Not so much.
Yet, triglyceride levels are a marker of heart health too.
Here’s what you need to know, and better yet, what you need to eat to keep your triglycerides in check!
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood that are formed when you eat more food (calories) than your body uses. Triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals.
When you have a standard blood test, your doctor will usually request a lipid panel to measure cholesterol (both the good HDL and the not-so-good LDL), triglycerides, and total cholesterol to get an overall picture of your risk of heart health problems.
In the U.S., a triglyceride reading is interpreted as follows:
- Normal – Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
- Borderline High – 150 to 199 mg/dL
- High – 200 to 499 mg/dL
- Very High – 500 mg/dL or higher
High triglycerides can affect more than heart health. High levels are associated with prostate issues, difficulty maintaining an erection, nerve damage related to blood sugar issues, interruption of blood flow to the brain, to name a few.
More than one third of U.S. adults have high triglyceride levels.
Although levels can be driven up by medications or other health conditions, more often, triglyceride levels rise due to lifestyle choices like poor diet, being severely overweight, lack of exercise, and/or drinking too much alcohol.
If you get a high reading, and your doctor tells you to change your diet, the great news is that you can. It will, however, take a focused commitment to your health.
Changing Your Diet
To maintain healthy triglyceride levels, the American Heart Association makes these suggestions:
- Limit added sugars to no more than 10% of your daily carbs.
- Limit refined carbohydrates and incorporate more complex carbohydrates, comprising 50-60% of your daily food intake.
- Limit saturated fats (from animal products and tropical oils) and trans fats, and instead choose healthy fat options – such as omega-3-rich foods, plant oils like olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Fats should comprise about 25-35 percent of your diet.
Health experts also suggest getting about 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of fiber and also are foods that lower triglycerides.
7 Healthy Foods That Can Help Lower Your Triglycerides
To get you started, here are 7 nutrient-dense foods that promote not just healthy triglyceride levels, but healthy blood pressure and sugar levels…and healthy weight too!
Beans are a fantastic complex carbohydrate providing loads of fiber and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. Their low-sugar, high-fiber helps support healthy blood sugar levels. They add great texture and flavor to food and there’s a huge variety of them to keep your tastebuds happy.
Salmon is a fantastic source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is easy to find, and fish-eaters love it. Ensuring your diet has plenty of salmon’s omega-3s can help your body make less triglycerides in the liver.
One review of clinical trials found eating fish that provided more than 1 gram of omega-3s a day was associated with improved (lower) triglyceride levels. Other options that are rich in omega-3s include sardines and other fatty fish, as well as lean, grass-fed beef.
Broccoli and Crucifers
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are all foods that lower triglycerides. They’re loaded with fiber, other nutrients, and a sulfur-rich compound called sulfuraphane.
One animal study indicated that sulfuraphane may help reduce triglyceride levels. Another study involving individuals with blood sugar health issues showed a reduction of triglycerides after taking broccoli sprout powder supplements.
Many people love berries, and our bodies do too! Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are high in vitamin C and contain many vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that support overall health.
Fiber-rich and low in sugar, they’re the perfect treat for those who need to watch their triglycerides. Studies show a correlation with berry consumption and healthy triglyceride levels.
Spinach is considered a super food for good reason. It’s loaded with important nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, potassium, protein, a number of phytochemicals, and antioxidants – including alpha lipoic acid.
Research has found reduced triglyceride levels are associated with alpha-lipoic acid supplementation in patients with nerve damage related to blood sugar issues. Other veggies rich in alpha-lipoic acid include broccoli, yams, potatoes, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and beets.
Choose a fiber- and nutrient-rich complex carbohydrate like oats over simple carbs. Oats are satiating, easy to make, and delicious. Most health experts recommend increasing your fiber to help normalize triglyceride levels, and oats provide a great way to boost your fiber intake.
Avocado provides a double whammy of healthy fat and fiber, which are great for lowering triglycerides. The majority of an avocado’s fat is oleic acid, a monosaturated fat also found in olive oil, which may be responsible for some of its health benefits.
In one study, half the participants who ate an avocado-rich diet showed a 22 percent reduction in triglyceride levels. The fiber and fat help to support healthy blood sugar levels too, which is great for sustained energy.
These are just several great foods that lower triglycerides. There are many more.
Remember, working to reduce your triglyceride levels with the foods you consume may have the added benefit of transforming your health.
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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