My doctor says that I have high triglycerides, and that I should begin to follow a diet to lower my triglyceride levels. How do I do this?

Triglycerides are a type of lipid (fat) found in our blood. While eating, we may consume more calories than our bodies need at that time, so additional calories are converted into triglycerides. If our bodies need extra energy between meals, hormones can release triglycerides and they can be used for energy. However, by consistently eat too many calories than our bodies need, we may end up with high triglyceride levels (hypertriglyceridemia). Having high triglycerides may cause our arteries to thicken or harden, which may increase our risk of heart disease or stroke.

There are several ways to reduce triglyceride levels. First make sure you are not consistently exceeding your calorie needs for the day. It can be helpful to get on the Healthy Balance website and click on “calculators” and then “nutritional needs calculator” to determine how many calories you need to consume a day. Next, limit sugars and simple starches. Choose brown rice over white rice, whole wheat bread and pasta over white, and limit hard candy, sugary pop, ice cream etc. Now focus your attention on your fat intake. If you find yourself eating large amounts of saturated fats (animal products like fatty red meat, butter, whole milk) switch to lean cuts of poultry or fish, choose soft tub margarine and use sparingly and switch to low fat dairy products. Exercise regularly. Try to shoot for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days during the week. Finally, add colorful fruits and vegetables. These are generally low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, which can also assist with weight loss if needed.

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