Triglycerides in many ways, are the bad part of the cholesterol. There is so much emphasis on cholesterol levels that discussions on triglyceride levels almost takes a back seat. If you want to single out, just one element that has the biggest impact on hardening of the arteries, then it is triglycerides.
Heart diseases are one of the biggest causes of deaths around the world. Therefore, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides (bad cholesterol) becomes a priority, particularly if you are a health conscious person and want to lead a long and healthy life.
Let us first understand how triglycerides are formed and then focus on how to reduce them. Triglycerides are a form of fat in the foods as well as in the body. They are derived from the fats and carbohydrates from the diet. Triglycerides are also present in the blood plasma.
The immediately underutilized energy (calories) ingested in the food converts to triglycerides and is stored in the fat cells. Body’s energy needs between meals is met by these stored triglycerides who’s release is regulated by hormones.
Life style, underlying medical conditions and certain medications are the main causes of high triglycerides in the blood. Incidentally these are the same causes of high cholesterol also.
Obesity is one the biggest cause. Other conditions such as untreated diabetes, under-active thyroid(hypothyroidism) and kidney diseases are also responsible for high triglycerides.
Lifestyle issues like eating more calories than you burn on a regular basis, eating of access simple carbohydrates like refined sugar and drinking a lot of alcohol.
Certain medicines including steroids, Tamoxifen, Beta- blockers, Estrogen, birth control pills and Diuretics etc. are responsible for raised triglycerides levels.
In some cases, high triglycerides can be hereditary.
First you rule out any underlying medical condition listed above. If any one of them exist then treat them. It will lower your triglycerides. But, if you are healthy otherwise without any underlying conditions then you can reduce your triglyceride levels with in a week by taking the following steps.
7 Steps to Reduce Triglycerides
Step 1. Learn to follow a healthy lifestyle
This may sound like a cliche, but not leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the biggest causes of most of the problems and premature deaths. Triglyceride levels can very quickly be brought back to normal by simply following a healthy lifestyle. Eating on time, sleeping well and doing 45 minutes of exercise. Sound easy, but difficult to follow.
Step 2. Reduce Weight
If you are an overweight person, then losing weight will help you to reduce your triglycerides. This requires commitment and regular exercise. Do it.
Step 3. Cut back on Your Food Intake.
Since extra calories are converted to triglycerides and stored as fat, cutting back on food intake will reduce triglycerides. It makes a perfect sense to take a low calorie dinner, because you don't have much avenues to burn the calories. In fact it this one change of eating a carb free and fat free dinner 3 hours before going to the bed, and eat nothing at all after that, will bring your triglyceride levels to normal within a week.
Even if your levels were around 300-500 levels they will get back to normal by controlling your dinner.
Step 4. Reduce Refined carbohydrates
Avoid excess consumption of Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour to naturally lower triglyceride levels.
Step 5. Reduce Fat Consumption
Control Your cholesterol. As the combination of high cholesterol and high triglycerides exponentially increases coronary artery diseases, it becomes evident that you must control both cholesterol and triglycerides. This can be done by eating healthier monounsaturated fat found in plants, such as olive, peanut and canola oils. Substitute fish for red meat. Eliminate trans fats found in fried foods.
Other logical dietary control is the consumption of essential fats but avoidance of trans fats and hydrogenated fats in your diet to lower triglycerides. A complete abeyance from fat can be dangerous. Certain fats are essential for healthy body growth.
Step 6. Say no to Alcohol
This may be tough for many people. But, if you are one of those who have a tendency to pick up high triglycerides, then you must stop Alcohol You may have to say absolute no. Even very small amounts of alcohol can raise triglyceride levels in some people. Reduce you alcohol intake or completely give it up.
Step 7. Go for Brisk Walk or Other Exercise
A 40 minute of walk is not only helpful to lower high triglycerides naturally, but is also a very good exercise to reduce cholesterol, diabetes high blood pressure and other lifestyle related conditions.
When healthy lifestyle changes don’t help to control high triglycerides, doctor may prescribe medications such as Niacin, Fibrates or Statins or even a combination of statins with Niacin or Fibrates. In addition the doctor may recommend Omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Even if you are on medication, you still have to make the above suggested lifestyle changes for best results to lower triglycerides.
Some nutrients are very effective in lowering triglycerides as well as cholesterol. In the Triglycerides Diets, one of the most significant is Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin C combination supported by low carbohydrate diet. In a Harvard study in 1966(P.K.Reissel’s Group) it was found that the above combination can dramatically reduce triglyceride levels.
The following guidelines of The National Cholesterol Education Program for triglycerides are based on fasting plasma triglyceride levels. :
Normal Less than 150 mg/dL
Borderline-high 150 to 199 mg/dL
High 200 to 499 mg/dL
Very high 500 mg/dL or higher
How is an Excess of Triglycerides Harmful?
High triglycerides are linked to the occurrence of coronary artery disease. At times raised triglycerides levels may indicate presence of other disease, such as untreated diabetes and hypothyrodism.
Both Triglycerides and cholesterol are types of lipids that circulate in the blood. Both can't dissolve in blood, therefore they circulate throughout your body with the help of proteins that transport the lipids (lipoproteins).
As we know that Triglycerides store unused calories to provide for body’s energy needs, and cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones. Excess of both triglycerides and cholesterol is bad for health as they tend to choke the arteries by sticking to the walls as plaque. High triglycerides usually don't cause any symptoms. That is why it remains undetected for many years until a blood test is done.
Be watchful and control your triglycerides and cholesterol to lead a healthy and long life.