A few weeks ago, I reported on cholesterol levels and improving your HDL. Here is another important piece of the puzzle for reducing heart disease.
High triglycerides are associated with hardening or thickening of the arterial walls-atherosclerosis. This can elevate your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Elevated triglycerides can also be contributing evidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, or poorly managed Type 2 diabetes, all of which increase the risk of heart disease.
Normal triglyceride levels are less than 150mg/dL; 150-199 mg/dL is borderline high; 200-499 mg/dL is high and over 500 mg/dL is very high.
Good nutrition and exercise are the first line of therapy to lower triglycerides. Here are some lifestyle recommendations:
- Lose weight: Your body releases triglycerides into the bloodstream from your stored fat. The less fat you have available, the lower your triglycerides will be. Losing just 10% of your body weight can have a great impact on your cholesterol levels.
- Control your calorie intake: Follow a whole food nutritional approach and watch your portion sizes.
- Avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates: These will be more likely to be stored as fat and converted to triglycerides.
- Choose fiber rich, fruits and vegetables and whole grains: Fiber will keep you fuller longer, keep your blood sugar at a steady level, and act like a broom to sweep out the bad cholesterol.
- Stay away from trans fats: Trans fats have been shown to increase LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (good cholesterol). This bad recipe puts people at a higher risk for heart disease. Read food labels carefully! Foods high in trans fats are packaged goods like crackers, cookies and cakes. Stay away from fried foods and those that use shortenings and margarines.
- Exercise daily: The American Heart Association recommends 30 min/day. Exercising will lower your triglycerides and increase your HDL (good cholesterol).
Triglyceride levels are only one piece of the puzzle, but focusing your efforts on the recommendations listed above will provide manybenefits. Moving toward healthy lifestyles will help you to ”Feel Better and Live Longer!”.
Jody Anderson, RN, CHC
Succeed Health- Algoma