Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. Limiting saturated fats, added sugars, excessive alcohol, and refined carbohydrates can help lower a person’s triglyceride levels.
High levels of triglycerides can be a risk factor for various health conditions. Food choices are one of many factors that can impact triglyceride levels. Doctors may advise a person to change their diet to help lower their triglyceride levels.
This article looks at what triglycerides are, how to lower them, outlines a 7-day meal plan to help lower triglycerides, and looks at other ways to lower them.
Triglycerides are a lipid, or type of fat, in the body. The body stores most of its fat as triglycerides, making it the most common type of fat.
People can consume triglycerides directly through foods that contain fat, such as oil and butter. Additionally, when people consume more calories than they need from other foods, such as carbohydrates, the excess energy is converted to and stored as triglycerides.
Triglycerides are one of the main sources of energy in the body. But high levels of triglycerides in the blood
There are two desirable levels of fasting blood triglycerides. The first is lower than 75 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) for children under 10 years of age. The second is lower than 90 mg/dl for children older than 10 years and adults.
A doctor may diagnose someone with high triglycerides (or hypertriglyceridemia) if their fasting blood triglyceride levels are consistently
A balanced diet rich in whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help manage triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It is more important to establish sustainable diet and lifestyle changes rather than prioritizing or limiting singular foodstuffs.
However, in broad strokes, people should focus on eating the following foods to help manage their triglyceride levels:
- oily fish, like sardines and salmon
- all vegetables, especially leafy greens, green beans, and butternut squash
- all fruits, especially citrus fruits, and berries
- low fat or fat-free dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt, and milk
- high-fiber whole grains, such as quinoa, barley, and brown rice
- beans, nuts, and seeds, which contain fiber and unsaturated, healthy fats
The following tips may also help lower triglyceride levels.
- limit alcohol consumption
- limit added sugars to no more than 10% of their total daily calories
- keep carbohydrates to 50–60% or fewer of their total daily calories
- limit dietary fat to 25–35% of their total daily calories
- choose unsaturated fats from plant oils, nuts, and seeds over saturated and trans fats found in animal products and processed foods
A person can change their diet to reduce their levels of triglycerides. These changes may include:
Low carbohydrate diet
People looking to reduce triglycerides
If a person increases their dietary fiber intake, they can slow the absorption of fat and sugar in the small intestine. This decreases the levels of triglycerides in the blood. Research suggests that adults with overweight or obesity can lower their triglyceride levels and improve their overall health by increasing their fiber intake.
A person can consume more fiber by eating foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, legumes, cereals, and fruits.
A vegetarian diet can help reduce total cholesterol levels of low-density lipoproteins. However, some reviews claim that following a plant-based diet does not affect triglyceride levels.
Although some research indicates possible health benefits from a vegetarian diet, this does not mean all vegetarian diets are healthy. A well-planned, nutritious diet – vegetarian or otherwise – plays a role in maintaining a healthy body.
Here is an example of a meal plan to help reduce triglycerides. It is important to note that this is only an example of what someone might eat, as everyone’s nutritional and calorie needs are different.
- Breakfast: Old fashioned oats with low fat milk or plant milk, topped with berries and seeds.
- Lunch: Vegetable and lentil soup with whole grain crackers.
- Dinner: Tofu and butternut squash curry with cauliflower rice.
- Snack: A banana and almonds.
- Breakfast: Salmon, whole grain rye bread, and a poached egg.
- Lunch: Sardines in a whole grain wrap with a garden side salad and oil-based dressing.
- Dinner: Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice.
- Snack: A boiled egg and fresh fruit.
- Breakfast: Buckwheat pancakes with low fat yogurt and berries.
- Lunch: A spinach, avocado, and tomato salad with black beans and quinoa.
- Dinner: Vegetable and bean chili with a side of kale.
- Snack: Celery sticks and almond butter.
- Breakfast: Whole grain cereal with low fat or plant milk and fresh fruit.
- Lunch: Barley wrap with tuna, lettuce, and tomatoes.
- Dinner: Grilled salmon or mackerel with steamed vegetables and brown rice.
- Snack: Walnuts.
- Breakfast: Poached eggs on whole grain toast.
- Lunch: A tuna or chicken sandwich made with whole grain bread, hummus, and a garden side salad.
- Dinner: Grilled steak with steamed vegetables and mashed sweet potato.
- Snack: Fruit salad and low fat Greek yogurt.
- Breakfast: Whole grain toast with avocado and a hard-boiled egg or smoked salmon.
- Lunch: Chickpeas and quinoa over green salad.
- Dinner: Barley, vegetable, and chicken soup with whole grain crackers.
- Snack: A homemade smoothie made with low fat Greek yogurt and berries.
- Breakfast: Rolled oats with low fat or plant milk, topped with fresh fruit.
- Lunch: Sardine salad served on a whole grain bread roll, with a garden side salad.
- Dinner: Whole grain pasta with a tomato-based sauce and drained red kidney beans, and a garden side salad.
- Snack: Strawberries.
In addition to modifying their diet, a person can also do the following:
A 2019 study showed that people with heart disease who exercised for
Various supplements may help lower triglycerides. People should discuss supplement use with their doctor to avoid interactions with other medications. As the FDA does not regulate supplements and vitamins, people should be careful when trying a new one.
The following supplements may impact triglyceride levels:
- Curcumin: A
2017 reviewfound that curcumin supplements may cause a significant decrease in triglyceride and bad cholesterol, or LDL.
- Fish oil: These supplements are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which
studieshave found reduce triglycerides and other heart disease risk factors.
Researchfrom 2014 suggests that fenugreek seeds may help reduce blood triglycerides.
One animal studysuggests this herbal supplement could be as effective as prescription medication at reducing triglyceride levels.
- Garlic extract: Various
animal studieshave found garlic extract may help reduce triglyceride levels because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Triglycerides are a type of lipid, or fat, in the blood.
Low carbohydrate and high fiber diets that include oily fish can help lower triglycerides. Other ways to lower triglycerides include limiting added sugar intake, limiting alcohol, keeping carbohydrates to 50–60% or fewer of total daily calories, and limiting intake of saturated and trans fat. Regular exercise and certain supplements may also help control triglyceride levels.