Triglycerides are a kind of fat in the blood. Coming off the tail of a study that found triglycerides to be more dangerous — but less talked about — than cholesterol is a new piece of health news about how you could lower them. The new health tips center around diet and lifestyle changes. An official statement made by the American Heart Association says that you could significantly reduce high triglycerides by making some healthy changes.
Changes such as choosing unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats, seeking regular exercise, and shedding excess pounds could lower triglycerides by between 20% and 50%, they found. This is important, as that translates to a much healthier cardiovascular system. Triglycerides, as it turns out, are more responsive to lifestyle changes than high cholesterol levels. The keys are food cures and exercise cures.
The researchers looked at more than 500 studies over the past 30 years to arrive at these recommendations. Here is how you could use your diet to lower triglycerides:
— Women should aim to get no more than 100 calories a day from “added sugar,” and men no more than 150 calories a day
— Aim to get less than 50 to 100 grams a day of fructose
— Aim for a saturated fat intake that is less than seven percent of your total calories
— For trans fats, make it less than one percent
— Curb your alcohol intake
Many packaged foods don’t list added sugars, so it’s hard to know their levels. Eating healthy nutritious foods is, therefore, optimal. Also, experts recommend drinking no more than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages per week. If you have high triglycerides, focus on eating more vegetables, fruits lower in fructose such as cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, peaches, bananas, high fiber whole-grains, and “healthier” unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, found primarily in fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines, lake trout, and albacore tuna.
People should aim to incorporate at least moderately intense exercise (such as brisk walking) for a total of at least 150 minutes per week. This can lead to an extra 20% to 30% reduction in triglycerides. If you combine all the health advice on food and exercise, it could reduce triglycerides by more than 50%.
Triglycerides are an important barometer of metabolic health. In the U.S., 31% of adults have elevated triglyceride levels. It’s especially concerning that triglyceride levels continue to rise in young adults (20-49), mirroring the increased rates of obesity and diabetes identified at earlier ages.