Triglycerides are influenced by certain lifestyle factors therefore they can be lowered by making changes in lifestyle, such as diet, weight and exercise.

Keep triglyceride levels on an even-keel

Older Couple Taking Walk

Triglyceride levels are on the decline in this country, according to recent results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is good news because high triglyceride levels may increase risk for heart disease, strokes and fatty liver disease.

What are triglycerides?

They are a type of fat that circulates in the bloodstream, like cholesterol. Triglycerides are influenced by certain lifestyle factors therefore they can be lowered by making changes in lifestyle, such as diet, weight and exercise.

What should triglyceride levels be? 

These are the blood triglyceride guidelines from the American Heart Association:

  • Optimal: Less than100 mg/dl
  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dl
  • Non-fasting: Less than 200 mg/dl

If your triglyceride readings are high, here are tips to get them in good control:

  1. Eat well, with minimal sugar and refined carbohydrates. Include:
    • Healthy fats such as liquid oils, fatty fish like sardines and tuna, nuts and nut butters and avocado.
    • Five or more servings of fruits and vegetable daily, and the less processed the better. For example, a fresh apple is better than apple juice. 
    • Whole-grains at most meals in moderate servings, including whole oats and wheat, brown rice, barley and whole rye. Rolled oats or steel-cut oats is a smart choice rather than instant oatmeal with added sugar.
    • Lean protein such as fish, poultry without skin and red meats.  
  2. Lose weight if needed, especially in the belly.
  3. Enjoy a daily walk or other physical activity.
  4. Be modest with alcohol intake, if you drink. No more than two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women.
  5. If you have diabetes, keep it in good control, with the A1c less than 7.0.

Recipes that help lower high triglyceride levels: