What can I do if I have high Trigs?

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High Triglycerides?

If you've been told that you have high triglycerides, you may be thinking:
What exactly are triglycerides? Does this mean I have heart disease?
How am I going to lower my triglyceride number?

Triglycerides are a form of fat found both in your body and in some foods.
When you eat, your body uses calories for energy. Leftover calories are turned
into triglycerides and stored in fat cells to be used later. People with high triglycerides,
also called "trigs," are often at increased risk for health issues,
such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The good news, however,
is that you can learn more about triglycerides and take an active role
to improve your health. Through diet, exercise and medication,
 you can lower your triglycerides and reduce your risks for heart disease.


What can I do if I have high Trigs?

Simple lifestyle changes can decrease trig levels by 50% or more, according to a recent AHA scientific statement on triglycerides and cardiovascular disease. Medication can also be effective. Work with your healthcare provider to come up with a plan that’s right for you, and try these recommendations from the AHA:

  • If you’re overweight, try to pare some excess pounds.
    Losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight can lower your triglyceride level by 20%.
     

  • Reduce your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Substitute healthy fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, such as canola oil and olive oil—for saturated fats.
     

  • Limit alcohol, especially if you have a very high trig level. Women should have no more than one drink per day; men should have no more than two.
     

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruit, veggies, nuts, whole grains and olive oil, can help lower trig levels by 10% to 15%.
     

  • Limit added sugars to fewer than 100 calories daily if you’re a woman and 150 calories if you’re a man. Cut back by drinking no more than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages per week.
     

  • Limit fructose from both processed foods and fruits to less than 50 to 100 grams per day. Fruits low in fructose include cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, peaches and bananas.
     

  • Work out for at least 30 minutes on five or more days each week. Aim for moderate-intensity activities, such as brisk walking, swimming or biking. Exercise may help lower your trigs by 20% to 30%.
     

  • Focus on fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as Atlantic herring, salmon, sardines and white tuna. Fatty acids may help lower your trig levels by 5% to 10%