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Triglycerides (TGs) are the fats in your bloodstream.  When they are too high, there is an increased risk of stroke and heart disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis. 

Triglycerides are considered to be elevated when they are greater than 150 mg/dl, taken after an 8-10 hour fast.  

What causes high Triglycerides? 

Health Conditions: overweight/obesity, diabetes, and hypothyroidism

Medications: tamoxifen, beta blockers, steroids, diuretics, birth control pills 

Ways to lower Triglycerides 

Decrease or eliminate sweets:

Candy, cookies, pies, pastries, ice cream, frozen yogurt, puddings, fat free desserts (these often tend to be very high in sugar), fruit juice, other sweet beverages, such as soda, sweetened iced tea, iced coffee beverages, lemonade, fruit punch, sports drinks, energy drinks.  Also limit added sugar of any kind, syrup, and honey.  

Decrease or eliminate alcohol, and quit smoking if you smoke.  

Decrease refined carbohydrates:

White bread, bagels, pita, etc, white rice, white pasta, white flour in any product, pretzels, rice cakes, ready-to-eat cereals made with white flour.

  • INSTEAD: use whole grain breads, cereals, and pasta, and increase fiber intake.
  • Old fashioned or steel cut oats are great choices, as are brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, amaranth, and other whole grains. 
  • Choose legumes often – chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, etc.
  • Note:  eating too much of any high-carbohydrate food will contribute to high triglycerides 

Choose foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fats (good fats):

  • Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, trout, bluefish, herring, swordfish.  Eat at least 2 servings per week; limit albacore tuna and swordfish. 
  • Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseed (keep refrigerated), walnuts, soy products such as tofu and soy milk, dark leafy greens
  • Other nuts and seeds are also good –almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds, etc. 

Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if needed.

  • You may be surprised that even a modest weight loss (10-15 lbs) can greatly reduce your TGs, cholesterol, and heart disease risk. 

Choose plenty of deeply colored fruits and vegetables every day, for fiber and beneficial phytochemicals that reduce disease risk – examples include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, red peppers, berries, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc.  There are so many – choose the produce you like, and have plenty!  

Avoid trans-fatty acids in processed foods (check ingredients and AVOID partially hydrogenated oils) 

Limit saturated fats (butter, beef, pork, lamb, fried foods, poultry skin, cream, whole and 2% milk and high fat dairy products) 

Use olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, non-hydrogenated soft spreads  

Exercise regularly: aim for 3 ½ hours per week - about 30 minutes per day, 7 days a week      

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