7 Ways You Can Lower Triglycerides
Indian cuisine is prominent in the world for its unique spices and flavours. The mouth-watery delicacies have made a special in our hearts and our lifestyles and thus, largely impact our health. Sedentary living habits have led to a significant rise in heart health problems. According to the global burden of disease, nearly 28.4% of deaths in India occur due to coronary heart disease. It is thus, important to note the factors that affect your heart health like cholesterol and triglycerides. This article focuses on one such element and ways to reduce triglycerides.
With insights from Dr Rajeev Gupta, an Internal Medicine specialist at the CK Birla Hospital, we will explore the definition, effects and measures to reduce triglycerides. Let’s begin by understanding what it is.
What is Triglycerides?
You are most likely aware of cholesterol, but what are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. It is the most common type of fat found in your body. It is derived from the food you eat, including butter and oils. Your body uses this component to make energy and thus it has a medical significance for your overall health.
The excess calories that you consume also get converted and stored in cells in the form of triglycerides.
A certain level of triglyceride is important for your health. However, if you constantly consume more calories than you burn, especially from foods rich in carbohydrates, you are likely to have high triglyceride levels.
High triglyceride levels can lead to and be a sign of health problems including metabolic syndrome. This condition is a combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess fat around the waist, low levels of good cholesterol and high triglycerides.
Hence, maintaining healthy levels of triglycerides are important. On average, triglyceride levels are as follows:
|Category||Triglyceride levels (mg/dL)|
|Normal||less than 150|
|Borderline high||150 – 199|
|High||200 – 499|
|Very high||500 or higher|
What Causes High Levels of Triglycerides?
Primarily, excessive consumption of calories, alcohol and sugar lead to high levels of triglycerides. Other factors include
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Kidney disease
- Birth control pills
How Is Triglyceride Different From Cholesterol?
While triglycerides and cholesterol are both fatty substances known as lipids, there is a significant difference in both. Triglycerides, primarily, are fats while cholesterol is odourless, waxy substances produced by the liver.
There is also an underlying difference in the functions of both substances. Triglycerides store unused and excess calories that are used by your body for energy formation. Cholesterol is responsible for building certain cells and hormones.
How to Reduce Triglycerides?
The answer to how to lower triglycerides lies in an active lifestyle and healthy eating patterns. It is important to know your triglyceride levels before taking measures to reduce them. Here are some steps you can take on how to reduce triglycerides:
1. Reduce Your Sugar Consumption
It is well understood that excess sugar can lead to more calories and high triglycerides. The foremost step that you must, hence, take is to cut down your sugar intake. Maintain healthy levels of sugar in your body. Try to avoid as much sugar consumption as possible by limiting your intake of added sugar.
Since you cannot and should not completely avoid sugar consumption, it is advised that you should make healthier choices by choosing natural sweeteners over artificial ones.
2. Avoid Refined and Processed Foods
You gain a large number of calories from foods that are rich in carbohydrates. However, the carbohydrates you get from refined and processed foods are unhealthy. It is because once consumed, they get easily converted into sugar and lead to a rise in triglyceride. Some common sources of processed foods include rice, pasta and white bread.
3. Increase Fibre Quantity in Your Diet
High-fibre foods are also rich in carbohydrates, however, they are more complex to break down and are gradually absorbed by the body. Dietary fibre also helps you feel full without having consumed excess calories. Therefore, it directly lowers your triglyceride levels.
Choose healthy fats
The main source of triglycerides is fats, themselves. Thereby, a reduction in the fat content that you consume can help you achieve good triglyceride levels. However, fat is also an essential component of your body. There are both healthy and unhealthy fats. In order to reduce triglycerides, you should aim to consume more healthy fats and decrease your intake of unhealthy, saturated fats. Healthy fats include omega-3 fatty acids that are found in oily fish, olive oil and other supplements.
4. Stay Wary of Trans Fats
Another category of unhealthy fats include trans fats which increase the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in your body. A variety of food products that you pick from the shelf are rich in trans fat and is labelled hydrogenated oil. This type of oil is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils in an effort to increase the shelf life of the product.
It is thus important that you read the labels of the products you buy and avoid the ones that contain trans fat.
5. Avoid Heavy Drinking
It is a well-known fact that alcohol has ill effects on your general health. It also, particularly, includes a certain type of carbohydrate that gets easily converted to triglycerides. Excess consumption of alcohol is directly related to high levels of triglycerides. On top of this, it negatively affects liver function by disrupting its ability to metabolise fat.
You should try to cut down on alcohol entirely. However, if you wish to, you should drink in moderation to maintain not just triglyceride levels but also your liver and general health.
6. Exercise Regularly
The key to maintaining healthy levels of triglycerides is to control your calorie consumption. The more calories you burn, the healthier you will remain. You can achieve your caloric recommendation and maintain healthy body weight by engaging in physical activity each day. Exercising regularly helps in the metabolisation of sugar in your body and reduces high triglyceride levels.
You should aim to exercise every day or most days of the week for at least 30-40 minutes.
7. Eat a Healthy Diet
You should focus on consuming a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet filled with foods to lower triglycerides. Common food items that can be beneficial include green leafy vegetables, beans, citrus fruits, berries, low-fat dairy products and high-fibre whole grains including quinoa, barley and brown rice.
Here are some other steps you can take to reduce triglycerides naturally with food:
- Replace high-sugar beverages like cola, fruit drinks and iced tea with sugar-free drinks
- Choose sugar-free gums and herbal sweeteners
- Read the labels at the back of shelved and packed food products
- Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice
- Avoid ingredients that are bleached in the first steps
- Eat whole-grain foods and a low-carb diet
- Consult your dietician for a personalised diet chart
Besides the above-given measures, you can seek medicinal intervention to help control or reduce triglyceride levels in your body.
The Concluding Note
Like other parameters, triglyceride is a determinant of good health.
If you are experiencing high triglyceride levels, dietary changes can bring remarkable improvements in bringing down your numbers and boosting your general health. The measures listed in this article can help reduce triglycerides. These expert recommendations are practical and can be applied to your everyday life without additional effort.
Learn more about triglycerides and receive clinical support from top experts. Consult Dr Rajeev Gupta to know your individual level and ways to maintain them.
Q. How can I lower my triglycerides quickly?
You can lower your triglycerides by eating a low-carb, high-fibre diet, exercising regularly, reducing sugar levels and avoiding fat content.
Q. What is the best drink to lower triglycerides?
Low or sugar-free beverages and herbal teas are the best drinks to lower triglycerides.
Q. Can lemon juice reduce triglycerides?
Yes, citrus foods such as lemon can help reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
Q. Can Apple cider vinegar reduce triglycerides?
Yes, studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can help lower triglycerides.
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