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What to do in high triglycerides

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Hi, I am Preeti, age 49. I recently got my blood test done and found my triglycerides 353. What does it reflects and what should I do?

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What are Triglycerides?

They are a type of fat (lipid) found in the blood. They are important to measure of heart health. Triglycerides are necessary for our health but in excess amount, they may be harmful and increase the risk of heart disease.

Why do they Rise?

When we eat more sugars or starches than we need (particularly from high-carbohydrate foods), the body stores those calories in the form of triglycerides, which can be used later by the body for energy. For your information, Triglycerides store unused calories and provide your body with energy whereas Cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones in the body. The normal range of triglycerides is 150-200 mg/dl.

All those individuals who are overweight, diabetic, eat too many sweets, drink too much alcohol or consume more sugar content on a regular basis have high triglyceride levels in the body.

How is High Triglycerides harmful to us ?– High triglycerides lead to thickening of the artery walls (arteriosclerosis) which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. Extremely high triglycerides can also cause pancreatitis ( disease of Pancreas ) . High triglycerides are often a sign of other conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, including obesity, metabolic syndrome and hypothyroidism. Sometimes high levels can be a side effect of taking certain medications. 

How do I Control or reduce Triglycerides?

To maintain the levels of Triglycerides, one should:

  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 mins. Regular exercise can lower triglycerides and increase good cholesterol.
  • Cut down the intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as sooji (semolina), maida (refined flour), foods made with too much sugar.
  • Include more of complex carbohydrates such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. You can include Oats, Barley, brown rice, whole wheat flour, kala chana, rajma, lobia, whole pulses, vegetables, etc. Also, take 1 tsp flax seeds and one garlic clove every day.
  • Choose healthy fats found in plants, such as olive and canola oils. Instead of red meat, try fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon). Avoid trans fats or foods with hydrogenated oils or fats.
  • Cut down the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is calorie dense and sugar and has a particularly potent effect on triglycerides.
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