Medically Reviewed by Vincenta Faulkner, RD, CNSC, CCTD
If you are seeking a healthier heart, you probably monitor your cholesterol levels regularly through a monthly routine lipid panel. Cholesterol levels are not the only thing your lipid panel checks; your panel results will also indicate your triglyceride levels.
Elevated triglyceride levels are often associated with elevated LDL cholesterol levels, and both factors threaten your overall heart health because they increase your risk for heart disease. Fortunately, there are simple changes you can make to your diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle habits to help lower your triglyceride levels at home.
Let Zizi walk you through six of our favorite tips to help target and lower your high triglyceride levels from the comfort of your own home.
What Are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a type of fat that your body naturally produces and uses as an energy source. Your liver makes triglycerides and releases them to circulate in your bloodstream. When your body needs energy, it extracts its immediate energy needs from your triglycerides and stores the remaining triglycerides in your fat cells for later energy use.
You also acquire triglycerides externally from the foods that you eat. When you consume food, your body breaks it down into triglycerides to extract energy for immediate needs and stores the rest in fat cells for later use.
Though your body naturally makes triglycerides, you also source them from the foods you eat, meaning it is relatively easy to see your triglyceride levels elevate. Just as high cholesterol levels in your bloodstream put you at an increased risk for heart disease, too many triglycerides in your bloodstream likewise put you at a higher risk for heart disease.
What Constitutes High Triglyceride Levels?
In general, if you are an adult and your levels are equal to or over 200 mg/dL, your triglycerides are too high, and you are at a greater risk of developing heart disease. Your levels can also be borderline high, whose range constitutes any levels between 151 - 199 mg / dL.
Alternatively, if you have triglyceride levels that fall below 150 mg/dL, then you likely have a healthy level of triglycerides circulating in your bloodstream, and you are on the right track towards maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Our at-home test kits make it easy to check your triglyceride levels monthly – all you have to do is mail in your finger-prick blood test sample. You’ll get your results soon after indicating your triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL on your phone screen.
What Causes High Levels?
Several different factors cause high triglyceride levels. Sometimes, high levels are, unfortunately, hard to avoid. This is particularly true if you have a genetic predisposition to high lipid levels in general.
However, if you are not genetically predisposed to elevated levels, your lifestyle choices likely contribute to your levels. In general, high-calorie diets rich in unhealthy saturated fats, carbs, and processed foods will raise your levels.
You are also more prone to high levels if you are overweight and not physically active. Any time you consume more calories than you need or burn in a day, your body stores the extra calories as triglycerides in your fat cell tissues.
Excess alcohol consumption, diets high in sugar and carbohydrates, high-stress environments, and lack of sleep are all factors that can raise your triglycerides to unhealthy levels.
How Can I Lower My Levels Naturally?
Let’s look at six of Zizi’s favorite tips on lowering triglycerides.
1. Eat a Triglcyeride-Friendly Diet
The type of food you eat can greatly influence the levels of triglycerides in your bloodstream. There are so many different foods that affect your levels, but generally, a healthy diet that’s rich in fiber, unsaturated fat, and low in sugar is a great triglyceride-lowering plan.
Here are our best tips for how to eat a triglyceride-friendly diet.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
Sugars can raise your triglycerides to unhealthy levels, even simple sugars found in fruits. Luckily fruits have other nutritional values whose benefits outweigh their costs when it comes to your triglyceride levels.
That’s why when it comes to sugar, we recommend opting for grapefruit or for fresh berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. These fruits are lower in sugar content and high in fiber, a nutrient with triglyceride-lowering capabilities.
Try to limit your sugar intake to fruits or other low-sugar food options. Avoid foods with a lot of added sugar, such as soda, baked goods, candy, ice cream, or flavored cereals and yogurts. Watch out for added sugar ‘in disguise’ on labels as well! Ingredients such as corn syrup or any word ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, maltose, or sucrose, to name a few) are all words that indicate there is added sugar.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber is a great nutrient that can naturally lower your blood triglyceride levels alongside your bad LDL cholesterol levels and total overall cholesterol levels. Try opting for whole-grain flour instead of refined white flour next time you’re at the store.
Add some oats, beans, legumes, and fresh berries to your shopping list. These foods are all fiber-rich to help boost your heart health. Not only will all these foods help lower your triglyceride levels, but their high fiber content also means that they can help keep you fuller for longer to prevent weight gain.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Healthy fats comprise monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These types of fats can lower your total cholesterol levels and raise your good HDL cholesterol levels. This means they have the potential to lower your triglyceride levels because HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels tend to relate to each other inversely. Foods that raise your HDL levels often lower your triglyceride levels.
