What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are another type of fat that’s in your blood. When you eat, your body turns extra calories you don't need right away into triglycerides. That’s what gives you energy between meals. But any that’s not used can turn into extra fat in the belly or thighs. A high level of triglycerides may lead to heart disease. Normal triglyceride levels are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter. Over 200 is high. If your triglyceride level is in between, you may need treatment.
Careful eating can help
The best way to lower your cholesterol — and also triglycerides — is to eat healthy. Your doctor may suggest a special diet for you. But there are smart food choices anyone can make. This includes choosing lean meats, as well as foods that are low in fat and high in fiber. Here are some healthy food choices to help lower cholesterol:
- Limit foods that are high in saturated fats. These include meat, butter and full-fat dairy products. Choose (1%) or fat-free (skim) milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Try fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines instead of red meat. Just be sure to bake or steam your fish, don’t fry it.
- Opt for whole-grain breads, bagels and English muffins, as well as rolled oats, quinoa and barley.
- Eat all your vegetables — they’re high in fiber and antioxidants and low in calories. Dark, leafy greens, like kale and spinach are especially good for your heart.
- Enjoy lots of fruits, like berries, grapes, oranges and grapefruits. They’re rich in fiber, as well as vitamin C.
- Replace processed grains and meats with legumes. These are foods like beans, peas and lentils, which contain a lot of fiber, minerals and protein.
- Treat yourself to nuts and avocados, which are rich in healthy fats and fiber.
Regular exercise can also help you lower your cholesterol. A good goal is to get 30 minutes a day. But be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.