If you’ve ever been confused about what triglycerides are and why they matter, you’re not alone. Understanding triglycerides is important for your health, so we’re here to help you sort it out.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a type of fat, the most common fat in the body. Their job is to store calories you eat but don’t use right away. Hormones will trigger the triglycerides to release the energy you need between snacks or meals.
Saved energy is normal and healthy, but, unlike a savings account, an excess of savings is going to hurt you in the long run.
Triglycerides are easily measured with a routine blood test. For an adult, 150 mg/dL is a normal level of triglycerides. Anything above 200 mg/dL can start causing serious problems in the body if not addressed.
Why are high levels of triglycerides bad?
Too many triglycerides in the body, combined with unhealthy cholesterol levels, can cause heart disease. The body can’t process fat properly, so cholesterol builds up inside and hardens the walls of the blood vessels, potentially causing heart failure.
High triglycerides can also cause weight gain, which contributes to heart disease and other problems, such as type 2 diabetes.
What causes a high level?
The truth is simple but probably annoying to hear—eating too many calories. Even worse, excess calories are easiest to come by in foods that many people love, such as soda, processed food, and refined sugar and carbohydrates.
What can you do to lower your level?
The most important change is to avoid refined sugars. Eliminating sugary drinks such as soda, sports drinks, and even juice will give you a major head start. Sugars can hide in seemingly healthy foods such as granola bars, wheat bread, and pasta sauce. Check labels carefully and choose brands with little added sugar.
Add fiber into your diet wherever you can because it can help lower your triglyceride level. Whole grains, beans, and nuts are great sources. Cut up an apple into oatmeal or add lentils to your next soup.
Prepare and eat fresh food as often as you can and avoid processed foods on the grocery store shelf.
Consume fatty fish such as salmon or sardines.
This may seem like the catch-all recommendation for all ailments, but it actually does make a tremendous difference in lowering triglycerides.
The most important part of exercise is to be consistent over the long haul. Studies have shown that regular exercise over time can dramatically decrease your triglyceride levels. Simple exercise is a good place to start: take a walk with a friend get dancing to salsa those triglycerides away.
Try a supplement
Research shows that supplements with omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, may help lower your triglyceride level. Consider adding one as you make other healthy changes.
Triglycerides aren’t as complicated as they may seem. Remember that small, consistent changes truly will lower your level.
Let’s get healthier, together,
Your friends at Santo Remedio
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