Triglycerides give your body energy, but if you have too many of them circulating in your bloodstream, they put you at risk for heart disease. Your body makes triglycerides from the food you eat. If your calorie intake is not used by your body right away, the excess is converted into triglycerides and stored in your fat cells. The American Heart Association states that your triglyceride levels should be less than 150 milligrams. If your levels are higher, and you need to clean excess triglycerides out of your system, try making natural lifestyle changes.
Eat pistachios. You may be wondering how eating a food can help clean out triglycerides when excess calories can increase them, but researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition explain how it works. Their study, published in the June 2010 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition," used two groups of participants. A specific number of calories is needed to maintain weight, and that is referred to as basal metabolic rate. Both groups went on a diet of their BMR minus 500 calories. For example, if they needed 1,500 calories a day to maintain their weight, they cut back to 1,000 calories. During the 12-week diet period, their afternoon snack was either a 240-calorie serving of salted pistachios or a 220-calorie serving of salted pretzels. The pistachio snack group had a greater reduction in their body-mass index as well as a significant reduction in triglyceride levels.
Eat fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish include mackerel, wild salmon, anchovies, sardines, whitefish, tuna and rainbow trout. The June 2008 issue of "Clinical Nutrition" reported that fatty fish consumption reduced triglyceride levels in study participants who fasted and after meals. The AHA recommends eating a 3.5-ounce serving of fatty fish at least twice a week.
Exercise. Do anything that gets you moving. Whether it is taking a walk or lifting weights, any type of exercise will help lower your triglycerides, according to the Dec. 19, 2011 issue of "Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome." In a study published in the journal, rats were assigned aerobic activity for one hour a day, five days per week. Another group of rats was given strength training five days per week, while the control group had no physical activity. The study found that exercise -- either aerobic or strength training -- resulted in lower triglycerides.
Lose weight. Even if you drop only 5 percent of your current weight, you can lower your triglyceride levels. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, dropping a mere 10 pounds will improve your health. The Oct. 7, 2012 issue of the "European Journal of Nutrition" stated that dropping 5 percent of your weight results in a significant lowering of triglyceride levels along with overall cholesterol levels.
- American Heart Association: 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: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome: Different Exercise Protocols Improve Metabolic Syndrome Markers, Tissue Triglycerides Content and Antioxidant Status in Rats
- European Journal of Nutrition: Effects of 5% Weight Loss Through Diet or Diet Plus Exercise on Cardiovascular Parameters of Obese: A Randomized Clinical Trial
- Select wild-caught fish as opposed to farmed fish, as there is less chance of bacterial contamination in the meat.
- Speak to your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.
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."