Today marks the first day of American Heart Month, the American Heart Association’s (AHA) annual campaign to raise awareness about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for heart disease. While I can’t say that the AHA and I always agree, I will be posting regularly about natural solutions for cardiovascular problems in coming weeks. So, please check back often for tips and advice.
Now, on to today’s subject: triglycerides.
High triglyceride levels are a common problem, but not a very well understood one. Triglycerides are a type of blood lipid usually monitored along with cholesterol levels. Although triglycerides don’t get the same kind of attention as cholesterol, they are just as important—if not more so.
When triglycerides levels are high, it means that you’re consuming too much fat and sugar in your diet. The body combines this excess fat and sugar to form triglycerides and then stores them around your gut and muscles (think flabby arms).
Lowering your triglyceride levels often requires the same tactics needed to lower your cholesterol levels. Here are two ways to get started lowering your triglycerides and, in turn, your risk of heart disease:
- Cut the sugar. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sugar is slow suicide. Foods containing high fructose corn syrup and high-carbohydrate, high-glycemic meals, especially, lead to the formation of triglycerides in the liver.
- Eliminate fat. Specifically, cut vegetable fat and highly processed trans fatty acids. Avoid margarine, cooking oils, and fried foods. These kinds of fats oxidize with cholesterol and collect along artery walls. Natural fats high in omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, grass-fed beef, avocados, seeds and nuts, are friendlier fats for optimal heart health. Learn more about which cooking oils are best for which uses.
Watching your triglycerides is not just beneficial for a healthier heart, but it could prevent the onset of diabetes and obesity.