Fat in food is in the form of triglycerides. It's also the form in which your body stores fat. If you eat too much fat, too many calories or too much sugar, your body turns those nutrients into triglycerides, which may elevate blood levels and increase risk of heart disease. Watching your calories, as well as your fat and sugar intake, is necessary in order to bring blood triglyceride levels down. Consult your doctor to discuss your diet for high triglycerides.
Attaining and sustaining a healthy weight is one of the first steps you need to take to help lower your triglycerides, which means eating the right number of calories. Calorie needs are individual and based on age, gender, body size and activity. They also vary depending on your desire to lose, maintain or gain weight.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans estimates that women need 1,600 calories to 2,400 calories a day, and men need 2,000 calories to 3,000 calories a day. Talk to your doctor or dietitian to help you estimate the number of calories you need each day to reach your weight goals.
A healthy diet that is high in fiber with healthy sources of fat is recommended to help lower triglycerides. For fiber, fill your diet with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Include lean sources of protein to help limit your intake of unhealthy saturated fat. Good choices include white meat poultry, fish and legumes. Healthy sources of fat include olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil and canola oil. Healthy oils are a concentrated source of calories; use them in moderation to help stay within your calorie goals.
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish may help improve your triglyceride levels, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. Eat two servings of fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, herring or salmon twice a week to get more omega-3s. If you don't eat fish, check with your doctor to see if fish oil supplements are an option for you.
You might also want to eat more soy foods, such as edamame, tofu, soy milk or tempeh. NYU Langone Medical Center reports that when used in place of animal proteins, soy also helps to moderately lower triglycerides.
The herbal supplement fenugreek may also be helpful, but it's only been tested in test tubes and animals. Always talk to your doctor before adding herbal supplements to your daily regimen.
Regular exercise helps burn calories, which means burning triglycerides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. That means a 30-minute walk at a brisk pace five days a week or a 15-minute jog five days a week.
- Cleveland Clinic: Triglycerides
- NYU Langone Medical Center: High Triglycerides
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- University of Massachusetts Medical School: What Can You Do to Lower Your Triglycerides
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Fenugreek
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?