Are there foods that can lower my triglycerides?

Question: What type of diet can I follow too reduce my triglycerides? It is my understanding that triglycerides are a combination of fats and sugars.

Answer: Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I'd love to share with you a simple list the American Heart Association put together regarding what food to eat, what foods to limit and some quick cooking tips for improving blood lipids, including triglycerides (TG). Factors that affect other blood lipids, such as cholesterol, also affect TG. In addition, simple carbohydrate foods such as sweets, desserts, and sweet mixed drinks, also tend to elevate TG. This is because fat is stored in the body in the form of triglycerides. If you have extra weight in the form of stored fat in the body, this may also be a factor in elevation of TG. Weight reduction or management may be in order. Even 10-15% loss of total body weight can have a tremendous benefit on blood lipids, blood pressure, and other parameters of assessing health and wellness.

If you need specific help based on your lifestyle and personal preferences, you might want to consider seeing a Registered Dietitian in your area for specific recommendations in meal planning.

Fiber rich foods

What should I eat?
  • Enjoy foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, including:
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • High-fiber foods
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products
  • Omega-3 containing fish like salmon, trout and haddock
  • Lean red meats and poultry without skin
  • Beans and peas
  • Nuts and seeds in limited amounts
  • Unsaturated vegetable oils like canola, olive, safflower and sunflower oils in limited amounts

What should I limit? 
Foods to limit when lowering triglycerides

  • Whole milk, cream and ice cream 
  • Butter, egg yolks and cheese, and foods made with them
  • Organ meats like liver, sweetbreads, kidney and brain
  • Bakery goods made with egg yolks and saturated fats
  • Saturated oils like coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil
  • Foods with trans fats like fried foods, baked goods, stick margarines and shortenings
  • High-fat processed meats like sausage, bologna, salami and hot dogs
  • Fatty red meats that aren't trimmed
  • Duck and goose meat
  • Solid fats like shortening, soft margarine and lard
  • Fried foods
  • Foods high in sugar
  • Excessive alcohol

 What are some cooking tips for me?
  • Use a rack to drain off fat when you broil, roast or bake.
  • Don't baste with drippings; use wine, fruit juice or marinade.
  • Broil instead of pan-frying.
  • Cut all the fat you can see off of any meat you cook, and take all the skin off chicken and turkey.
  • Use a vegetable oil spray to brown or sauté foods.
  • Serve smaller portions of dishes that have some fat, and serve bigger portions of no-fat dishes like pasta, rice, beans and vegetables.
  • Make recipes or egg dishes with egg whites, not yolks.
  • Instead of regular cheese, use low-fat cottage cheese, part fat-free milk mozzarella, and other low-fat and nonfat cheeses.
  • Use low-fat cookbooks and recipes.

One of the most beneficial practices is getting regular aerobic exercise daily if possible, anywhere from 30-60 minutes per day. One recent study suggested that adults with lowest risk of chronic diseases get at least 3.5 hours of exercise per week. Even 10-15 minutes of exercise at a time can prove to be beneficial to promote health and wellness. It doesn't have to be done in long stretches of time necessarily.

Do you have a question for the Registered Dietitians?


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