What you can do to LOWER your TRIGLYCERIDES?
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Triglycerides are an important part of the cholesterol
profile that is measured by your doctor. Our bodies store dietary fats as
triglycerides by attaching fats to a sugar molecule. Triglycerides are used
daily by our bodies in many important ways, so triglycerides are normally found
circulating in the blood with other fatty molecules such as cholesterol.
However, when levels of triglyceride in the blood become too high, this can be a
risk for heart disease.
A normal triglyceride level is defined as less than 150 mg/dl
Triglycerides have a close relationship with HDL (the "good") cholesterol,
and many of the factors that lower HDL also raise triglycerides. It is not
uncommon to see elevated triglycerides (greater than 150) and low HDL (less than
40 for men, or less than 45 for women) occur together. The combination of
elevated triglycerides and low HDL may increase the risk of coronary heart
disease. High triglycerides are also often associated with diabetes, or may be
an indicator of sensitivity to simple carbohydrates and alcohol.
The Top Ten Ways to Decrease Elevated Triglycerides
It doesn't take long to lower triglycerides by eating the right foods. We
can often see changes in triglycerides in just a few days. However, it takes
longer to change lifestyles!
Decrease or eliminate sweets.
- The sugar in sweets will quickly raise triglycerides in many people.
Examples: soda, candy, cookies, pies, pastries, sweet desserts, and concentrated
Decrease or eliminate alcohol.
- Drinking alcohol is a strong contributor to high triglyceride levels. For
people who are sensitive, even a small amount of alcohol can elevate
triglycerides. The type of alcohol doesn’t seem to matter; beer, wine, or mixed
drinks all have the same effect.
Decrease refined carbohydrate-containing foods.
- White rice and bread and pasta made from white flour or semolina can have an
impact on triglycerides in sensitive individuals. However, diets which greatly
restrict or eliminate high carbohydrate foods such as breads, pasta, cereal, and
grains are very unhealthy and can actually contribute to heart disease.
Instead, choose moderate amounts of whole grains with a higher fiber content
such as 7-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and other grains such as
quinoa, barley, oats, and millet.
Choose foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, the "good" fats!
- The American Heart Association recommends eating 2 servings of fatty fish
(salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, trout) weekly. Other sources of omega-3 fats
include: ground flax seed, flaxseed oil, soy products, legumes, walnuts, and
dark leafy green vegetables. Include these foods daily! NOTE: These foods are
low in saturated fat and contain mono- or polyunsaturated fats. Omega-3 fatty
acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. These foods also contain fiber and a
number of other nutrients beneficial to the heart.
Maintain a healthy weight.
- Ask your physician or dietitian what a healthy weight would be for you. You
may be surprised to discover that only a modest weight loss can greatly reduce
your triglycerides, cholesterol, and your risk for heart disease. Ask for a
referral to a dietitian to help you lose weight healthfully. A healthy diet does
not have to involve food deprivation and hunger, and should not involve the
exclusion of any one group of foods over any other (such as high protein, high
fat, low carbohydrate diets).
Adopt an eating plan low in saturated fats and fried foods.
- Use olive oil, canola oil, rice bran, walnut oil, and flaxseed oil instead
of more saturated fats like butter, shortening, lard, or margarine. Avoid high
fat meats, skin on poultry, sauces and spreads. Many restaurants serve foods
high in the bad fats, and you may benefit from providing specific instructions
to your server (For example, ask for dressings on the side, avoid bread
coatings on fish, ask for low-fat preparation of all foods).
Avoid trans fatty acids and hidden fats.
- Avoid trans fats by avoiding any food with hydrogenated vegetable oil listed
in the ingredient list. Avoid high fat foods such as regular fat meats,
lunchmeats, hot dogs, and fatty snack foods. Be careful not to substitute foods
high in sugar for these high fat foods.
Choose high fiber foods.
- Foods high in fiber will help to control your triglycerides and LDL ("bad")
cholesterol. Examples include: beans, whole grains, ground flaxseed, pumpkin
seeds, rice bran, oat bran, fruits and vegetables. Be sure to drink more water
when you begin to increase your fiber intake. It is also wise to increase
dietary fiber slowly to prevent any intestinal discomfort.
Eat more plant foods! Replace red meat with lower fat sources of protein.
Vegetable proteins such as dried beans, peas, and soy products are excellent
ways to improve your health, and will have a direct effect upon lowering your
cholesterol. White poultry, prepared without the skin, is also a lowfat source
- Exercise will increase HDL cholesterol and burn off excess triglycerides.
Exercise has many other benefits, including weight loss and control of blood
sugar for people with diabetes.
Hearty Vegetarian Chili
|3 tbs. olive oil||1 pkg vegetarian meat alternative crumbles (such as MorningStar Farms, in the freezer section)|
|2-3 large zucchinis or summer squash|
|2 medium onions, diced|| 1 cup low sodium, low sugar tomato sauce (such as Healthy Choice)|
|2 sweet red peppers, cubed|
|2 large carrots, grated|| 1 tsp. sugar|
|4 garlic cloves, minced||2 tbs. chili powder|
|1 can kidney beans||1 tsp oregano|
|1 (28 oz.) can low sodium diced Italian tomatoes, drained||1/2
tsp. cayenne pepper|
| || 3 cups cooked brown rice|
- In large saucepan sauté squash and onions in olive oil until tender.
Add peppers, carrots, and garlic and continue to sauté 5 minutes.
- Add chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, vegetable crumbles, tomato sauce, sugar,
and spices. Simmer until cooked thoroughly, about 20 30 minutes, stirring
- Serve over cooked brown rice.
Makes approximately 6 (1 cup) servings
Most of the fat in this recipe is in the form of the "good" fats
(monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). This recipe has an excellent fiber
To further reduce fat and calories use less olive oil.
Calories 390, Total Fat 10 g, Saturated fat 1 g, Total fiber 18 g, Sodium 200