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Last updated March 18, 2017 (originally published August 15, 2010)

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by Registered Nurses and
other members of our Editorial Board]

You may be keeping a close watch on your cholesterol and
your blood pressure but did you know there’s something
else you should look after for optimum heart health? They’re
"triglycerides" and high levels can increase your risk of
heart disease.  Are there any natural remedies for high
triglycerides? Are there foods that can help to lower
triglycerides? What foods should you avoid if you have high

What Are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood, stored in the
body when you eat more calories than you need.
Triglycerides are useful because they are later released as
energy when you need it between meals. However, problems
occur when you regularly eat more calories than you burn,
making it impossible to keep them at a low level.

Triglycerides are different from cholesterol, although both
are types of fats in your blood. Cholesterol is used to build
cells and hormones, not provide you with energy.

Why High Triglycerides Are Dangerous

High triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease. No one
knows exactly how, but they contribute to
hardening of the
arteries and thickening of the artery walls, a condition that
increases your risk of stroke and heart disease. Results from
a 2008 study from the University of Cambridge found people
with a genetically-programmed tendency for higher
triglyceride levels also had a greater risk of heart disease.
The research looked at 350,000 people from 101 studies.

High levels of triglycerides can also be a sign of obesity or
diabetes. Even without full scientific consensus, you should
consider high levels of triglycerides as a wake-up call for
your heart.


Higher triglyceride levels have also been implicated in acne
and other skin conditions such as
seborrheic warts, new
studies show. Read more about the connection between
triglycerides and skin conditions. ]

What Are Your Normal Triglyceride Levels?

According to the Mayo Clinic, normal triglycerides levels are
less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or less than
1.7 millimoles per L (mmol/L).

But 150 mg/dL may not be low enough. In April of 2011,
the American Heart Association released a paper that
established a new lower target for triglycerides --- 100

According to Dr. Michael Miller of the University of Baltimore
who was the chair of the writing committee for the American
Heart Association,
people with triglyceride levels above 150
but less than 199 should reduce the amount of their body
weight by 5%, and keep the amount of  carbohydrates to
between 50% and 60% of your diet.

Losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight cuts the
amount of your triglycerides by 20%, the American Heart
Association found.

These changes in lifestyle work for "borderline " high
triglycerides.  Borderline high triglyceride levels are
considered to be 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L) and
your levels are high if they are 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3 to 5.6

Very high triglyceride levels are over 500 mg/dL (5.7
mmol/L). Your doctor will ask you to take a blood test to
determine your triglycerides levels.

Foods to Avoid If You Have High Triglycerides

If your triglycerides levels are high you should avoid sugary
and refined foods. Simple carbohydrates can increase
triglycerides. You should aim for no more than 300mg of
cholesterol a day if you have high levels. Concentrated
sources of cholesterol to avoid include whole milk, fatty
meats and lots of egg yolks.

Top 10 Natural Remedies to Lower Triglycerides

Choose Healthier Fats

You’ll help lower your triglycerides levels if you trade in
saturated fat for healthier, mono-unsaturated fats such as
those found in plants and olive oil, nut oil and fish oil.
Choose fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon,
tuna, halibut and sardines.

Avoid transfat. Trans fat, found in fried food, cookies, cakes
and all the other tasty-but-bad packets you have on your
shelves, are dangerous for your triglyceride levels. The
Cleveland Clinic suggests trans fats should make up only
1%  of your daily calories in order to lower triglycerides.  
Saturated fat should be limited to 20 to 30 percent of your
total calorie intake in order to lower your triglycerides

Up Your Exercise

Exercise helps to lower triglycerides and decrease your risk
for heart disease.  Aim for 30 minutes of exercise, at least
four days a week, and include daily walks, swimming, indoor
exercise classes and strength-training to keep yourself
interested. Evidence is unclear as to how much exercise is
needed to lower triglycerides levels. It has been suggested
that one hour of vigorous exercise, three times a week, can
lower levels even while your weight doesn’t change, so it
seems every little counts.

Cut Down on Alcohol

Sugar is a source of excess calories and its fermented
version is just as effective as raising triglycerides levels in
the blood. Calories from alcohol are usually turned into fat
without doing much good for the body. This is because the
liver chooses to remove alcohol from the blood as a priority.
In the meantime, the sugar in your beer or wine is converted
straight into triglycerides. Keep your drinking at a safe level
and help lower your triglycerides.

Choose Healthy Meats and Fish

Prioritize lean meats such as turkey or skinless chicken over
fatty cuts and trim excess fat before roasting or baking,
without adding too much more fat. When it comes to fish,
“It's been pretty well documented that fish oil has its most
marked effect on triglycerides,” according to Carl Hock, Ph.
D., an assistant professor of medicine at the University of
Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey School of
Osteopathic Medicine. According to the Cleveland Clinic, by
eating fish within your healthy diet you can bring your
triglycerides down and you don’t necessarily need to
supplement with fish oils. Two servings of cold-water fish,
like salmon, mackerel and tuna, each week should be enough.

