Triglycerides – Why do they really matter?

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Triglycerides – an overview

Triglycerides are crucial to measuring heart health. What to try to do if your triglycerides are too high? If you have an eye on your blood pressure or cholesterol levels in your body, there’s something else you would need to monitor: your triglycerides.

A high triglyceride level in the blood can increase your risk of a heart condition. But lifestyle choices that promote overall health can also help lower triglycerides.

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a kind of fat present in the blood. When we consume food, our body converts unused calories immediately into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in fat cells in our bodies. Later, these cells release triglycerides for energy between meals.

If you often consume more calories than you shed, particularly from high-carbohydrate foods, you’ll have high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia).

High triglycerides are a part of an unhealthy condition called metabolic syndrome. Other features of this illness include

Metabolic syndrome significantly increases your chances of developing a heart condition, stroke or Diabetes.

What’s the difference between triglycerides and cholesterol?

Triglycerides and cholesterol are differing types of lipids that circulate in your blood.

Triglycerides are a type of fat that supply your body with energy.

Cholesterol is employed to build cells and certain hormones.

Why do high triglycerides matter?

High triglycerides may contribute to the thickening of the artery walls, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease. Extremely high triglycerides also can cause acute inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

High triglycerides often indicate other underlying health conditions that might increase the risk of specific heart disease or stroke. They can also cause obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions with too much fat around the waist, high vital signs, high triglycerides, high blood glucose and abnormal cholesterol levels.

High triglycerides also can be a sign of:

  • Type 2 Diabetes or prediabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome — a condition when high vital signs, obesity and high blood glucose occur together, increasing your risk of heart condition
  • Low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism)
  • Certain rare genetic conditions affect how the body converts fat to use it as fuel.

High level of triglycerides in the body is a side effect of consuming a few medications, such as

  • Diuretics
  • Oestrogen and progestin
  • Retinoids
  • Steroids
  • Beta-blockers
  • Some immunosuppressants
  • Some HIV medications

What’s the best way to lower triglycerides?

Healthy lifestyle choices are critical.

Exercise regularly.

Aim for a minimum of 30 – 45 minutes of physical activity three times a week. Regular exercise can help a person to lower triglycerides and boost “good” cholesterol.

That creamy latte, grilled cheese sandwich or a scoop of frozen dessert before bed can lead to a high level of triglycerides in the body. If you regularly consume more calories, your triglycerides may increase. The worst offenders are foods packed with sugar and foods high in saturated fat. Such foods include cheese, milk and meat.

Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates, like sugar, white flour or fructose, can increase triglycerides in the body. If you’ve got high triglycerides, bring your appetite under control. Simple sugars, like fructose, raise triglycerides.

Be careful with foods that have added sugar, like soda, baked goodies, candy, most breakfast cereals, flavoured yoghurt and frozen dessert. Learn to identify added sugars on food labels. Fruit crush concentrates, cane syrup, cane sugar, honey, maltose, molasses and raw sugar can also have a similar effect on the body.

Lose weight.

If you’ve mild to moderate hypertriglyceridemia, restrict your calories. Extra calories consumed are converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. Reducing your calories will reduce triglycerides.

Choose healthier fats.  

Trade saturated fat in meats for more beneficial fat in plants, like olive oil. Rather than consuming meat, it is better to eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids — like mackerel, tuna and salmon. Eliminate trans fats or foods with hydrogenated oils or fats.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol packs a lot of calories and sugar and features a particularly potent effect on triglycerides. If you’ve got severe hypertriglyceridemia, avoid drinking any alcohol.

When triglycerides rise, switch to soda water with lime juice, or try an herbal iced tea blend that tastes great without added sugar. Excess drinking is one explanation for high triglycerides.

More than a drink a day for women and a couple of drinks a day for men is considered excess. For a few people, consuming small amounts of alcohol can increase triglycerides.

