Triglycerides are a form of fat present in our blood. What happens is, after a meal, calories that are not used are converted into triglycerides and get stored in the fat cells, so they can be used later when needed.
Triglycerides are important for giving energy to our body; however, excessive level of triglycerides in the blood is harmful, as it increases the risk of heart disease.(1)
Lower Your Triglycerides Easily With The Help Of These 12 Simple Methods
Cut Down On Your Triglycerides by Cutting Down On Sugar Intake
All of us consume diet that has added sugar in some form or the other. American Heart Association says that it is important to partake only 6 to 9 teaspoons of added sugar in a day and not more; however, studies have shown that an average American consumes around 19 teaspoons of sugar on a daily basis.(2) This extra sugar gets converted into triglycerides and results in increased triglyceride levels in blood, which in turn also increases the risk for heart disease.
A study has shown that people consuming a minimum of 25% of their calories from sugar were at double the risk for dying from heart disease when compared to people who consumed less sugar.(3)
Another study has also shown that increased consumption of added sugar leads to increase in triglyceride levels in children. The good news is that following a low sugar and low carb diet helps in reduction of the triglycerides levels.(4,5)
A Low-Carb Diet for Low Triglycerides Levels
Just like sugar, excess of carbohydrates in the diet are also transformed into triglycerides and are stored in fat cells. This is why following a low carb diet helps in decreasing the blood triglyceride levels.
According to a study, participants who were given a low-carb diet had more reduction in their blood triglyceride levels when compared to participants given higher-carb diets.(6)
Another study done in 2003 showed that people following low-carb diet had more decrease in the blood triglycerides when compared to people following low-fat diets.(7) So, following a low carb diet is a proven and simple method of lowering your triglycerides.
One more study done over a one-year period to look at the effects of high-carb and low-carb diets revealed that low-carb participants not only lost more weight, but also had increased reductions in the blood levels of triglycerides.
Weight Loss Helps In Lowering Triglycerides Levels
Excess body weight contributes to increased triglycerides levels. As mentioned before, the excess calories, which we consume and are not utilized get stored in the fat cells in the form of triglycerides. This is why following a healthy diet and losing the extra weight helps in lowering your triglyceride levels.
According to research, even loss of 5 to 10% of the body weight is beneficial in lowering the level of triglycerides in the blood.(8)
Studies have also shown that weight loss, which even if you have regained some of it back, has a long term effect on blood triglyceride levels.(9) So, losing weight is one of the simplest methods to lower your triglycerides.
Consume Fiber Rich Diet
There are many easily available sources of fiber, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, cereals and nuts. When you eat more fiber, it helps in reduction of sugar and fat absorption in the small intestine, which in turn helps in lowering the blood triglycerides level.(10)
One study compared the results of high and low-fiber diets. This study revealed that consuming a low-fiber diet resulted in about 45% increase in the triglycerides in a few days; whereas a high-fiber diet lead to decreasing in the triglycerides to below the baseline levels.
A research has shown that intake of rice bran fiber was beneficial in decreasing the blood triglycerides by about 6 to 8% in diabetics.(11)
Stay Away From Trans Fats
Trans-fats are added to processed foods in order to increase their shelf life. These fats are also present in commercially baked goods and fried foods. Trans-fats have inflammatory properties due to which they are considered a health hazard and are a risk factor for various health issues, including increasing your blood triglyceride levels.(12,13)
A study has shown that individuals following high to moderate trans-fats diet had significantly higher triglyceride levels when compared to people consuming a diet rich in unsaturated oleic acid, which is a mono-saturated fatty acid.
One more study where people consumed a diet high in trans-fats for three weeks showed substantial increase in the blood triglyceride levels when compared to people consuming a diet rich in unsaturated fats.
Regular Exercise is a Must
Blood triglycerides have an inverse relationship with HDL, which is the “good” cholesterol. So, increased levels of HDL cholesterol help a lot in lowering blood triglycerides levels. Aerobic exercise helps in increasing the HDL cholesterol levels, which in turn helps in decreasing the blood triglycerides.(14) Exercise along with weight loss, increases the effectiveness of decreasing triglycerides. Some of the exercises which can be done regularly include: brisk walking, bicycling, jogging and swimming.
One more study shows that higher intensity exercise for lesser duration is more effective than moderate intensity exercise for longer periods of time.(15,16)
Long-term exercise regimens have greater benefits on triglycerides levels. A study has shown that jogging for only two hours in a week for about four months resulted in quite a lot of reduction in blood triglycerides.
