Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body, according to the American Heart Association. Your body makes triglycerides, but they also come from the food you eat. While their primary role is to help supply your body with additional energy, too many triglycerides can increase your risk for coronary artery disease. By eating certain foods, it's possible to help lower triglyceride levels.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has even approved a prescription form of omega-3 fatty acids for treatment of very high triglyceride levels, according to Connie W. Bales and Dr. Christine S. Ritchie, authors of the "Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Aging." Good food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, canola oil, pumpkin seeds and cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines and tuna.
Statistical results from a project conducted by Loma Linda University, which pooled data from 25 individual nut consumption studies conducted in seven countries with more than 500 subjects, suggest that eating nuts has a positive effect on triglycerides. According to Dr. Joan Sabate, the project's lead researcher and a pioneer in nut research, study subjects with higher-than-normal blood triglycerides who ate an average of 2.3 ounces of nuts daily reduced triglyceride levels by 10.2 percent. Similar triglyceride-lowering effects were observed in a variety of nuts such as walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia and pistachios.
An article published in the "International Journal of Medical Sciences" in 2007 stated that soy protein consumption reduces triglycerides, serum total cholesterol and the "bad" form of cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein. Good soy-based food choices include tofu, soy milk, soy nuts and soy yogurt as well as fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso and soy sauce, which tend to contain higher amounts of sodium.
Regular use of garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and possibly raise levels of high-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol, according to Joan Sabate, editor of "Vegetarian Nutrition." Sabate also notes that due to its ability to dilate blood vessels, garlic also helps lower blood pressure and inhibits blood-platelet clumping. By adding garlic to a variety of foods, such as soups, sauces, salad dressings, mashed potatoes and vegetables, you help provide your body with garlic's powerful benefits.
- Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Aging; Connie W. Bales and Christine S. Ritchie
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Loma Linda University School of Public Health: Loma Linda University Produces Best Data Yet on How Nuts Improve Blood Lipids
- International Journal of Medical Sciences: Role of Dietary Soy Protein in Obesity
- Vegetarian Nutrition; Joan Sabate
- American Heart Association: What Are High Blood Cholesterol and Triglycerides?
- Photo Credit Elena Gaak/iStock/Getty Images
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