Triglycerides and the health dangers
What are triglycerides? They are a specific type of fat in your bloodstream. They are used as energy by your body. Triglycerides and diabetes do not go together. Some are good for your health but high levels could increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
They may also indicate a metabolic syndrome which is defined as a combination of low HDL, excess fat around the mid section, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. This can indicate an above normal risk for diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. You want to know which foods lower triglycerides. You also want to avoid the foods that increase the levels too.
- Normal level: Less than 150mg/dl
- Borderline level: 150-199mg/dl
- High level: Above 200 mg/dl
- Very high level: Above 500 mg/dl
Abnormal levels of triglycerides are related to thyroid disease, diabetes, kidney disease, alcohol consumption, being pregnant, genetics, and being overweight. It’s important to know what your triglyceride numbers are. Have your physician run the lab work on you. (lipid panel)
Higher levels of triglycerides contribute to a buildup of plaque in your arteries. This can lead to real trouble if left undetected. As these deposits of plaque continue, they narrow the blood vessel wall and then there’s the possibility of a clot forming when the plaque breaks away from the wall. This can lead to a stroke or heart attack and can in turn raise the chance of damage to your pancreas which can affect the production of insulin.
Foods to avoid when your triglycerides are too high
- Simple carbohydrates can raise your triglycerides like a rocket ship. Anything with white flour and refined carbs are the culprits that increase your blood sugar and trigger your production of insulin and the end result is higher levels.
- Meat that is high in fat are most likely to contain higher levels of cholesterol and in turn are a huge factor in increasing triglyceride levels. You want to avoid shellfish, red meat, lard, and butter.
- Reducing the calories is another way to decrease your triglycerides. Decrease your calories buy 500 a day and you will lose one pound a day. Couple this with exercise and your results will be even better. Keeping the weight down keeps the triglycerides down as well.
- Processed foods are simply not good for you at all. If you want to keep those triglycerides down, then avoid crackers,chips, fries, cookies, donuts, deli lunch meats, pies, doughnuts, and hot dogs.
Foods that help lower your triglycerides
Ok, so you want to keep your levels below 150mg/dl. Now what you eat is the key factor here in calculating the triglyceride numbers. High fat and high calorie foods are the enemy here. I know it’s not fair that all the best tasting foods are the ones that aren’t good for you, but that’s life I guess,right? You don’t want triglycerides from calories turning into excess fat.
Trans fats and saturated fats come from processed and prepackaged foods, baked food products, animal products and fast foods (which we all know aren’t good for us). By getting your calories from poly-unsaturated and mono unsaturated fats, it is much healthier for you. These are found in canola oil and olive oils. The fruits and vegetables are the good guys here because they will satisfy your hunger and help you avoid the bad boys.
- Salmon. Fish is always good for you and I will admit that I am not a fish eater although I do eat salmon and tuna. But these cold water fish that are good for you such as cod, tuna, and salmon, have the omega 3 fatty acids that are very healthy for you and they can decrease your triglycerides substantially. Salmon is at the top of the list. (luckily for me, it’s one that I eat)
- Flaxseed. Flaxseed is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and offer more than 100% of your daily requirement with two tablespoons alone. Flaxseed is about one of the best ways to lower triglycerides.
- Whole grains. Fiber and complex carbohydrates are what you’re in need of and these are found in cereals, bread, brown rice, and pasta. They are fairly low in cholesterol, total fat, and saturated fat.
- Egg whites. They are good for you as they contain no cholesterol, but be careful of the yolks because they contain over 200mg of cholesterol.
- Beans. You want to lower your triglycerides by slowing down your digestion. This will allow your body to better absorb more nutrients from the food. Beans can accomplish exactly that. They are at the top of the list for protein and fiber. Eat your beans!
- Grapes. If you want to raise your levels, then candy, cakes, and any other foods loaded with sugar will do that for sure. But for a sweet taste and a natural food that will lower your levels, then grapes are the choice. My favorite is red grapes because they contain resveratrol which is an antioxidant that lowers triglycerides too. Blueberries
- Peas and legumes. These are rich in fiber and a good source of protein.
- Olive oil. It helps preserve HDL good cholesterol levels and decrease LDL bad cholesterol levels. Olive oil is a much better alternative for saturated fats because it has low triglycerides. Caloric intake is on the high side so be careful not to have more than two tablespoons daily.
- Spinach. This is without a doubt my favorite vegetable thanks to Popeye the sailor man! Triglycerides can be lowered by as much as 60% due to the content of alpha-lipoic acid. Other vegetables and fruits that also contain this and aid in lowering triglycerides are: Brussel sprouts and broccoli and for the fruits: lemons, tomatoes, limes, grapefruit, and oranges.
- Soy protein. Soy protein compared to animal protein if consumed at the rate of twenty five grams for every one thousand calories can lower levels by 10% or more than animal protein.
- Nuts. Through many studies by health experts it’s been noted that triglycerides can be decreased by approximately 10% for those who ate an average of 67 grams of nuts daily. Nuts are excellent in reducing the levels.
Natural ways to decrease high triglycerides
- Alcohol. Alcohol is something you need to avoid. If you have diabetes, alcohol should only be consumed in moderate amounts. But if you don’t want any more trouble with your diabetes and you certainly want to avoid heart disease because of high triglyceride levels, then alcohol must be off limits entirely.
- Fructose. This particular sugar can definitely add to your levels. High fructose corn syrup is just plain not good. Reading labels on all foods should be a given.
- Exercising. How big is this? You’re always reading and hearing about exercising and diet. Well why not? It’s just as important to as it is to watch what your diet is. I go to the gym every other day and my favorite exercise is riding my bike. It’s a fun exercise and very beneficial for health. Listen, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder or anything. Just walk. Get outside and walk. Do it. It will help lower your triglycerides out you’ll feel better too. Getting thirty minutes a day three to five times a week is a start. Take action!
- Lose weight. It’s always at the top of the list when it come to health and lowering your levels is no different. You don’t have deprive yourself of all foods but eat rationally and get the weight down. Losing weight can be the hardest thing for anyone to do but if you can control your mind and have a plan, it will make it easier. The less body fat you have, the less fat is released into the blood and less triglycerides and this leads to weight loss.
- Mediterranean diet. This is one diet that is aimed at lowering triglycerides. You may want to try it if your plan isn’t working.
- Quit smoking. I’ve mentioned it before but there isn’t one health benefit for smoking. It’s a terrible addicting habit and one that’s very expensive and I’m not only talking money wise. The real cost is good health. No price tag on that.
Medications. I don’t like drugs and always prefer the natural way but I wanted to mention drugs that are prescribed for lowering triglycerides because it’s VERY important to keep them low. Statin medication, niacin, fibrates, and Fenofibrate. If these help in the beginning and your doctor prescribes them, then fine. But that doesn’t mean to eat the wrong foods and not exercise. Once you see results in your numbers decreasing then discuss with the doctor and they will decide if and when you can stop taking any medication.
Apple cider vinegar. To me this is the superman of products for health benefits. Apple cider vinegar reduces triglycerides and for diabetics helps to lower blood sugar. There are so many health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Your health is important and it should always come first. If you don’t take care of everything, then taking care of just one, seems to be not as positive and productive as addressing all your health issues. Triglycerides are the enemy and you must fight back so they don’t win in the battle against heart disease.
My goal here was to help you understand what triglycerides can do and why they are harmful. I always believe that natural methods are better than medications. Having too much weight can cause both high triglyceride levels and high blood sugar. To lose weight and help to control diabetes, I suggest this! If you have any comments please leave them below because I would love to get back to you and discuss them. I appreciate your time and thank you!