Get moving

If you’re carrying some extra kilos, initiating regular workouts can shape you and lower your triglycerides simultaneously. Aim for a half-hour of exercise five days a week. You’ll cut the triglycerides in the body by more than 20%. If you’re new to exercise, try activities like a dance class, choose a swim or take a brisk walk every day.

What about medication?

If healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to regulate high triglycerides, your doctor might recommend the following:

  • Statins. These cholesterol-lowering medications could also be recommended if you have poor cholesterol levels, a history of blocked arteries, or Diabetes. Examples of statins include atorvastatin calcium and rosuvastatin calcium.
  • Fibrates. Fibrates aren’t used if you’ve got severe kidney or liver disease. Fish oil, also referred to as omega-3 fatty acids, animal oil can help lower your triglycerides. Animal oil contain more-active fatty acids than many supplements. Animal fat intake at high levels interferes with blood clotting, so ask your doctor before taking any supplements.
  • Niacin. Niacin, sometimes called niacin, can lower your triglycerides and LDL (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol. Ask a doctor before consuming over-the-counter niacin, as it can interact with other medications and cause harmful side effects.

Medications can help. Lifestyle matters.

Switch out foods made with refined white flour and whole grains. You’ll eat more fibre, which helps lower the triglycerides in the body. For breakfast, opt a bowl of steel-cut oats with berries rather than sugary cereals. For lunch, try a salad loaded with veggies and beans. Choose rice or quinoa for dinner instead of potatoes or pasta.

Like cholesterol, triglyceride troubles can cause clogged arteries and possibly a heart attack or stroke. Luckily, there are some ways to lower your triglycerides. A touch of fat is good for you when it is healthy.

Choose foods naturally containing mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Some foods like avocados, walnuts, chicken, canola oil and vegetable oil can be healthy options.

Avoid food rich in trans fats, which are found in foods like french fries and processed munchies like crackers, cakes, chips and stick margarine. Don’t eat much saturated fat, which is present in meat, ice cream, cheese and buttery food.

Choose fish rather than red meat. The omega-3 fats that are good for your heart can also help lower triglycerides. Next time you dine out, get fish rather than a burger or steak. Eat fish regularly. Salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and sardines are all high in omega-3s.

Is doctor consultation mandatory?

Usually, high levels of triglycerides in the body indicate poor lifestyle choices or an underlying health condition. Triglycerides are crucial to measuring heart health. A high triglyceride level in the blood can increase your risk of a heart condition. If the symptoms exhibited by a person disturb daily activities, making routine difficult, it is better to consult a doctor for personalised advice.

To sum up  

Triglycerides are a kind of fat present in the blood. A high triglyceride level in the blood can increase your risk of a heart condition. If the symptoms exhibited by a person disturb daily activities, it is better to consult a doctor for personalised advice. But the ideal lifestyle choices that promote overall health can also help lower triglycerides.


How can I lower my triglycerides quickly?  

1. Avoid consuming sugar
2. Resist refined or processed foods
3. Include more fibre
4. Eat healthy fats
5. Avoid trans fats
6. Do not drink alcohol.
7. Exercise regularly
8. Weight management.

What are the best foods to eat to lower triglycerides?

Some foods like soy products, fatty fish, grains, avocado, coconut oil, garlic and cruciferous vegetables can reduce triglyceride levels in the body.

What foods raise triglycerides the most?

1. White bread or wheat bread
2. Pasta
3. Sugary cereals.
4· Instant rice.
5· Bagels.
6· Pizza.
7· Pastries  
8· cookies and  
9· Cakes raise triglycerides level.

Do eggs affect triglycerides?  

Saturated fats can raise triglyceride levels in the body. They are found in fried foods, red meat, egg yolks, high-fat dairy, margarine and fast food.

How long does it take to lower triglycerides?  

With the right diet and lifestyle choices, it can take up to six months to find a significant change in the triglycerides level in the body.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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