Avocados, green leafy veggies, beans, walnuts, flaxseeds, canola or olive oils, and lean meat lacking fatty skin are all food options that are rich in healthy fat to help lower your triglyceride levels. Conversely, processed and fried foods such as red meat, full-fat dairy products, and baked goods are high in unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fat) known to elevate triglyceride levels.
Instead of Low Fat, Try Low Carbohydrate
Remember, not all fat is bad–as long as your diet is rich in healthy fat foods that are either mono or polyunsaturated fats, then you are on the right track towards a heart-healthy lifestyle. Instead of a low-fat diet, try cutting back on your carbohydrates.
Extra calories from carbohydrates are often the leading cause of excess triglycerides that your body stores in fat cells. Several studies indicate that a low carbohydrate diet is much more effective than a low-fat diet when it comes to lowering triglyceride levels.
2. Try Triglyceride-Lowering Supplements
Supplements are a nice natural addition to your triglyceride-friendly diet. Below are just a few of Zizi’s favorite triglyceride-lowering supplements to help lower your levels.
Omega-3 is a particular type of fatty acid that can be very effective in lowering your triglyceride levels. This fatty acid helps block your liver from producing levels, which greatly contributes to lower levels in your bloodstream. Your doctor might prescribe two different types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
You can get supplements that either include EPA or an EPA-DHA combination. These options usually come as a prescription drug from your doctor and may effectively reduce very high triglyceride levels. If your levels are not as high, you can instead consider over-the-counter fish oil supplements as an alternative omega-3 source to help lower your triglyceride levels.
Alongside these natural supplements, incorporate more non-fried fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, or sardines, into your diet to target high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.
Studies suggest that the fenugreek seed may help reduce your triglyceride levels.
While vitamin D does not affect your HDL levels, it may help reduce your triglyceride levels as well as your LDL and total cholesterol levels.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, comes in prescription drug form as nicotinic acid. Your doctor might prescribe niacin to treat cholesterol levels, but it can also indirectly target triglyceride levels. This drug affects HDL cholesterol levels, which typically can affect triglyceride levels.
Fibrates are another supplement to help directly reduce triglyceride levels by blocking your liver from producing triglycerides. Fibrates can also increase your HDL cholesterol levels and reduce your LDL levels while targeting your triglyceride levels.
3. Lose Weight
Excess weight can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels, particularly if you carry extra body fat around your waist. Your body stores excess triglycerides in your fat cells, so the more weight you carry likely means the higher your triglyceride levels will be. Losing even just a few pounds can significantly impact your triglyceride levels, not to mention your overall health and wellbeing.
4. Exercise More Often
Staying physically active could help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and can help improve your overall emotional and physical wellbeing. Try to engage in regular workouts that involve around 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
Exercise can be fun. It doesn’t all have to be intense cardio to be effective. Try speed walking, gardening, dancing, or swimming.
5. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is high in calories and high in sugar content, so you should try to limit your consumption. Try to have fewer drinks a month; you might even consider only having a drink or two on special occasions. Excess drinking is one of several leading causes of high triglyceride levels.
6. Prioritize Wellness
Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated throughout the day, and limit your exposure to stress. Try stretching, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. Stay connected with family and friends and maintain a sustainable support network.
Also, keep a healthy mental attitude to help improve your physical health. All of these strategies will help ensure that you can be your best self and also help to keep your lipid levels (which includes your triglyceride levels) within normal limits.
Get Your Triglycerides Under Control With Zizi
Zizi combines ongoing testing, natural supplements, and a nutrition and exercise guide to help you lower your triglyceride levels as well as your cholesterol levels. The leading causes of high triglyceride levels are an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, excess alcohol consumption, genetic predisposition, and obesity.
Zizi recommends eating a triglyceride-friendly diet, exercising more often, drinking less alcohol, losing weight or maintaining a healthy existing weight, and prioritizing wellness to foster a stress-free environment.
As you implement these strategies, our at-home test kits help you track your progress monthly for quick and easy feedback on how your triglyceride levels react to your diet and lifestyle changes.
Learn more about lowering your cholesterol in 30 days with Zizi’s Heart Health Reset program here, or your money back.
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