Having high triglyceride levels can increase your risk of heart disease. Limiting the amount of sugar, carbs, and trans fats you eat, along with regular exercise and other dietary changes, may help decrease your triglyceride levels.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. After you eat, your body converts the calories that you don’t need into triglycerides and stores them in your fat cells to be used for energy later.
While triglycerides are an important energy supply for your body, having too many triglycerides in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease.
Having obesity or unmanaged diabetes, regularly drinking alcohol, and following a high calorie diet can all contribute to high blood triglyceride levels.
You can lower your triglyceride levels through various dietary and lifestyle changes.
Whenever you eat more calories than your body needs, it turns those calories into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells.
Working toward a moderate body weight by consuming fewer excess calories can be an effective way to lower your blood triglyceride levels.
While the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 100–150 calories of added sugar per day, one study found that the average American eats
Added sugar is commonly found in sweets, soft drinks, and fruit juice.
Extra sugar in your diet may be turned into triglycerides, which can lead to an increase in blood triglyceride levels, along with other heart disease risk factors.
Even a slight change, such as replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water, could decrease triglycerides in some people.
Much like added sugar, extra calories from carbs in your diet are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
Across these studies, triglyceride levels decreased the most 6 months after starting a reduced calorie diet.
Dietary fiber is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s also found in many other plant sources, including nuts, seeds, cereals, and legumes.
Including more fiber in your diet can slow the absorption of fat and sugar in your small intestine, helping decrease your triglyceride levels.
Another small study in adolescents found that consuming a high fiber cereal alongside a breakfast high in fat reduced post-meal triglyceride
When paired with weight loss,
The American Heart Association
The benefits of exercise on triglycerides are most apparent in long-term exercise regimens.
All exercise helps reduce triglyceride levels. However,
Artificial trans fats are added to processed foods to increase their shelf life.
Trans fats are commonly found in commercially fried foods and baked goods made with partially hydrogenated oils. They can also be found in small amounts in some animal products.
In recent years, the addition of trans fats to food
Due to their inflammatory properties, trans fats
Fatty fish is well known for its benefits on heart health and ability to lower blood triglycerides.
This is mostly due to its content of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that is considered essential, meaning you need to get it through your diet.
Both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association
Salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, and mackerel are a few types of fish that are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Monounsaturated fats are found in foods like olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are present in vegetable oils and fatty fish, as well as nuts and seeds such as walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
It found that saturated fat intake was associated with increased blood triglycerides, while polyunsaturated fat intake was associated with lower triglyceride levels.
To maximize the triglyceride-lowering benefits of unsaturated fats, pick a heart-healthy fat like olive oil and use it to replace other types of fat in your diet, such as trans fats or highly processed vegetable oils.
Insulin resistance is another factor that can contribute to high blood triglycerides.
After you eat a meal, the cells in your pancreas send a signal to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is then responsible for transporting sugar to your cells to be used for energy.
If you have too much insulin in your blood, your body can become resistant to it, making it difficult for your body to use insulin effectively. This can lead to a buildup of both sugar and triglycerides in the blood.
Setting a regular eating pattern can help prevent insulin resistance and high triglycerides. For instance,
An American Heart Association
However, the evidence is mixed when it comes to meal frequency.
Regardless of how many meals you’re eating daily, eating regular meals can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood triglyceride levels.
Alcoholic beverages are often high in sugar, carbs, and calories. If these calories remain unused, they can be converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
Although a variety of factors come into play, some
That said, other research
Soy is rich in isoflavones, which are a type of plant compound with numerous health benefits. While widely known for its role in lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, soy protein
Soy protein can be found in foods like soybeans (edamame), tofu, tempeh, and soy milk.
Tree nuts provide a concentrated dose of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and unsaturated fats, all of which work together to lower blood triglycerides.
Tree nuts include:
- Brazil nuts
- macadamia nuts
However, keep in mind that nuts are high in calories. A single serving of almonds, or about 23 almonds,
Several natural supplements could have the potential to lower blood triglycerides. Always consult a doctor before starting any supplements, as they can interact with other medications.
Note especially that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements in the same way as it regulates pharmaceuticals, and supplement quality can vary widely.
Below are a few of the main supplements that have been studied:
- Fish oil: Well known for its potent effects on heart health, fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have
been shownto decrease triglycerides and several other risk factors for heart disease.
- Fenugreek: Though traditionally used to stimulate milk production, fenugreek seeds have also
been shownto be effective at reducing blood triglycerides.
- Vitamin D: Research has shown that vitamin D supplementation
can helpreduce overall triglyceride levels.
One reviewof seven studies found that supplementing with curcumin could cause a significant drop in triglyceride and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
Dietary and lifestyle factors can have a major influence on your triglyceride levels.
Eating healthy, unsaturated fats instead of trans fats, decreasing your intake of carbs and added sugars, and exercising regularly are a few strategies that can help lower your blood triglycerides.
With a few lifestyle modifications, you can decrease your triglycerides and improve your overall health at the same time.
There’s no need to completely change your diet and lifestyle overnight. Try experimenting with a few of the tips listed above and gradually incorporating other strategies into your routine to make more long lasting, sustainable changes that are easier to stick to.