 60 percent.
There are also means of avoiding carbohydrates, such as wrapping lean burgers instead of a high-carb bun in lettuce.
Some foods containing carbohydrates, including some cereals, can be helpful in the diet. Refined carbohydrates, like white bread, do, however, have little nutrition and add calories to the diet.
Choose whole grains, oatmeal, and vegetables, such as carrots, to get more nutritious carbohydrates.
For dessert, instead of sugar-baked goods, opt for fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries. These fruits can decrease sugar cravings while still providing healthful carbohydrates.
Not only are unrefined carbohydrates a source of dietary fiber, but since they release their energy more slowly, they provide more rapid and sustained satiety than refined carbohydrates.
Sugar: Reduce intake
Sugars, which are high in calories, are a type of carbohydrate. Triglyceride levels can be elevated by foods containing a lot of simple sugars, especially refined fructose.
Added sugar comes in many forms, including:
- white sugar
- brown sugar
- cane juice or cane syrup
- corn sweetener or corn syrup
- fruit juice concentrate
- syrups, such as maple, agave, and molasses
In order to help reduce the levels of triglycerides, people should avoid added sugars.
Sprinkle spices, like cinnamon or ginger, on cereals or oatmeal instead of sugar, to add flavor.
Opt for fruit-based deserts instead of ice-cream or sticky puddings.
When purchasing ready-to – eat items, note that many contain added sugar, even some savory items, such as tomato ketchup.
Hence, before purchasing a product, check the label and try to find one with a low sugar content.
1 teaspoon (tsp) is equal to every 4 grams ( g) of sugar. The maximum daily intake of 25 g (about 6 tsp) of sugar is recommended by the AHA for women and 36 g (9 tsp) for men.
Drinks: Choose with care
Beverages also contribute substantially to the total consumption of carbohydrates and sugar.
Some of the main sources of added sugar in the diet are fruit drinks, soft drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
In certain individuals, alcohol also has a direct effect on triglyceride levels. In order to avoid alcohol, people who want to reduce their triglyceride levels can find it helpful.
It can substantially reduce total calorie consumption by taking measures to avoid drinks containing added sugars.
People may opt for low-calorie beverages, such as water or tea, instead of beverages that contain high amounts of added sugar.
On a warm day, consider adding a splash of 100 percent fruit juice to a bottle of sparkling water instead of reaching for a soft drink.
In lowering the levels of triglycerides, physical activity also plays a critical role. Burning calories means that more of the triglycerides are used by the body.
Any exercise is helpful, but it will depend on the magnitude of its effects:
- the person ‘s initial triglyceride levels
- the amount of exercise
- the level of intensity of the exercise
A great way to begin is to walk for 30 minutes each day, as is to participate in low-stress activities, such as cycling or swimming.
The AHA recommends that adults perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity, or a weekly combination of the two.
Drugs that can increase triglycerides
Some drugs contribute to higher levels of triglycerides. According to a 2017 study, these include:
- oral estrogen
- retinoic acid derivatives
- beta-adrenergic blocking agents
- thiazide diuretics
- protease inhibitors
- bile acid sequestrants
- antipsychotic drugs
- cyclosporine and tacrolimus
- interferon alpha-2b
After first speaking to a healthcare professional, a person should not avoid taking a drug, as this can be risky. Professional medical advice should also be given to someone who has questions about the side effects of a drug that they are taking.
Have a health check
Diet and metabolism are among the most common causes of high levels of triglycerides. Several health conditions can boost the risk, as well as excess body weight and a high-fat , high-carb diet.
Other risk factors for high triglyceride levels include type 2 diabetes and kidney disorders, such as uremia, according to a report that appeared in the journal Nutrients.
In some cases , genetic factors may also make an individual more likely to develop high levels of triglycerides.
If tests indicate that the triglyceride levels of an individual are high or that they have a family history of high triglyceride levels, further investigations or surveillance may be recommended by a doctor.
Taking this action will help them figure out whether there is an underlying health concern or encourage them to advise an individual about how to keep their levels of triglycerides down.
During pregnancy, triglyceride levels can also increase.
Drugs to lower triglycerides
If other measures may not work, medications, such as statins, may be recommended by a doctor to minimize triglyceride levels.
For people who can’t handle statins, some physicians recommend fibrates, which are lipid-lowering medicines.
The results of some research have shown that it might be more beneficial to add niacin, fibrates, or fish oil to statin care.
More testing, however, is required to validate this advantage and to decide if these therapies are effective and the best way to use them.
Importance of levels of triglycerides
They have a higher risk of certain diseases and disorders if the triglyceride levels of an individual are too high.
High levels of triglycerides play a role in cardiovascular diseases , such as coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis, according to the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology report.
High levels of triglycerides can have this effect because they can cause plaque formation in the arteries. Plaque is a mixture of the substance that the body uses for clotting, cholesterol, triglyceride fats, calcium, cellular waste, and fibrin.
As it prevents the natural flow of blood in the arteries, plaque accumulation raises the risk of heart disease. The plaque can also break off to form a clot, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
For a safe heart, triglycerides and cholesterol levels are two of the most significant factors to control.
When triglyceride levels get too high, there is also a chance of damage to the pancreas.
Healthy triglyceride levels
According to the AHA:
- At-risk levels range from 150–199 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).
- High triglyceride levels range from 200–499 mg/dl.
- Very high levels begin at 500 mg/dl.
Triglyceride levels of up to 150 mg / dl are still considered by the AHA to be within the normal range, but for optimal health, they recommend keeping levels below 100 mg / dl.
Through watching what we eat and following a nutrient-rich diet, it is possible for people to decrease their triglyceride levels.
Eating plenty of fruits , vegetables, whole grains , legumes , nuts, and seeds, while reducing calories, will increase nutrient intake.
Sodium, refined grains, added sugars, and solid fats would also be low on a diet that is healthy for the heart and blood.
In order to make incremental improvements to their diet, people should consult closely with a doctor or dietician to ensure that any medications they are taking will not cause problems.