Johns Hopkins Health Alert
10 Steps to Lower Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of fat that gives you energy. Similar to cholesterol, triglycerides are produced by your liver but can also come from food. Knowing the level of triglycerides circulating in your blood is important because high triglycerides indicate that you may be at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Here’s advice to help reduce your triglyceride levels.
- Lose weight. If you're overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight will reduce your triglycerides by approximately 20 percent.
- Cut the sugar. Individuals whose added sugar intake is less than 10 percent of daily calories have the lowest triglyceride levels. The American Heart Association recommends that only 5 percent of your daily calories come from added sugars.
- Stock up on fiber. Instead of consuming sugar and other refined carbohydrates, focus on more fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Limit fructose. Studies have found that consuming too much fructose -- a type of sugar -- leads to high triglycerides. High-fructose corn syrup is a major source of fructose. You can determine whether a food contains sugar or high-fructose corn syrup by reading the ingredients list.
- Eat a moderately low-fat diet. You may be surprised to learn that diets that are very low in fat are not as effective at lowering triglycerides as diets moderately low in fat. The American Heart Association recommends that people with high triglycerides get about 25 to 35 percent of their daily calories from fat.
- Watch the type of fat you eat. Cut back on saturated fats, which are found in red meat, poultry fat, butter, cheese, milk, and coconut and palm oils, and keep trans fats, found in shortening and stick margarine, to a minimum.
- Add omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, lake trout and albacore tuna are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids -- a type of fat that is actually good for you. To reap the benefits, the American Heart Association recommends that you eat fatty fish at least twice a week.
- Exercise. If you have high triglycerides, getting at least 30 minutes of moderate- intensity physical activity most days of the week may lower your triglyceride levels.
- Limit alcohol. Some studies have linked even small amounts of alcohol to modest increases in triglycerides, although others have found no association at all.
- Take triglyceride-lowering drugs. If your triglycerides are very high (500 mg/ dL or above), your doctor might recommend a medication shown to lower triglycerides, such as fibrates, niacin, omega-3s (a prescription form called Lovaza is approved for lowering triglycerides) or statins.
Posted in Heart Health on January 27, 2012
Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Disclaimer
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