Do you know what triglycerides are? We all know that this is part of the lipid panel test, especially when you have problems with the blood pressure and diabetes, but do you know what causes it? Triglycerides are a type of fat lipid found in your blood that your blood readily absorbs after you eat. Triglycerides are fats, but are not cholesterol. You should not confuse the two, because they are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably in any discussion, in any way.
Having a high level of triglycerides can increase your risk of a heart disease. If you have been keeping an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, you should also monitor your triglycerides! If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, particularly carbohydrates and fats, you may already have high triglycerides.
When you eat, your body converts any calories it does not need to use right away into triglycerides. Just in case, you still don’t know, the extra calories, especially the ones you got from the simple carbs, such as pastries, white bread, candy, sugar, and alcohol, were all turned into triglycerides and are being stored in your fat cells.
The oil, margarine, butter and most other fats in your food are also triglycerides. I understand. This information can be too much to comprehend at one reading, so you need to go over this article again and again. Sometimes, it seems like you need a program to keep track of all the fat players in the story of heart disease.
This may be easiest to understand. Simply put, the triglycerides are fat in the blood that comes from the food you eat, which you are not aware, but may be the cause of your high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
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When you eat too much refined carbs, and reap the consequence of eating processed carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, pasta, snack foods, or ice cream, they strip away beneficial fiber. The process of refining a food, not only removes the fiber, but also removes much of its nutritional value.
Here is a list of common sources of refined carbohydrates
Pasta (especially white pasta)
Soft sandwich bread
Hamburger or hot dog buns
Although the triglycerides are important to life and are the main form of fat, called as lipids in the body, they are what we call as the end product of digesting and breaking down fats in food. Some are made in the body from other sources, such as carbohydrates.
The triglycerides stored in your fat cells will be released by your body’s hormones when you need to use energy between meals. If you have a surplus of these extras, they are being stored by the body in different places in case they are needed later. That would be the best time you can tap those calories.
Studies have consistently linked high triglycerides with heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Your doctor may give you a common test called a lipid panel.
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone 21 and older get a lipid panel at least every 5 years. The test is very important, because you will rarely see any symptoms when your triglycerides are high.
The good news is that you are able to lower your triglycerides on your own and improve your health. Here are the levels
Normal: less than 150 mg/dL
Borderline: 150 to 199 mg/dL
High: 200 to 499 mg/dL
Very high: 500 mg/dL or above
Elevated triglycerides may be a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Highly elevated triglycerides may cause fatty liver disease and pancreatitis, and can also be associated with diabetes, kidney disease, and the use of some medications.
They can be controlled to some extent through lifestyle modifications. For one, your alcohol consumption can raise the triglycerides and cause the liver to produce more fatty acids. Controlling the level is a lifelong challenge. Here are some ways you can follow
Regular routine fitness
Do not smoke
Stop drinking alcohol
Changes in your diet may include decreasing sugar intake, and definitely stop eating bread, pasta, and white rice until you successfully lower it. Limit or avoid foods with saturated fats and trans fats, such as fried foods, lard, butter, whole milk, ice cream, commercial baked goods, meats and cheese.
Try eating salmon, mackerel, sardines, lake trout, herring and albacore tuna, which are the sources of best fats. Understand that having a high triglyceride does not cause obesity, but rather, eating fatty foods causes the weight gain, as well as gives you high triglycerides. You can improve your weight by eating smaller portions and decreasing fat consumption.
Another way to lower your triglycerides is to increase your frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise. Having high triglycerides can be a sign you are becoming insulin resistant, and should watch your blood sugar levels, which may lead to pre-diabetes and eventually to a type 2 diabetes.
You may need to track everything you eat and maybe consult your doctor if you need a treatment medication combination to help you lower your triglycerides.
Poor eating habits can lead not only to high levels of fat in the bloodstream, which are the triglycerides, but also increases your storage of fat throughout the body, including in the liver.
A fatty liver does not usually cause symptoms, but unless reversed, it can lead to a permanent liver damage and cirrhosis.
If your triglycerides are very high, above 500 mg/dL, you are more likely to get inflammation in your pancreas. Inflammation of the pancreas can cause permanent tissue damage. Symptoms include abdominal pain, which may be severe.
Lower your triglycerides, minimize foods that raises your blood cholesterol and triglycerides
Saturated fat rich foods, such as butter, coconut oil, fatty meats, and dairy foods like cheese, cream, and whole or low fat milk
Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon and bologna
Trans fats or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
Cholesterol rich foods like egg yolks
Cut down or lower your salt intake with snack foods, such as potato chips
Cut down your sugar intake, the excess sugar is converted into triglycerides by the liver
Stop or minimize eating white rice
Focus on high fiber foods
Oat and rice bran
Raspberries and blackberries
Stop eating trans fats
Dietary changes, such as avoiding processed and sugary foods are paramount. Your doctor may also recommend taking the Omega 3 fatty acid supplements. Prescription of Omega 3 fatty acids may help lower your triglycerides, however the researchers do not know exactly how yet.