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How to Lower Triglycerides with Life Changes

Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body. They are common types of fats (lipids) that are essential for good health when present in normal amounts.

Triglycerides, like cholesterol, are present in blood plasma and are derived from fats of consumed food and manufactured in the liver. You eat and calories of the food are used by the body for energy. Calories that are left (which are not used immediately by the tissues) are converted into triglycerides and stored in the fat cells. This energy body will need between the meals.

High triglycerides are harmful.

Cholesterol is transported through the blood by high-density lipoproteins (‘good’ cholesterol) or low-density lipoproteins (‘bad’ cholesterol). Triglycerides are transported by chylomicrons lipoproteins. Together with cholesterol, triglycerides form the blood lipids (fat). High triglycerides levels ( as well as high level of ‘bad’ cholesterol) may contribute to cardiovascular diseases by increasing the blood’s stickiness” (viscosity), and increase the risk factors for heart disease.

Very low triglycerides are not good either.

Though low levels of triglycerides are not associated with heart disease, they may indicate other diseases: malabsorption syndrome, malnutrition and thyroid gland malfunctioning.

Why should you have normal triglycerides levels?

Large amount of triglycerides in the blood stream is called hypertriglyceridemia. This condition is connected with cases of coronary artery disease.

According to the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines normal triglycerides are less than 150 mg/dL. It’s almost ok when you have up to 199 mg/dL. You triglycerides levels are high when you have 200 to 499 mg/dL, above that – the level is considered to be very high.

How to lower triglycerides with lifestyle changes?

The changes should be made in the following areas of life:

· Manner of eating

· Manner of moving

· Manner of living

FOOD

Food is the most important issue for the human health in general. What we eat influences our body, physical state, thus our psychological and spiritual state as well. Excessive intake of alcohol, saturated and trans fats, sugar, and starch can cause high triglycerides.

Some food and beverages contain nutrients that raise triglycerides levels. The less you consume of this type of food – the better. The smaller the portion (or amount) - the better. What are they?

· Alcohol: what is our man without a beer? Or how can I possibly imagine Friday dinner without a glass of wine (or two, or three, or whatever…)? How can I hold myself from my favorite Baileys? The answer is one – you can and you should if you want to lower your triglycerides.

· Saturated fats: your body needs fat to function properly. Fat is not only a powerful source of energy but it is a nutrient used in the production of cell membranes and  in several hormone-like compounds. These compounds help regulate blood pressure, blood vessel constriction, blood clotting,  heart rate, and the nervous system. Fat also helps maintain healthy hair and skin and provides a sense of fullness after meals. Most foods contain several different kinds of fats. Consumption of too much fat is not so healthy for your body, as it increases your triglycerides. Try to reduce the consumption of saturated fat (or do not eat the products containing them at all): these are butter and shortening, fats solid at room temperature (including animal fats), high-fat meats, lard, fried foods, cheese, cream cheese, whole milk, whole milk dairy products and fast foods.

The important fact: low-fat diet is NOT the solution to lowering high triglycerides (as many think). It can even lead to the opposite result (triglyceride levels will actually increase), and the development of a condition called insulin resistance.

· Trans (hydrogenated) fats: the same with trans fats, they are in the following products: margarine, fried foods, vegetable shortening, fast foods and most commercial snack foods (crackers, cakes, pies, etc.)

· Any sugar: honey, candy, molasses, jams, jellies, desserts (pies and cakes again, ice cream, sweetened gelatin and frozen yogurt).

· Starch: concentrated starchy foods also increase your triglycerides levels. These are potatoes, rice, pasta, pizza, popcorn, chips, pretzels, bagels, ready-to-eat cereals and others. They contain lots of carbohydrates, so take small portions of these products.

· Beverages: fruit juices, fruit drinks, fruit punches, sports drinks, regular sodas, smoothies, and sweetened coffee drinks.

· Sports and energy bars

Proper food habit will include the consumption of the following products:

· Fruits and vegetables! Eat at least 3 or more cups a day of fresh or frozen prepared vegetables and plenty of unsweetened fruits.

· Breads and cereals! Use whole grains and legumes (starchy beans), old-fashioned oatmeal, whole grain breads and unsweetened high-fiber cereals… Who said it is not tasty?

· Milk products!  Use fat-free or 1% milk, low-fat yogurts and cheeses.

· Protein! Choose lean meats, poultry without skin, cooked dried beans, lentils, eggs, peas, nuts and low-fat soy products. Eat fish at least twice a week (different types of it, even salmon, mackerel, blue fin tuna, sardines and anchovies).

· Fat! The healthy fats are monounsaturated ones (olive, avocados, different nuts and canola oils), polyunsaturated (vegetable oils: safflower, corn, sunflower, soy and cottonseed oils) and Omega-3 fatty acids (mostly in sea food: fatty, cold-water fish; and in flaxseeds, flax oil and walnuts).

· Sugar-free products! Diet sodas (forget about diet cola!), diet paddling (if you really-really want).

It is better to have your meals 3 to 6 times a day by small portions. Each meal should consist of at least 2 food groups. These steps to better eating habits will help you to lose your weight (that would also lower your triglycerides levels).

EXERCISES

1. Starting to have exercises regularly is the best you can do for your health, including for the high triglycerides issue. Maybe you think: what is the problem of starting doing the exercises? No prob. Yes, to start doing exercises is not usually the problem. But to continue exercising on everyday basis – there is a little problem with that. To avoid that try to do the following:

2. Convince yourself that without physical activity even low- triglycerides medicines won’t help and that it is very important for your health.

3. Assess your fitness level. You should know your ‘level of maximum’ in order to evaluate your progress adequately.  You need to know your body weight index, your pulse rate before and after a one-mile walk and how long it takes to walk some distance.

4. Create your own program according to your fitness goals, your likes and dislikes (exercises should give you satisfaction). Find time to exercise. Start cautiously and progress slowly. Change your program, avoid boredom.

5. Be wise; do not work out too long or too intensely. Save your strength, desire and enthusiasm.

6. Write the plan down.

7. Take care of yourself and provide yourself with proper equipment, clothes and shoes.

8. DO IT! Start slowly and build up gradually. Be creative and listen to yourself. The most important rule is that exercises should give you satisfaction, thus some amount of flexibility as for the time and duration of physical exercising may vary according to your state of health this or that day.

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LIFESTYLE

Lifestyle changes consist of the formation of good eating habits and everyday exercising (at least 30 minutes per day 3 to 5 days a week) and several other useful changes:

· Give up smoking. Cigarettes increase not only the level of triglycerides, but worsen the functioning of many systems of the body.

· Think about your health more than about money. Find time to have your meals (to avoid harmful snacks and substantial one or two meals per day).

· Find your inner peace and harmony. Satisfied person is a healthy person.

Valentyna Ant.

 


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