Triglycerides are fatty acids found in your blood that serve as the basic building block of fats and are also a primary component of fats digested by the intestines. We should know methods to keep our triglycerides levels low in order to stay in better health condition
When it comes to cholesterol, we all know that there is good and bad cholesterol. But when it comes to your blood lipid profile, cholesterol is not the only fat that you need to watch out for. Our blood lipids do include total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (which is good), LDL cholesterol (which is bad) and triglycerides. I am sure that many of you know your cholesterol numbers or at least if it is good or bad, but only a few of you might remember your triglyceride number.
Triglycerides are fatty acids found in your blood that serve as the basic building block of fats and are also a primary component of fats digested by the intestines. When you go for a blood test, samples of blood that are taken are run through a centrifuge (called centrifugation), which separates the blood into its more basic components. At the bottom of the test tube lies the red blood cells, in the middle there is a thin layer of white blood cells and at the top of the sample is yellow plasma.
This yellow part is the serum that is the largest component in your blood that carries biochemical markers including lipids. When this clear, yellowish serum turns into a foggy, purulent one, it means that your blood is lipemic, meaning your blood fat is so high that it blurs the blood plasma. You might be surprised, but this purulent serum is caused by triglycerides instead of cholesterol.
A triglyceride is formed by two components, sugar and fat. Scientifically, a molecule of a block of glycerol joins with three fatty acid spindles to form a triglyceride molecule. When we consume excess calories, our body converts them into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells. As I mentioned, in lipemic blood, they also circulate around your body. Once they are stored in fat cells, they are released by hormonal signals if your body needs them for energy.
In the case of cardiac disease prevention, patients do not even pay enough attention to them most of the time unless these numbers are skyrocketing. Moreover, according to some studies, they are considered to be forgotten lipids at a doctor’s office. Although they do not receive as much attention as cholesterol levels, their levels are still important in predicting and preventing cardiovascular disease.
Research has shown that hypertriglyceridemia, meaning triglyceride levels higher than 200 mg/dL may increase the risk of all cardiovascular diseases. However, not only do triglyceride levels affect the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but their high levels might also affect the mechanism that controls and regulates your appetite. Research has also demonstrated that high triglyceride levels might suppress your satisfaction hormone, leptin. So, if you think that you are not satisfied enough after a meal, you should monitor your triglyceride levels to find a potential explanation to your predicament.
Lipemic blood may block leptin so that your brain will not process whether you are full or not. This in turn would cause you to eat more and gain weight. It is actually a lose-lose situation because the major cause of hypertriglyceridemia is obesity. Once this happens, it is really hard to break the cycle.
The major causes of high triglyceride levels are excessive weight and uncontrolled diabetes. Poor lifestyle habits should also be considered a major cause. If you are overweight and do not exercise enough, your triglyceride numbers will undoubtedly be higher. If you eat too many carbohydrates or drink too much alcohol, your numbers will skyrocket. If you consume too much sugary soda, your numbers will also alarm your doctor. Of course, there are other causes that could contribute to high triglyceride levels, including hypothyroidism, kidney disease and certain inherited lipid disorders.
Now, the most important question: How do you keep your triglyceride levels low? This question is often not well addressed in a physician’s office either, unfortunately. However, you can use the same methods that lower your cholesterol in order to help lower your triglyceride levels as well. But while incorporating these tips into your lifestyle, do not forget that once sugar and fat comes together, it will form triglycerides. So, be sure to separate them as much as possible while eating. A healthy diet mindful of cholesterol, which is one low in saturated fats, along with exercise can help to reduce high triglycerides.
In order to lower your triglycerides, start a weight loss plan that is suitable for you. Eat less by having smaller portions, limit high calorie foods, especially sugary foods, avoid consuming fruit juice, limit unhealthy fats especially trans fat – in fact, cut these fats out of your diet altogether – and limit alcohol, which really has a striking affect on your triglyceride levels. Start walking and be more active as well. Research has shown that about three hours of moderate exercise per week will reduce your triglyceride levels. I highly recommend you stop smoking as well.
If you want to know what to eat, then use the following list as a basic guide:
Salmon: It is full of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that consuming salmon might help lower your triglycerides and also fight hunger.
Beans: Legumes and beans are full of protein, fiber and flavor. Fiber cleans the fat from your intestinal wall, which reduces the absorption of fat and helps to slow digestion so that you feel fuller for longer.
Fruit: Not to be confused with fruit juice. Research has demonstrated that more fresh produce in your diet is linked to lower levels of triglycerides, especially the fruit that is rich in fiber such as apples and berries.
Olive oil: This golden oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which help lower the triglycerides in your blood. I encourage you to replace vegetable shortening with pure olive oil or extra virgin olive oil in your home.