Take The Rice and Fruit Diet

A diet consisting of almost nothing but rice and fruit is
sometimes recommended for its ability to strip fats from the
body and lower triglycerides. According to Sonja Connor, M.
S., R.D., a research associate professor of clinical nutrition at
Oregon Health Sciences University, the rice and fruit diet
helps people with high triglycerides because it’s practically
fat-free. Connor says “You start getting results on this diet
right away - two or three days. If we can motivate people to
get rid of all fats from their diets on a short-term basis, we
could help eradicate the problem and they could start adding
some fats back in.” However, this is a pretty extreme diet to
pursue and is not recommended without medical supervision.

Keep Your Carbohydrates Complex and Under 55% of
Your Diet

The amount of carbohydrates you eat directly affects your
triglyceride levels.

When the amount of carbohydrates exceeds 55% of your
diet, your triglyceride levels rise, a fact first observed by
scientists from the  University of Minnesota in 2001.

This phenomenon is called "carbohydrate-induced
hypertriglyceridemia", and it has been verified many
numerous other studies since 2001.

Eating fats makes your triglyceride levels rise right after the
meal but eating carbohydrates causes your triglyceride levels
to rise
all the time.

So, t
he key to lowering triglycerides is to increase your levels
of complex carbohydrates without cooking them in excess

If you’re getting your calories mainly from complex
and you’re not getting them from fat, which
means your triglyceride levels won’t increase as quickly.

But you experience a double whammy if you eat both refined
carbs such as
pasta or potatoes and fat such as  cheese and
cream sauces, or rice salads with mayonnaise.
 Eating these
combinations will make your triglyceride levels rise right
after the meal because you've eaten fat and stay high
because you've eaten refined carbohydrates.

Probably the ideal food for raising your triglyceride levels is
therefore macaroni and cheese.

Try to find multi-grain or spinach pasta recipes with a low-
fat sauce or use low-fat dressings
, Think about skipping the
, white bread, desserts and rice.

Take Niacin

Niacin can help lower triglycerides but, according to Chris
Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D., at the College of Health and Human
Sciences at Georgia State University, only when used in very
large amounts. The normal recommended limits for niacin are
14mg a day for women and 16mg a day for men, reaching
an upper limit of 35mg. For lowering triglycerides you’ll need
levels of 2,000 to 6,000mg a day and this can only be safely
taken under the supervision of a doctor. The prescription
form of niacin is regulated by the Food and Drug
Administration and is formulated to reduce side effects and
deliver the vitamin in a time-released way.

Regulate Your Body Clock

A 2010 study from the Department of Cell Biology and
Pediatrics at the State University of New York Downstate
Medical Center in Brooklyn found that disrupting the body
clock or circadian rhythm could interfere with normal cycles
of high and low triglycerides, keeping them at a constant
high level. Researchers looked at two groups of mice, one
group of normal lab mice and one genetically bred to have a
disrupted body clock, and saw that blood levels of
triglycerides in the normal mice fluctuated, peaking when
they were asleep and reaching their lowest point when they
were most active. The genetically bred mice had no regular
pattern of waking and sleeping and their triglycerides hardly
changed from a high level throughout the day. The
researchers suggested that abnormal patterns of sleeping
and waking, such as staying up all night, long/haul flights
and shift work, could contribute to dangerous levels of

Cut Down On Fructose-Enhanced Drinks

A new 2009 research study from the Monell Center found
that obese people who drink fructose-sweetened drinks with
their meals have an increased rise in their triglycerides
following the meal.

The study looked at 17 obese men and women. The subjects
were given identical meals, the only difference being the
sweetener used in the drinks that accompanied the meals.
Some were sweetened with glucose and some with fructose.

The total amount of triglycerides in the blood over a 24-hour
period was almost 200 percent higher when the subjects
drank fructose-sweetened beverages.

Hear that?
200% higher. Future research will look at how
much fructose is needed to cause an increase of triglyceride
levels when it is combined with glucose in drinks but in the
meantime you can help keep your triglyceride levels low by
switching sugary drinks with water and herbal teas.

Other common sources of fructose are crunchy snacks and
bread used in fast-food restaurants and ketchup.  

Try Plant-Based Sources of Omega-3

Fish oil is known to reduce triglycerides but a recent study
found you can get the same benefits from plant-based
sources of omega-3, specifically the Echium plantagineum
plant. A 2008 NCCAM-funded study at the Wake Forest and
Harvard Center for Botanical Lipids investigated how echium
oil works at lowering  triglycerides by feeding mice diets
supplemented with either echium oil, fish oil, or (as a
control) palm oil. They found that both echium and fish oils
reduced triglycerides in blood and in the liver, concluding
that echium oil could provide a botanical alternative to fish
oil for reducing triglycerides.

: Foods to Lower Your Cholesterol / VLDL-The Other
Cholesterol/ Foods That Shrink Your Waist/ Foods That
Reduce Blood Pressure/
Amaranth-The Ancient Grain That Lowers Cholesterol/ Red
Yeast Rice Lowers Cholesterol -Comprehensive Review/
Coffee Helps You Lose Weight


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