Lower Triglycerides with Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Triglycerides. The ugly cholesterol. The one to which your doctor could potentially say, “Let’s try conservative therapy… Diet and Lifestyle changes should do the trick!”
Doctors sometimes will recommend conservative therapy without really going into detail on these diet and lifestyle changes, but can sometimes almost cause a full-blown anxiety attack explaining the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease when looking at your recent cholesterol levels, particularly your triglycerides.
Let’s take a closer look at this, one bite at a time.
What are Triglycerides?
First, let’s do an overview of triglycerides. Understanding them is an important part. Yes, triglycerides are a fat found in your blood. But here’s the insane part; you need them. If you have been diagnosed with high triglycerides you obviously don’t need as many as you have, but your body uses these little cholesterols for fuel. Energy.
If you take in more calories than you need, especially the wrong kind of calories, your body likes to store these extra fats you are providing as triglycerides. This is an evolutionary hangover, in case you won’t have access to food for a while.
Probably not a big risk today, but basically, your body doesn’t know what to do with the extra calories/fat that you have consumed beyond your immediate energy requirements.
How to Keep Triglycerides at Healthy Levels
Now let’s talk about how to lower triglycerides using simple diet and lifestyle changes. Diet is critical. Not a binge diet to lose weight. Ultimately, weight loss will almost certainly happen, and these are long-term goals.
Think of your diet as fuel. Provide your body with proper fuel and your body will run smoothly. Give your body diluted fuel on a constant basis and your body probably isn’t going to run like a well-oiled machine. Now, don’t get discouraged before you even look at this list of food. Make some minor substitutions in how you are fueling your body and you’ll be amazed at the difference!
• Pass on the starchy veggies like corn, potatoes and peas. Leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower are way better options.
• Black beans are a great alternative to baked beans and pork and beans which are loaded in sugar.
• Sugary drinks should be limited to one a day or eliminated altogether. One soda a day isn’t going to make or break the bank, but no more. This includes capps and frapps! Big No-No! Drink black coffee and plain tea. Use a sweetener if you have to, but stay away from sugar.
• Limit butter and eliminate margarine. Instead, use olive oil. You could even use flaxseed or walnut. Spray oils are also an option.
• Avoid processed meats – lunch meat, hot dogs, and anything with pig parts unless it’s fresh cut meat in the butcher section of your grocery store.
• Starchy carbs (bread, pasta, rice) are allowed when in a proper serving size ONLY.
Basically, it’s all about staying away from sugar, processed foods, saturated fats and trans fats, and adding in some unsaturated fats. Fatty fish, olive oil, nuts and avocados are great examples of unsaturated fat sources.
Now let’s take a quick look at some lifestyle changes to help lower those triglycerides.
• Diet: We just went over that above. And believe it or not, if you’ve made changes in the way you eat, you’ve already made a lifestyle change. Congratulations!
• Alcohol: You knew it was coming. Talk to your doctor about what is allowed. Alcohol laced with sugar is a definite no-go.
• Smoking. Heart and lung health. This is a no-brainer. Become a non-smoker. You’ve got to be able to breathe if you’re going to get more active. You don’t need convincing about the health and finance benefits of quitting – you just need to make the choice.
• Get more active! See. This is why you shouldn’t smoke. The goal here is 30 minutes of cardio at least 4-5 times a week. Take a walk, swim, jog, run, ride a bike; whatever makes you happy.
These changes all go hand-in-hand, and each supports the others. You may not need to follow every single diet and lifestyle change to the letter, but one change isn’t going to fix the damage, just like one Snickers bar didn’t cause the elevated triglycerides. It’s going to take some work, but your life and health and well-being are worth it.
YOU are worth it!