8 Simple Drug-Free Ways to Lower Your Triglycerides

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With all the hoopla about cholesterol and heart disease, the dangers of having elevated triglycerides in the blood are often overlooked. But in fact, having high levels of these fats in your blood stream can be as dangerous as having high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

High levels of triglycerides have been linked with liver and other organ damage, as well as blocked blood flow to the heart and brain, which can cause heart attack or stroke.

“Very high triglycerides can cause swelling of the pancreas, the organ that produces digestive juices that absorb food, causing pancreatitis,” Dr. Matthew Budoff, professor of medicine at UCLA and Endowed Chair of Preventative Cardiology, tells Newsmax Health.

“This can lead to severe belly pain, fever, and vomiting. If the digestive juices leak outside the pancreas, it can be life-threatening.

About 25 percent of adults in the U.S. have elevated blood triglycerides which is classified as levels over 200mg/dL. High levels are part of the condition called metabolic syndrome which includes high blood pressure, increased belly fat, and low HDL.

The combination of two of these symptoms, along with elevated triglycerides, increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes five times.

Obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, regular alcohol use, and a high-calorie diet all contribute to raising the levels of blood triglycerides. Medication may be needed to lower and control these levels, but there are also natural ways to approach the condition:

Lose weight. When you eat more calories than you need, your body turns those calories into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells. Research shows that losing even a modest 5-10 percent of your body weight can decrease blood triglycerides by 40mg/dL.

Limit your sugar intake. While the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar daily, the average American eats about 19 teaspoons a day. Watch for hidden sugar that lurks in juices, soft drinks, and sweets.

Follow a low-carb diet. Much like sugar and fat, extra carbs in your body are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells. One prominent study examined folks who followed either a low or high carbohydrate diet for a year. The group that ate a low-carb diet not only lost more weight but had greater reduction in blood triglycerides. Another study compared low-carb and low-fat diets and found that the low-carb group dropped an impressive 38 mg/dL in only six months while the low-fat group saw only a 7 mg/dL reduction.

Limit alcohol intake. Since alcohol is high in both sugar and calories, even moderate alcohol consumption can increase blood triglyceride levels by as much as 53 percent, according to research.

Exercise regularly. HDL has an inverse relationship with triglyceride levels. In other words, high levels of HDL can push down triglycerides. Aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, bicycling or swimming for at least 30 minutes, five days a week, can increase your HDL levels, says the AHA.

Try aged garlic extract (AGE). This natural compound has many beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, including the ability to lower triglycerides, says Budoff. “This is a consistent effect across multiple studies, showing typically a 15-20 percent reduction,” he says. “We have also demonstrated that AGE slows down the progression of coronary plaque and induces the regression of soft plaque that is the earliest and most vulnerable cause of heart disease.” Other beneficial supplements include fish oil and curcumin.

Eat more fiber. Including more fiber — found in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, cereals, and legumes — in your diet decreases the absorption of fat and sugar in your intestines. This helps to lower the amount of triglycerides that gets into your blood.

Avoid trans fats. Studies have shown that people who eat this type of fat that’s often added to processed foods to increase their shelf life have significantly higher levels of triglycerides than those who eat a diet high in unsaturated fat. Since a diet high in trans fats can also increase your risk of heart disease, Budoff says it’s wise to limit your consumption of processed, baked, and fried foods.

© 2018 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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