Triglycerides are an important measure of heart health. Here’s why triglycerides matter — and what to do if your triglycerides are too high.
If you’ve been keeping an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, there’s something else you might need to monitor: your triglycerides. Having a high level of triglycerides, a type of fat (lipid) in your blood, can increase your risk of heart disease. However, the same lifestyle choices that promote overall health can help lower your triglycerides, too. What are triglycerides? Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, particularly “easy” calories like carbohydrates and fats, you may have high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia).
What’s considered normal?
A simple blood test can reveal whether your triglycerides fall into a healthy range. -Normal — Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or less than 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) -Borderline high — 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L) -High — 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3 to 5.6 mmol/L) -Very high — 500 mg/dL or above (5.7 mmol/L or above)
Your doctor will usually check for high triglycerides as part of a cholesterol test (sometimes called a lipid panel or lipid profile). You’ll have to fast for nine to 12 hours before blood can be drawn for an accurate triglyceride measurement.
Nutrition professionals have an excellent track record of demonizing healthy foods.
Red meat, cheese, coconut oil… to name a few. But the #1 worst example is their decades of propaganda against eggs, which are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Eggs do NOT Cause Heart Disease
Historically, eggs have been considered unhealthy because they contain cholesterol.
A large egg contains 212mg of cholesterol, which is a lot compared to most other foods.
However, it has been proven, time and time again, that eggs and dietary cholesterol do NOT adversely affect cholesterol levels in the blood. In fact, eggs raise HDL (the good) cholesterol. They also change LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL (which is bad) to large LDL, which is benign.
A new meta-analysis published in 2013 looked at 17 prospective studies on egg consumption and health. They discovered that eggs had no association with either heart disease or stroke in otherwise healthy people.
This isn’t new data. Multiple older studies have led to the same conclusion. Bottom Line: Despite the fear mongering of the past few decades, eating eggs and cholesterol has no association whatsoever with heart disease.
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally. And one of the major culprits involved — in arteriosclerosis, for example — is cholesterol. There is therefore a considerable need for an effective method of treatment against increased cholesterol. Now, Danish researchers have made a discovery that may change how it is treated.
The researchers have identified a new so-called receptor system, located in all the cells in the body. The receptor, which is called sortilin, has a decisive influence on the protein PCSK9, which is of great importance for the body’s ability to deal with the harmful LDL cholesterol. New strategy for cholesterol treatment
Ten years ago it was discovered that the level of LDL cholesterol fell if you inhibited PCSK9. PCSK9-inhibiting drugs have since become the new hope within cholesterol treatment and the first products will probably be approved this year. The discovery is one of the biggest biomedical success stories in recent times, as it is normally takes 20 years before basic research can be converted into a product. The high pace and great focus on the effect has, however, meant that only a few people have conducted research into how the body itself regulates PCSK9. Possible alternative to statins
The positive effect of inhibiting sortilin has been demonstrated in mice and studies in humans suggest that the same correlation is present here. The next step is now larger studies on humans. The hope is that the discovery can be used to develop medicine that can act as an alternative to statins, which are the most widely used cholesterol-reducing medication. Particularly because not everyone can either tolerate or benefit from statins.
Your lifestyle has the single greatest impact on your HDL cholesterol or “good” cholesterol. Even small changes to your daily habits can help you meet your HDL target. -Choose healthier fats. A healthy diet includes some fat, but there’s a limit. In a heart-healthy diet, between 25 and 35 percent of your total daily calories can come from fat — but saturated fat should account for less than 7 percent of your total daily calories. Avoid foods that contain saturated and trans fats, which raise LDL cholesterol and damage your blood vessels. -Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit. Quitting smoking can increase your HDL cholesterol by up to 10 percent. Quitting isn’t easy, but you can increase your odds of success by trying more than one strategy at a time. Talk with your doctor about your options for quitting. -Lose weight. Extra pounds take a toll on HDL cholesterol. If you’re overweight, losing even a few pounds can improve your HDL level. For every 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) you lose, your HDL may increase by 1 mg/dL (0.03 mmol/L). If you focus on becoming more physically active and choosing healthier foods — two other ways to increase your HDL cholesterol — you’ll likely move toward a healthier weight in the process. -Get more physical activity. Within two months of starting, frequent aerobic exercise can increase HDL cholesterol by about 5 percent in otherwise healthy sedentary adults. Your best bet for increasing HDL cholesterol is to exercise briskly for 30 minutes five times a week. Examples of brisk, aerobic exercise include walking, running, cycling, swimming, playing basketball and raking leaves — anything that increases your heart rate. You can also break up your daily activity into three 10-minute segments if you’re having difficulty finding time to exercise.
Dietary modifications combined with weight loss can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 20 to 30 percent. Heart-healthy diets promote fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and limit foods high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. Vegetable shortening and any item made with hydrogenated oil contains trans fat and should be avoided. What sets heart-healthy diets apart from others is the emphasis on good fats, such as those found in fish, nuts, olive oil, avocados, and seeds. When used in place of saturated and trans fats, these oils—known as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats—can help reduce cholesterol. Some research also indicates that avoiding refined carbs may boost “good” HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Refined carbohydrates include white rice, white bread, soft drinks, and baked goods. People who are obese—having a body mass index more than 30—tend to have lower levels of “good” HDL and higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides than people of normal weight. Losing weight can help bring your good cholesterol up and your bad cholesterol down. Research shows that for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight that an obese or overweight person loses, they may be able to raise their HDL by .35 mg/dL.
Some research suggests that what you eat to lose weight may also affect your cholesterol outcome. According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who ate a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet high in plant-based protein (such as tofu, beans, and nuts) had the biggest LDL-lowering benefit compared to people who lost weight on other kinds of diets.
These four super-foods increase your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good cholesterol,” which will help lower your risk for heart disease Salmon
HDL rose four percent in adults who ate two 115-gram servings of salmon a week for four weeks, according to a Loma Linda University study. Eggs
Adults who ate an egg every day for 12 weeks increased HDL as much as 48 percent, according to a study from Thailand. Why? They have tons of lecithin. Dark chocolate
A study found that 100 grams of dark chocolate daily raises HDL by nine percent. That’s 550 calories; luckily, 15 grams helps too, say researchers. Berries
They needn’t be fresh, just plentiful: HDL levels rose five percent when adults ate about a cup (250 mL) of frozen berries a day for eight weeks.
An artery becomes clogged when a buildup of plaque forms on the inner walls. Plaque consists of calcium, fat, cholesterol and cellular waste. If you have clogged arteries due to poor diet and lifestyle choices, you are at an increased risk of having a heart attack, stroke or suffering from heart failure. Speak to your doctor about natural ways to clean the arteries, like: -Eat healthy fats. All fats are not created equal. To clean arteries out naturally, your daily fat intake should come from healthy sources that are high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Food examples to incorporate in your diet are fish, nuts, avocado, seeds and olive oil. -Get rid of foods from your diet high in saturated fat. Eliminate vegetable oil, fried foods, fast food, crackers, pastries, cookies, fatty cuts of beef and gravies from your diet. -Exercise on a daily basis. Cardiovascular exercise can be part of your lifestyle changes to naturally get rid of plaque in the arteries. Most days of the week, you should exercise a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes.