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Triglycerides are the chemical form in which fat exists in the body. With the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that our country is experiencing, many people are finding themselves fighting a war against triglycerides. A doctor may prescribe a statin drug to help lower the triglyceride level, but for some who have digestive problems or gallbladder disease, these drugs are not an option, while some patients would prefer to try a more natural approach. Since high triglyceride levels are a contributing factor to heart disease, the levels need to be controlled. Following are eight tips to lower triglycerides before resorting to pharmaceuticals.
- Lose weight. Your blood is going to contain some level of triglycerides, but eating excess calories will cause triglyceride levels to increase, which is why it is common for overweight people to have higher levels of triglycerides in their blood. Getting into a more active lifestyle and consuming fewer calories will help a person to lose weight and get their triglyceride number down. Even a small weight loss will help to lower triglycerides and cholesterol.
- Eat healthy. Follow a diet that is low in saturated fats and contains little to no trans fats. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like oatmeal, whole grains and fruit. A person also wants to be sure to limit their sugar intake. Make sure that your meals include foods rich in Omega-3 like salmon, fish oils and flax seed.
- Eat soy protein. Recent studies have shown that soy protein may help to lower triglycerides. Aim for about 25 mg of soy protein per day in your diet.
- Eat fewer carbohydrates. Carbohydrates trigger the transformation of glucose into triglycerides in the body. Do not eliminate carbs completely since they are part of a healthy diet, but do limit your intake and when choosing bread and other grain products look for items that are 100% whole grain.
- Drink green tea. You can also buy a green tea extract. Green tea has natural antioxidants that can help to prevent cancer, heart disease and other ailments, but it has also been shown to help lower triglycerides, LDL cholesterol as well as increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Decrease alcohol intake. Again, alcohol is transformed to glucose in your system, which can raise triglyceride levels. All alcoholic drinks have the same effect, so it would be wise to eliminate alcoholic beverages altogether.
- Eat your vegetables. Mom always told you to and now medical evidence is proving she was right. Be sure to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, which are also a source of Omega-3. Also, use vegetable proteins such as peas or dried beans to replace protein form red meat. Chicken with the skin removed and baked or grilled is another way to get low-fat protein into your diet.
- Exercise. You have heard it before, but it cannot be said often enough. Exercising regularly will help to increase the HDL cholesterol and rid your body of excess triglycerides.The normal level of triglycerides in the bloodstream should not exceed 200 mg/dl. Since levels higher than this can be a contributing factor to heart disease, take the time to have your blood tested and if you find your triglycerides are high, follow the steps above to get them down to an acceptable and healthy level.
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