Fatty Fish Twice a Week Lower Your Triglycerides
Fatty fish is full of healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and is immensely beneficial for heart and in lowering triglycerides in the blood. Omega-3 fatty acid is a form of polyunsaturated fatty acid and is an essential fat that needs to be consumed on a regular basis for good health. American Heart Association Guidelines recommend consumption of fatty fish at least twice in a week, which helps in cutting mortality risk by about 36%from heart disease.(17)
A study has shown consumption of salmon weekly twice helps greatly in reducing the blood triglycerides.(18)
Some of the fatty fishes that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include herring, salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel.
Follow Regular Meal Pattern
One of the causes of high blood triglycerides is insulin resistance.(19) After a meal, the insulin gets released into the bloodstream by pancreatic cells. This insulin then transports the glucose to the cells so that it can be used for energy. Presence of excessive insulin in the blood makes the body resistant to it, resulting in ineffective utilization of the insulin leading to accumulation of not only glucose, but also triglycerides in the blood.
Research also shows that irregular eating habits causes reduced insulin sensitivity, along with increasing the risk for heart diseases by increasing the risk factors such as total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
The good news is, following a consistent eating pattern prevents insulin resistance and also lowers triglycerides levels.
A study done in 2013 showed that following regular eating patterns, such as thrice in a day, substantially reduced triglycerides when compared to eating five to six meals in a day.(20)
Although still concrete evidence is needed with regards to meal habits and triglyceride levels.
Soy Protein Helps In Lowering Your Triglycerides
Isoflavones is a form of plant compound having multiple health benefits and soy is full of isoflavones and helps in decreasing LDL cholesterol.(22) Soy protein especially has shown to lower the triglyceride levels in the blood.
A study from 2004 compared the effects of animal and soy proteins on the triglycerides level. After a period of six weeks, it was found that soy protein lowered the triglyceride levels by about 12% more when compared to animal protein.(23)
Another study showed that soy protein was helpful in about 7% of decline in the blood levels of triglycerides.(24)
Some of the foods rich in Soy protein consist of tofu, soybeans, soy milk and Edamame. So, it is a better idea to replace animal protein with soy protein to avail its numerous benefits including the reduction in blood triglycerides.
Lower Your Triglycerides by Cutting Down On Alcohol
Alcohol contains lots of sugar and calories and if these calories are not utilized then they get stored in fat cells and are converted into triglycerides.
Studies have shown that even moderate alcohol can cause blood triglycerides to increase by about 53%, even if the levels of triglycerides are normal.(25)
Tree Nuts Help in Lowering Your Triglycerides
Tree nuts contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and unsaturated fats; the combination of which helps in lowering blood triglycerides.
Studies have shown that with daily serving of tree nuts helped in reducing triglycerides by about 2.2 mg/dL.(26)
Some of the tree nuts include: pecans, almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios.
Studies have also shown that the maximum health benefits from tree nuts came when it was consumed in three to seven servings in a week.(27,28)
One important thing to note is that tree nuts are high in calories; so moderation is the key when it comes to consuming tree nuts; especially when trying to lower your triglycerides.
Natural Supplements are also effective in lowering Your Triglycerides
There are many natural supplements, which can potentially lower your triglycerides. Some of the primary supplements which have been studied with regards to lowering triglycerides are:
Fenugreek: Fenugreek is often used for stimulating the production of milk in lactating mothers. Another benefit of fenugreek is effectively lowering your triglycerides.(29)
Fish Oil: Fish oil is famous for its beneficial effects for heart health. A study has shown that fish oil supplements help in lowering triglycerides.(30)
Guggul: Guggul is an herbal supplement, which has lot of potential when it comes to decreasing triglyceride levels in conjunction with nutrition therapy in people having high levels of cholesterol.(31)
Curcumin: A study from 2012 showed that curcumin in low doses significantly reduces the level of blood triglycerides.(32)
Garlic Extract: There are many animal studies, which have revealed the benefits of garlic extract due to its anti-inflammatory properties in lowering the triglyceride levels.(33)
To conclude, lowering your triglycerides with the help of simple methods is very much possible by focusing of lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise. This will not only help in reducing the triglycerides level, but also benefits your general health.
Consumption of a diet comprising of unsaturated fats, low carbohydrates and regular exercise helps in lowering the levels of blood triglycerides quite easily. With a few simple lifestyle modifications, you can decrease your triglycerides and improve your overall health at the same time.