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May 2013

Nourishing News - Optimize Triglycerides with Lifestyle

Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood and are just as important as cholesterol!  Not only do high triglycerides increase the risk for heart disease, these blood fats are also linked to diabetes and fatty liver disease.  The good news, most people can significantly lower triglycerides through lifestyle changes, especially diet.

By the Numbers
A blood test can determine your triglyceride level. Initial screening is now recommended to be “non-fasting”. Aim for 100 or less, the “New” optimal according to the American Heart Association.

LifeStyle Choices to Optimize Triglycerides
The American Heart Association recommends the following strategies for optimal triglyceride levels.

  • Lose Weight & Be Active:  If you are not at your healthy weight a 5-10 percent weight loss can lower your triglycerides by 20%!  Watch portion sizes, choose nutrient-rich foods and be active.  Everyone should aim for 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.  Be mindful of your body’s limits and check with your physician before starting an exercise program.
  • Be Selective About Carbs:  Foods that have a lot of sugar, especially fructose, will increase triglycerides. Keep foods with added sugar to a minimum and avoid fructose as much as possible.
  • Choose Healthy Fats: Include Omega-3 fats found in fish such as salmon, halibut and sardines.  Have at least 3 ½ oz of fish twice a week, shown to lower triglycerides.  Check the nutrition and ingredient label to avoid foods with trans or hydrogenated fats generally found in baked goods, crackers and snack foods.
  • Alter Alcohol: Although moderate alcohol intake—one drink for women and two for men—may have some health benefits, it will raise triglycerides.
  • Healthy Eating Pattern:
    • Focus on nutrient-rich foods, including colorful vegetables, lean meats, seafood and poultry, nonfat dairy products, fresh fruit and whole grains.
    • Limit salt and processed foods.
    • Minimize foods with added sugar and refined grains.
    • Choose healthy fats in moderation from olive oil and omega 3s. Keep saturated fats from whole milk dairy products & red meats to a minimum.

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