High triglycerides: what they are, what function they perform. Habits to be adopted to prevent hypertriglyceridemia. Which foods to avoid and which ones to include in the diet to lower blood triglyceride levels.
Triglycerides are fat molecules (lipids) that make up the main component of adipose tissue. They perform two fundamental functions for our body: they accumulate energy reserves and protect us from low temperatures.
However, when their blood levels rise excessively (in this case we are talking about hypertriglyceridemia) they can be a risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease (heart attack), liver and pancreatic disease. Normal fasting blood triglyceride values should range between 150 and 200 milligrams per deciliter. Beyond these levels, we speak of mild, severe and very severe hypertriglyceridaemia.
Triglyceride levels can be affected by factors such as:
- food diet
- particular medical conditions
- specific drug therapies: cortisone, estrogen, some diuretics, contraceptive pills.
- metabolic complications
High triglycerides, which diet to choose
To keep blood triglycerides low, it is not necessary to eliminate all fats from the diet; just follow a few common sense principles!
Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight it is likely that you have a high blood triglyceride rate. Research shows that hypertriglyceridemia has a close correlation with waist circumference. What to do? You must immediately reduce the intake of all the foods you eat so as to balance the calorie intake with the energy expenditure. This is already the first step in losing weight and thus lowering the triglyceride rate.
Many researches confirm that overweight individuals are able to quickly rebalance their triglyceride levels by already losing 10% of their weight. The important thing is to do it in a natural and healthy way. Obviously you must also pay attention to the foods you ingest! We will talk about this in the following paragraphs.
Physical activity is a fundamental element for the well-being and health of our body. In particular, doing regular physical activity helps in various ways to normalize the level of triglycerides; it can help lower triglyceride levels by up to 40%. Physical activity, in fact, increases the activity of the enzymes that digest triglycerides. Don't try too hard, a small daily walk of at least 30 minutes may already be enough.
Limit fatty foods
As already mentioned, our body is responsible for accumulating and using a certain amount of fat in the form of triglycerides. However, those with high levels of triglycerides must drastically reduce the consumption of saturated and trans fats as they tend to stimulate the production of cholesterol and triglycerides by the liver. Saturated fats are present They are mainly present in some salad dressings, canned foods, margarine, bread, red meat.
Warning: what is essential is not so much to eliminate dietary fats, but sugars: the diet must be more similar to that of those suffering from diabetes than that of those with high cholesterol problems.
Consume more Omega-3s
Not all fats are to be avoided! This is the case of unsaturated fats, which precisely perform the opposite action; they help lower triglyceride levels. Experts suggest including them at least once a week in the diet. Foods rich in omega-3s are preferred; they are present in salmon, sardines, rainbow trout, herring and other fish. Another way to increase your consumption of Omega-3 fats is in the form of dietary supplements. First, however, it is good to seek the advice of your doctor.
Alcohol in all its forms (wines, spirits, beer) can promote a high production of triglycerides by the liver. In the case of hypertriglyceridemia, therefore, it is essential to eliminate the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
For an in-depth investigation, it is advisable to check the triglycerides after 2-3 weeks of a totally alcohol-free diet, without changing the diet.
It is preferable to replace alcohol with mineral water or natural fruit juices. Remember, however, to check the quantity and quality of the juices you consume.
What drugs to take?
Only the doctor, through some appropriate tests, can diagnose and clarify the cause of hypertriglyceridemia and consequently activate a targeted therapeutic intervention. In certain situations, he may decide to administer specific drugs to reduce the level of triglycerides in the blood. In any case, following a healthy lifestyle, an adequate diet and regular physical activity can prove decisive in regulating the levels of triglycerides in the blood.