According to the American Heart Association, one level of triglycerides of approximately 200 to 500 milligrams per deciliter of blood is considered "high" and puts the body at serious risk of suffering health problems. If high triglyceride levels are caused by diet, medications or genetics, you will need to talk with your doctor about a low triglyceride diet.
Cleveland Clinic identifies triglycerides as "fats carried by the blood of the food we eat." Although both cholesterol and triglycerides are considered "lipids", only triglycerides are considered "fats". Your body accumulates triglycerides in two ways. You can consume triglycerides directly from certain foods or you can convert other substances into triglycerides. The body converts excess calories into triglycerides for the storage of fat cells. Between meals, the body breaks down triglycerides of energy as needed.
The health risks associated with high triglyceride levels are heart attack, heart disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke. The exact reason for the relationship between high triglyceride levels and these diseases remains unclear. However, there is no speculation that triglycerides harden or thicken the arterial walls, obstructing blood flow. High levels of triglycerides are also associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.
Meals to avoid
On a diet low in triglycerides, avoid foods high in simple sugars and refined grains. Foods rich in simple sugars include honey, molasses, fruit drinks, soft drinks, candy, cookies, ice cream, gelatin, granola bars and pastries, among many other desserts and sweets. Avoid refined grains by choosing cereals, crackers and whole grain breads. When it comes to reducing triglycerides, you should also avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans-saturated fats, such as butter, margarine, shortening, whole milk dairy products and fried foods. In addition, Cleveland Clinic explains that "alcoholic beverages are a significant contributor to elevated triglyceride levels."
Food to eat
According to the Cleveland Clinic, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help lower triglyceride levels. To achieve this healthy benefit, include salmon, tuna, tilapia, sardines, soy, flaxseed oil, walnuts and canola seeds in your daily diet. In addition, eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meats and drink plenty of water.
Tips for a low triglyceride diet
In addition to avoiding foods high in triglycerides, it is also important to remember that the body converts other substances into triglycerides.Since all the excess calories become this dangerous fat, try to reduce the daily caloric intake. The Baylor College of Medicine website can help you determine your daily caloric needs based on your age, current body measurements and activity levels. Throughout the day, divide the calories into smaller and more frequent ones instead of two or three large meals. Exercise for at least 30 or 60 minutes almost every day of the week to decrease the conversion of triglycerides in the body.