Dr. Ritika Samaddar - Dietician at Max healthcare says, "If you are consuming too much sugar in your diet, there is a possibility that your triglyceride levels can be high. Your body has the tendency to combine the excess sugar fat and then store them as triglycerides".
What are triglycerides?
These are fats that typically accumulate around the gut (the “spare tire”) as well as around muscles (flabby arms). A normal triglyceride level should be less than 150 mg/dl of blood. They are closely associated with HDL (good cholesterol) and factors that affect in lowering cholesterol. It is not uncommon to see elevated triglyceride > 200 and low HDL ( than 40 for men, or less than 45 for women) occur together.
10 Ways to Decrease Elevated Triglycerides
- Decrease or eliminate sweets:
Simple sugars are the primary ingredient of triglycerides and hence excess intake of sweets or drinks can raise triglycerides. Eliminate intake of food items loaded with sugars like cookies, pastries, sweet desserts, and fruit juices.
- Decrease or eliminate alcohol:
Drinking alcohol raises triglyceride levels. For people who are sensitive, a small amount of alcohol can trigger it.
- Reduce intake of refined carbohydrate-containing foods
Intake of refined cereals like white rice, bread, pasta made from white flour or cornflakes can significantly raise triglycerides in sensitive individuals. Instead choose whole grains such as multigrain chapatti, and other grains such as quinoa, barley and millet.
- Choose foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, the "good" fats!
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to significantly reduce the elevated triglycerides level. Hence include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, trout), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, Almonds and legumes.
- Maintain a healthy weight:
You may be surprised to discover that a modest weight loss of 5-6 kg can reduce your triglycerides, cholesterol level, and decrease your risk of heart disease. Eat a healthy diet to lose weight and prevent lifestyle diseases like diabetes, CVD etc.
Increase intake of MUFA rich oils to lower the triglycerides levels. Replace saturated fats like butter, ghee, shortening, lard, or margarine with MUFA rich oils like canola oil, rice bran, and soyabean oil.
- Avoid Trans-fat and hidden fats
The primary dietary source of trans fats in processed food is "partially hydrogenated oils" and are found in fried foods like doughnuts, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, cookies, margarines and other spreads.
Foods high in fibre will help to control your triglycerides and LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Consume beans, whole grains- Oats, Quinoa, brown rice; Nuts and seeds -Almonds, chia seeds, flaxseed; fruits and vegetables. Drink more water with increase in fibre.
Vegetable proteins such as beans, peas, nuts and lentils are excellent ways to improve your health and will have a direct effect on lowering your triglycerides and cholesterol.
Exercise will increase HDL cholesterol and burn off excess triglycerides. Weight-bearing activity, in particular, increases muscle mass and raises your metabolic rate. This will help your body burn more carbohydrates, leaving less storage for triglycerides.