Triglycerides affect your health in positive and negative ways. They are a type of blood fat that is stored in your cells, and they are released between meals to give you energy. When triglycerides are measured, the resulting number tells how many are circulating in a deciliter of your blood. A healthy level falls at 150 milligrams per deciliter. Anything above that number increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association states that triglyceride levels respond more favorably to lifestyle changes than to drug protocols. Adding a few specific activities to your daily routine may help lower your numbers.
Whittling your waist benefits more than your appearance. The AHA states that losing weight can help lower triglycerides by up to 50 percent. When it comes to lowering your levels, not all diets are equal. A study in the May 2011 issue of "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" explains that subjects were put on either a low-calorie or low-carb diet. While both groups lost weight, the greatest reduction in triglycerides was seen in the low-carb group. After dieting for two weeks, subjects lost up to 4 percent of their weight and saw a significant 42 percent reduction in their triglycerides. Eliminating processed breads, grains and sugars will cut a significant number of carbohydrates from your daily intake.
Lift Some Weights
Lifting weights will help you lower your triglyceride levels, according to a study in the July-Aug. 2008 issue of "Cardiovascular Journal of Africa." While all exercise is beneficial to your heart and health, researchers in this study stated that resistance exercise is particularly good for lowering triglycerides. Subjects did weight training three times a week for 16 weeks and lowered their triglyceride levels by 18 percent.
Snack on Pistachios
Your triglyceride level is directly affected by the foods you eat. The Cleveland Clinic explains that triglycerides in your blood come directly from your food, and excess calories that are not used are converted to triglycerides. Since you need to eat to live, make wise food choices. A healthy snack that lowers your triglycerides is pistachios. The June 2010 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" reported that dieters in one group were given pretzels for their snack, while dieters in a second group were given pistachios. After 12 weeks, members of the pistachio group lost weight and had significantly lower triglyceride levels.
Monitor Your Food Intake
Triglycerides are directly related to food intake, so one of the best ways to lower them is to monitor what you eat. The AHA's dietary recommendations include limiting your intake of sugars, alcohol, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Increase your consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, nuts and seeds. One of the best ways to monitor your food intake is to keep a daily journal of what you eat. This helps you identify any dietary habits you need to correct to help you lower your triglyceride levels.
- American Heart Association: Dietary, Lifestyle Changes Can Significantly Reduce Triglycerides
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Short-Term Weight Loss and Hepatic Triglyceride Reduction: Evidence of a Metabolic Advantage With Dietary Carbohydrate Restriction
- Cleveland Clinic: How Foods Affect Triglycerides
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Pistachio Nuts Reduce Triglycerides and Body Weight by Comparison to Refined Carbohydrate Snack in Obese Subjects on a 12-Week Weight Loss Program
- American Heart Association: Triglycerides: Frequently Asked Questions
A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."