If your doctor finds high levels of triglycerides in your blood, he'll probably suggest a diet to lower triglycerides.
Triglycerides are a type of fat which can be found in your blood and as stored body fat. When your doctor lets you know that your blood work has come back with reports of high triglycerides it means you have too much fat in your system which increases your risk for heart disease. Your diet directly affects the level of triglycerides in your blood.
Triglycerides and High Cholesterol
In some cases, individuals experiencing high blood triglycerides also show high blood cholesterol levels. When this is the case, heart disease risks are usually higher than if a person only has high triglycerides because high blood cholesterol is a leading risk factor for heart disease.
Diet to Lower Triglycerides
Weight affects blood triglyceride levels. People who are 20 percent above their ideal weight might be able to lower their blood triglycerides just by losing weight. One way to do this is to eat fewer calories from fat and to make exercise a regular part of your routine. A low fat diet eaten to lower triglycerides should consist of 30 percent total calories from fat and less than 10 percent of those calories should come from saturated fat.
The amount of fat you should actually consume will be based on how many calories your doctor tells you to eat on a daily basis. When changing to a low fat diet you will reap benefits like:
- Losing weight
- Lowered blood cholesterol
- Lowered blood triglyceride levels
Exercise and Triglycerides
Adding exercise to your routine not only helps to lose weight but also lowers triglyceride levels for some people.
Foods to Avoid
These foods have been shown to increase triglycerides and should be avoided in a diet to lower triglycerides:
- Cheeses made from whole milk
- Coconut oil
- Coffee whiteners and nondairy creamers made with these oils
- Cream cheese
- Fat from meats
- Fried foods
- High-fat meats including luncheon meats, sausages, knockwurst, bratwurst, hot dogs, ribs, corned beef, ground pork, and regular ground beef
- Margarines and baked goods made from these oils
- Palm oil
- Palm kernel oil
- Sour cream
- Simple carbohydrates - Simple carbohydrates include sugary foods.
- Skin and fat from poultry
- Vegetable shortenings
- Whole milk
You'll notice simple carbohydrates on the above list. This includes sugar and high-sugar foods. Sugar enters the bloodstream rapidly, and when you ingest more sugar than your body can use, the liver may use it to produce more triglycerides. The American Association for Clinical Chemistry reports, "Diets high in carbohydrates, especially sugar, lead to increases in triglycerides."
Foods to Include in Your Diet
As you eliminate high fat foods to lose weight and lower your triglycerides, learning to incorporate lower-fat foods can keep you satisfied. Foods lower in fat include:
- Cheese made with skim or part-skim milk, such as mozzarella, parmesan, farmers', Ricotta, or pot cheese
- Dried beans, peas, and lentils
- Egg whites
- Lean cuts of meat, such as round, sirloin, rump, and flank
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Low-fat yogurt
- Poultry without the skin
- Skim and nonfat dry milk
- Whole grain breads, cereals and pasta
Eat Moderate Amounts of Unsaturated Fats
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- Peanut butter
- Peanut oil
- Pine nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- Sunflower seeds
Losing Weight to Lower Triglycerides
When your doctor learns you have high triglycerides in your blood, he will prescribe a diet or refer you to a dietitian to help you learn how much and what to eat. The bottom line is you'll need to lose weight by eating less and exercising more. If you haven't had success with dieting or counting calories in the past, you may want to find a weight-control group to help you stay on your diet and reach your goal of better health.