LDL, HDL & Triglycerides. Maybe you are not interested in knowing all this scientific talk, but you do need to know how to keep your heart healthy.
So what are Triglycerides anyway?
Triglycerides link to excess blood sugars from the food you eat and whisk them to fat cells for long-term storage. But when levels get too high, triglycerides can also become the raw material for LDLs, making them another dangerous actor in the heart disease drama.
Newer studies suggest that triglycerides alone can predict a heart’s risk for heart disease.
Smoking, drinking, eating too many refined carbs (including sugar or corn syrup), and being overweight can all elevate triglycerides.
Here are some strategies to help reduce your Triglyceride levels:
Have a “natural” whole-grain at dinner every night
Try brown rice, whole-wheat couscous, barley, even quinoa. Simply choosing whole grains instead of the refined type (think white bread) could cut your risk of heart attack by 30 percent.
Enjoy Mother Nature’s desserts
We’re talking about fruit – fresh, frozen (without syrup), canned in its own juice, or dried. Yes, fruit does have fructose, but in smaller quantities than high-fructose corn syrup has. And, fruit brings you a wealth of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and a host of antioxidants. Have a piece for dessert most evenings.
Avoid “liquid Candy”
We are talking about high-sugar sodas, processed fruit juices, and sweetened ice teas. Switch to seltzer with a splash of orange juice or lemon, plain water, or, if you just love soda, try the diet version.
Always read the label
Even applesauce, stewed tomatoes, and pasta sauces may contain corn syrup. Usually, there is a corn syrup free version right next to it on the shelf so make sure you are reading the labels on what you purchase.
Set an alcoholic drink limit
The limit for women is one drink; for men, two. If your triglyceride level is in the healthy range, the one/two-drink rule is fine. If you triglycerides are high, cut out alcohol all together, since it can actually raise triglyceride levels. Even small amounts can send levels soaring in some people.
If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight – just 10 to 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds – will reduce your triglycerides by about 20 percent.
If you have high triglycerides, getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical acitivity most days of the week may lower your triglyceride levels. Exercise is also an important part of keeping your weight under control.
Eat a moderately low-fat diet
You may be surprised to learn that diets that are extremely low in fat are not as effective at lowering triglycerides as diets moderately low in fat. Experts recommend that people with high triglycerides get about 25 to 35 percent of their daily calories from fat. How do you know you are getting the right amount of fat? For someone who eats 2,000 calories a day, 30 percent is 600 calories. At 9 calories per gram, that’s about 67 grams of fat a day. But remember, not all fat is created equal. Cut Back on Saturated fats and replace trans fat with healthier fats found in things like olive oil, nuts and salmon.
I hope you found a few ways today that you can start immediately to improve your odds of avoiding heart problems in the future.
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