See your triglycerides drop with low triglyceride diets.
Low triglyceride diets are becoming more popular as a topic of health discussion. High triglycerides, like other chronic heart problems such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, can be treated with prescription drugs. This, of course, is between you and your doctor. But, in most cases, lifestyle changes, including low triglyceride diets, can be very effective for the lowering of triglycerides. It is normally the case that high triglycerides coexist with high LDLs and low HDLs. This is perhaps indicative that the same conditions lead to all three. Fortunately many dietary precautions that positively affect total serum cholesterol and blood pressure have an even greater positive effect on triglyceride levels.
The first dietary concern to be mentioned here, however, is an exception to the above statement. Alcohol, especially in the form of wine can be helpful in the reduction of LDL cholesterol. Such is not the case with triglycerides. Alcohol of any type tends to exacerbate rather than diminish the problem. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to large changes. Heavy drinking will not only raise triglycerides but can also damage the liver further increasing the problem.
If you are overweight it is important to lose weight now. Decreasing caloric intake from all sources can help to reduce triglycerides. Since triglycerides are basically fat used for sustaining energy, consuming more calories than is needed tends to increase unneeded reserves. This in turn increases triglyceride blood levels which is the problem we are trying to avoid. Whether or not you are overweight low triglyceride diets can help. The following dietary guidelines will be helpful in the reduction of triglycerides as well as promoting overall heart health.
Avoid saturated fats. These include the obvious foods such as red meats, butter and shortening, fried foods, and the ever-popular dishes from fast food restaurants. Other high fat foods that could contribute to triglyceride level increases include dairy products such as whole milk and cheeses.
Almost as bad are the trans fats. These are fats, potentially healthy ones, which have undergone the hydrogenation process. Many polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats do not have the shelf life ability necessary for commercially processed foods. To make them last longer they are infused with hydrogen, producing an altered product containing trans-fatty acids, or trans fats. These possess the same heart damaging properties as their saturated kinfolks and can influence rises in triglycerides. They have no place in low triglyceride diets. Stick with the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated varieties.
Carbohydrates are necessary for survival and energy release. But excess carbohydrates can greatly increase serum triglyceride levels. Simple carbohydrates like processed sugars are the most notorious. So much of what we eat is sweetened with low quality, highly processed sweeteners. We are a people who love our sweets and are very reticent to part with them. But they affect much more than the waistline. Pies, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, sodas, juices, even sweetened sports energy bars and drinks can cause us to gain weight and see a rise in triglycerides levels.
Other carbohydrates can cause trouble as well. Foods such as pasta, rice, bagels, pizza, chips, pretzels, potatoes and even ready-made cereals can add to the problem. Starch in general can negatively affect triglyceride levels. But many of these foods contain double trouble. Not only is the carbohydrate content of these foods a potential problem but many are high in saturated and trans fats escalating heart and cardiovascular disease.
If you are attempting to make positive adjustments to triglycerides begin by cutting out alcohol and sugars. Then reduce the amount of other non-sugary carbohydrates, especially those containing high levels of fat from processing. Further reduce saturated fats found in processed foods and red meat.
But what is left in low triglyceride diets? Plenty. With the exception of wine and perhaps the necessity to reduce even some complex carbohydrate consumption, a heart healthy diet will also work to lower triglycerides, unless of course the problem is a result of some other chronic disease such as diabetes. You can review the Heart Healthy Diet section. But here are a few tips.
How about those veggies? These are a must in low triglyceride diets. Your mother was right all along. They may not be very exciting to many of us but they are full of fiber and vitamins and are lacking in the fats and sugars that create havoc with triglycerides. A complete nutritional program will include more than just vegetables. But it is difficult to find fault with them. The bottom line is they are good for us.
Fruit is also high in fiber. Fiber, though not containing nutritional value, helps food pass through the body
more quickly. Not only does this aid in the prevention of constipation but can also help reduce the risk of
cancer. It has further been shown to lower LDLs and triglycerides. Fruit drinks and some canned fruits have
added sugar and could actually raise triglyceride levels. Whole fruits, though containing natural sugars, do
not contain any of the simple, processed sugars that we should avoid.
Grains are tricky. Whole grains are very important to a heart healthy diet. Many are high in Omega-3 fatty acids that work to reduce LDLs and triglycerides and raise HDLs. A good overall statement is whole grains are good for the heart. Highly processed grains do not count as grains. Many of them are lacking the germ and the bran as well as other parts essential for health. Processing can also reduce the nutritional value of the final product to such a degree that the body requires more stored nutrition to digest it than can be derived once digestion is compete.
Some nutritionists argue that grains should not be included in low triglyceride diets. This is because of the high glycemic index of grains. The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. It compares foods for carbohydrate content. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic indexes. The blood glucose response is fast and high. Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, have low glycemic indexes. It becomes even more complicated when we consider the fact that foods respond differently when consumed by different people.
It is clear, however, that whole grains have a lower glycemic index than processed grains because they do not produce a rapid rise in blood sugar after eating them. This is important to the diabetic. But it should also be important to someone trying to lower triglyceride levels. If your triglycerides are very high you might want to consult a dietician about grains. But you should certainly trade in those highly processed grains in many foods for the whole, unprocessed variety.
We must have protein. Obviously protein sources high in saturated fat should be reduced or eliminated.
Eating lean cuts of meat or poultry with the skin removed is better. Dried beans, lentils, peas and nuts are
good healthy sources of protein. Fish is always a winner and should be consumed at least three to four
times per week. Interestingly fatty fish is the best except for the possibility of high mercury levels. Salmon,
mackerel, blue fin tuna, trout, herring, sardines and anchovies have high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids as
do some seeds like flax seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) not only reduce bad cholesterol and
increase good cholesterol they also help lower triglycerides. The American Heart Association recommends
that patients who need to lower triglycerides should supplement 2 to 4 grams of EPA+DHA per day.