Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. They are a major source of energy and the most common type of fat in your body.
If you eat more calories than you burn on a regular basis, you may have high triglycerides. When your doctor does a Lipids-Profile test, the lab will return a value for your triglycerides. If it is less than 150 mg/dL it is desirable, 150-199 mg/dL is borderline high, 200-499 mg/dL is high 500 mg/dL and above should be lowered by medication to prevent further complications.
In order to lower your triglyceride level, you need to eat less fat, especially saturated fat. Saturated fat is found in butter and other animal fats, as well as palm and coconut oil.
Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Buy lean meat and low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat cheese, yogurt, skim milk, and margarine instead of butter.
Reduce saturated fat to less than 10% of your daily calories, with your total fat intake being less than 30%.
Reduce fried foods to only a few servings per week. (Some alternatives to frying foods are grilling, broiling, steaming, and baking.)
Watch out for the trans fats which are found in many products (Salad dressings, baked desserts, creamy soups, and chocolate).
Determine what a ‘healthy’ daily calorie count is for you. And start by eating as many calories as you burn. If you are eating too much, it is only common sense to cut back – consume fewer calories.
After you have control of the amount of food that you eat, then almost any low-fat diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean cuts of meat or fish will help you bring down your triglyceride level.
Trim extra fat off of meat before you cook. Don’t eat chicken skin.
Eat fresh vegetables not ones that have been processed and are unrecognizable. Avoid fatty sauces and salad dressings. Salad dressings should be made of vinegar and oil for example: balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Know what you are eating. Become ‘label savvy’. Read the labels on the food products you buy. Pay particular attention to ‘high-fructose corn syrup’ and ‘hydrogenated fats’ – these two should be limited or eliminated from the diet.
Try to avoid frying foods. If you do fry use canola or olive oil. Grill or broil meat or fish whenever you can this will remove a lot of the fat.
Eat salads full of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lettuce and other vegetables. Add nuts (heart-friendly in small quantities to avoid any weight gain) to the salad.
Eat fruits for snacks or substitute a handful of nuts for one snack meal a day.
Avoid fatty fast foods. They come loaded with fats, trans fats, and sugars which will not help you to lower your triglycerides.
Avoid alcohol. It is high in calories and sugar. Even small amounts of alcohol can promote high triglyceride levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have been shown to lower triglyceride levels, so eat one or more (fresh) fish meals a week.
Begin an exercise program. Walk, jog, or ride a bike at least 30 minutes a day for five or more days a week. But check with your doctor first before you begin exercising.
Corresponding to the suggestions listed above, one day of a diet follows:
Breakfast: Bowl of whole-grain cereal or oatmeal with low fat milk and a glass of orange juice. Fresh fruit can be added to the cereal.
Mid morning snack: Apple or pear or handful of assorted nuts.
Lunch: 4 ounces of tuna fish (small amount of mayonnaise – one teaspoon mixed in) on whole-wheat, stone-crushed bread and water. Or low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit pieces or berries added.
Mid afternoon snack: Same as mid morning
Dinner: Four-ounce piece of meat or fresh fish grilled or broiled and two, fist-size servings of fresh vegetables and a garden salad (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and lettuce, etc.) with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing.
Snack in the evening – there are many fruits to choose from either canned or single pieces.
Note: this is a ‘bare bones’ example of a daily diet. Sauces can be put together from fresh fruits and berries which will make the meals more appetizing.
In Summary: If you have high triglycerides, determine your healthy-daily calorie count. If you are eating too much, to reduce triglycerides begin by eating smaller meals. Reduce your saturated fat intake. Substitute polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats for saturated fats, i.e. choose margarine instead of butter and olive or canola oil instead of a hard shortening. Substitute a handful of assorted nuts in place of a sticky bun, or donut for a snack. Eat fresh fruit snacks several times a day.