6 Foods to Help Lower Your Triglyceride Levels
Previously published on Answers.com.
High triglycerides levels – defined as 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher – are a factor in heart disease risk. Though physical inactivity, smoking and genetics can all contribute to high triglycerides, this condition can also be triggered by diet. Dietary habits that can raise triglycerides include eating too much refined sugar, consuming a lot of high-carbohydrate foods, and drinking too much alcohol. The following is a list of six foods that may help lower your triglyceride levels.
Choose Whole Grains
Foods high in simple sugars raise triglycerides. White bread, white rice and other foods made with white or ‘enriched’ flour cause blood sugar to spike and it’s these increases in insulin that contribute to high triglycerides. So choose whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, brown or wild rice, and whole grain cereals rather than ‘enriched’ white versions of these foods.
Choose Low Sugar Foods
Sweets and foods high in sugar – like fruit juice – elevate triglyceride levels. Choosing foods low in sugar – and staying away from sweets – is one of the best ways to change your diet to help lower triglycerides.
Cook with Unsaturated Fats Like Olive Oil, Not Butter
Cook with oils high in monounsaturated fats – like olive, peanut and canola oil – rather than butter. To lower triglyceride levels, it’s important to avoid foods high in saturated fat like butter, so replace it with a plant-based oil when cooking.
Choose Heart-Healthy Omega-3 Fats Like Fish
Rather than red meat, choose proteins high in heart-healthy omega-3 fats like salmon, mackerel and other fish. On their ‘Triglyceride’ page the American Heart Association recommends, “Substitute fish high in omega-3 fatty acids instead of meats high in saturated fat like hamburger. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids.”
Choose Lean Meats
If you don’t love fish, at least replace high-fat meats (like red meat) with lean meats like skinless chicken, turkey, or even lean beef or lean pork. And prepare proteins by baking, roasting, grilling or sautéing in olive or canola oil rather than frying.
Drink Only In Moderation
If you are looking to lower triglycerides, you should eliminate or significantly reduce your alcohol intake. The reason: alcohol is high in sugar. According to the American Heart Association, “Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to large changes in plasma triglyceride levels.”
When looking to high triglycerides, it’s vital to avoid sugar. Obviously, staying away from high-sugared foods such as those found in sweets is important. But to really lower triglyceride levels with food, replacing the ‘hidden sugars’ found in alcohol and refined carbohydrates with healthier whole-grain foods, and eliminating or at least limiting alcohol is vital.
Exercise – in addition to avoiding sugary foods – is important when trying to lower triglycerides. The American Heart Association recommends that those with high triglycerides, “Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days each week.”