Triglycerides are fats found in the blood and come from excess calories, alcohol or sugar. They can be released and metabolized for energy to maintain body functions.
Though triglycerides have many functions, high triglyceride levels in your blood are dangerous and can cause damages to many important organs.
The liver plays a critical role in metabolism, and it is an important organ responsible for storing, synthesizing and metabolizing triglycerides. If the liver cannot metabolize all triglycerides consumed, excess triglycerides would build up in the liver and damage liver cells, thus raising the risk of developing liver problems like fatty liver.
The heart is the engine for humans that provides the body with blood and oxygen around the clock. Too many triglycerides depositing in the coronary arteries would form plaques to block the circulation of blood vessels and finally trigger heart problems such as ischemia, angina, myocardial infarction. Old people, in particular, are susceptible to coronary heart diseases caused by high triglycerides levels.
Triglycerides are the culprit for cerebral thrombosis. High triglycerides in the blood can block blood flow in the brain, increasing the chance of developing cerebral stroke or thrombosis.
The main function of the pancreas is to promote the absorption of blood sugar to provide energy to the human body. High levels of triglycerides in the blood may result in insulin resistance and high blood sugar.
In addition, high triglycerides may also be a sign of type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
Simple lifestyle changes can help you prevent and reduce high triglycerides.
- Eat more fiber. Dietary fiber can reduce triglycerides from high carbohydrate intake to some extent. Some high-fiber foods include whole-wheat bread, oats, green peas, broccoli, carrots, apples, strawberries, bananas, almonds, walnuts, etc.
- Exercise regularly. Being more physically active is an effective way to lower triglyceride levels, for exercise can help regulate blood sugar and insulin metabolism and break down triglycerides.
- Reduce calories intake. Limiting calories intake is a direct way to reduce triglycerides.
- Limit sugar intake. The consumption of sugar, especially fructose, can lead to an increase in plasma triglyceride levels. Fructose is generally derived from sucrose, and limiting the intake of fructose can effectively reduce triglyceride levels. Sugary foods like candy, sugary drinks, biscuits and pastries are bad choices that you shall avoid.
- Eat healthier fat. When a person’s triglyceride level exceeds 800 mg/dl, limiting the fat intake from food is the most effective way to lower triglycerides. Saturated fats are more likely to cause hypertriglyceridemia than unsaturated fats. Fish rich in omega-3 is a highly recommended food that can help lower triglyceride levels.
- Avoid alcohol. Any alcohol drinking can increase the level of triglycerides in the body. Research has shown that having alcoholic drinks more than twice a week can significantly increase the risk for hypertriglyceridemia.
High triglycerides are a sign of chronic but life-threatening diseases. You can always begin with a low-calorie diet to prevent and control your triglyceride levels.