Triglycerides are naturally occurring fats found in many foods that are necessary in the human body. Too many triglycerides are harmful to the body--a balance must be maintained. There are a number of foods that are capable of raising triglycerides and should not be consumed in large amounts by individuals with high triglyceride levels
What Are Triglycerides?
The American Heart Association defines triglycerides as being the chemicals that make up fat in both food and the human body. Triglycerides also exist within an individual's blood plasma.Triglycerides are formed when more calories are eaten than are expended by the body. Triglycerides are then stored in fat cells until they are needed.
What Is the Function of Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are stored in fat cells so that they may be released when the body needs them. In between meals certain hormones in the body signal fat cells to let go of triglycerides so that an individual will have energy until his next meal. A problem develops when there are more triglycerides stored in the body than are necessary to provide energy.
Negative Health Effects of High Triglycerides
According to the Mayo Clinic, high levels of triglycerides can cause cardiovascular problems. High levels of triglycerides in the blood can cause atherosclerosis, a condition in which arteries in the body become hard or thick. Individuals who develop atherosclerosis are at an increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack. High triglyceride levels can also be a symptom of other problems. Individuals battling obesity, diabetes, metabolic disorders, thyroid disease and kidney and liver problems may have high triglyceride levels. Occasionally, some medications, such as birth control pills, can cause high triglyceride levels as well.
Foods High in Triglycerides
The Cleveland Clinic Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institutes details a number of foods that can cause high triglyceride levels. Eating simple sugars as well as excessive amounts of natural sugars can cause high triglycerides. Eating a diet high in fat can raise triglyceride levels, as can alcohol consumption. Refined grains that are bleached or processed can cause high triglycerides. These food should be avoided by individuals with high triglycerides.
Steps to Lowering Triglyceride Levels
Overweight individuals who have high triglyceride levels should lose weight through healthy diet and exercise. Anyone with high triglyceride levels should reduce the amounts of sugar, fat, alcoholic beverages and refined grains consumed. Daily fat intake should not exceed 35 percent, and trans fats should be eliminated from the diet. Individuals with high triglyceride levels will benefit from exercise. They may also benefit from including more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.