Triglycerides are dietary fats and are quite like cholesterol. Your body will store triglycerides by attaching fats to sugar molecules. It means you will always have some triglycerides in your body, and they are actually important to provide your body with the energy it needs to handle certain functions. So you may start to see certain issues when the triglyceride levels go beyond normal, such as heart disease or other complications as well. It is therefore important to understand what the normal levels of triglycerides are and how to lower triglycerides in a healthy manner.
What Are Normal and High Triglyceride Levels?
Before we talk about how to lower triglycerides, it is important to know what high levels of triglycerides are, so you can know if you need to lower them.
The National Cholesterol Education Program has set the following guideline for triglyceride levels:
- You’ve got normal levels of triglyceride if your blood contains less than 150 milligram per deciliter (mg/dL) or 3.20 dram per gallon (dr/gal) for all American readers.
- You’ve got borderline high levels of triglyceride if you have between 150 (3.20) and 199mg/dL (4.25dr/gal).
- High triglycerides is between 200mg/dL(4.27dr/gal) and 499mg/dL(10.7dr/gal)
- And you’ve got very high triglycerides if they are above 500mg/dL (10.7 dr/gal).
Additionally, The American heart Association (AHA) recommends that people keep their triglyceride levels at 100mg/dL (2.14dr/gal) or lower to ensure the best health outcomes.
Research suggests that high levels of triglyceride increase the risk of heart disease for people with type 2 diabetes and people with low levels of good cholesterol or high levels of “bad” cholesterol. However, experts disagree on the effect extent of high triglycerides to increased heart risk without other factors being present.
How to Lower Triglycerides
Now that we’ve discussed what high levels of triglycerides are, we will talk deeply about how to lower triglycerides. Here is a list of things you can do to lower your triglycerides effectively.
1. Adjust Your Diet
You can go on a diet to lower triglycerides. Triglyceride levels have a close relationship with your dietary intake. It is very important to avoid certain types of foods if you’re trying to get rid of high triglycerides. Here are some dietary suggestions to lower triglycerides:
- Cut sugar. Besides other bad aspects for human beings,sugar also raises triglycerides. People who consume less than 10% of their daily calories though sugar have the lowest triglycerides levels. To reduce the amount of sugar you ingest, you can reduce the amount of soda you drink and candy you eat. However, nowadays the food industry also puts sugar in lots of other products, such as yoghurt and even fries; be cautious about it.
- Limit alcohol. For people with certain sensitivity issues, even low doses of alcohol can lead to an increase in triglyceride levels. One might think that wine and beer would have different impacts, but it turns out that isn’t the case and all kinds of alcoholic beverages seem to be about equal in terms of their impact on triglyceride levels.
- Limit refined carbohydrates. Foods such as white rice, bread and pasta that are made from semolina can increase your triglyceride levels. However, it’s a bad idea to cut carbohydrates all together. Getting to little carbohydrates might also lead to a higher risk of heart disease. So, focus on eating foods with some amount of whole grain in them, such as brown rice and 7-grain bread.
- Watch certain fats. One of the answers to how to lower triglycerides is to cut back on trans-fat and saturated fat. You can do this by cutting back on red meat, cheese, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and margarine. You can try to replace the saturated fat with unsaturated fat by starting using olive oil and soybean oil. However, unsaturated fats may have a bit more calories, so you still need to be careful with them to prevent weight gain.
- Add more omega-3 fatty acids. You might have already heard that omega-3 is good for you. One of the reasons it’s good for you is that foods with high omega-3 are foods that contain lower triglycerides. If your triglycerides are high, you might need to start eating more fatty fish, which is abundant in omega-3, and nuts, most of which also contain omega-3.
- Choose high fiber foods. Foods with high fiber content will help with high levels of triglycerides and "bad" cholesterol.Additionally, research suggests that dietary fiber might suppress your appetite, which would help you lose weight.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
You probably already know that maintaining a healthy weight is good for your heart. One of the reasons behind this is that, if you´re overweight and weigh around 200 lb. or 90.7 kilogram (kg), losing 10 to 20 pounds or 4.5 to 9.1 kg will reduce your triglycerides by about 20%. To know what a healthy weight is for you, you can calculate your BMI, which is your weight (in kilograms) over your height squared. A healthy BMI lies between 18.5 and 25.
3. Do Exercises Regularly
Doing regular exercises will not only help you lose weight, which we already told you is good for your triglycerides, it will also burn off some of the excess triglycerides in your body.
4. Try Some Drugs
If you have very high triglycerides (500mg/dL or more), you might consider taking some medication to lower triglycerides. However, reducing triglycerides solely through medication has never been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease.