Reducing your triglycerides to less than 150 milligrams per deciliter can greatly decrease your risk of having heart issues later on in life, the American Heart Association explains. Exercise regularly and make variations in your diet, cutting out alcohol, processed junk foods and tobacco. You won’t get to that optimal triglyceride level overnight, but by making several lifestyle changes, you can quickly start to lower your triglycerides within several months.
Exercise is one of the fastest ways to lower your triglycerides. More exercise even raises your high-density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol that brings down your total cholesterol. By exercising frequently, you’ll be making baby steps in the right direction every time you tie up your laces. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every night, rather just focus on being more active, especially if you’re relatively sedentary. Even brisk walking for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week can help, reports the University of Rochester Medical Center. Plus, exercise can help you burn calories to lose weight, further helping you decrease triglycerides. If you’re new to exercising, though, you’ll need to get clearance from your doctor first.
Cut Back on Bad Fats
Cut back on saturated and trans fats in your diet. These bad fats elevate your triglycerides, as well as your low-density lipoprotein, the harmful cholesterol known to clog arteries. By keeping your saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of your calories and trans fats to less than 1 percent of your calories, you’ll be on a path to lowering your triglycerides and overall cholesterol level. For a 2,000-calorie daily diet, you shouldn’t have any more than 15 grams of saturated fat and 2 grams of trans fat, suggests the American Heart Association.
Get More Good Fats
Not all fats are bad for your triglyceride level. If you cut out fat and consume more carbohydrates, you can actually increase your triglycerides. You need to have plenty of mono- and polyunsaturated fats in your diet, particularly omega-3s, a type of polyunsaturated fat. Olive oil, avocados, canola oil, nuts and seeds are just some of the foods you should be consuming to get more mono- and polyunsaturated fats. You’ll get omega-3s from fatty fish -- mackerel, sardines, tuna, herring and salmon -- and from flaxseeds. Fat should account for 25 percent to 35 percent of your calories for optimal heart health, with mono- and polyunsaturated fats making up the majority of your intake. For 2,000 calories, aim for 56 to 78 grams daily, the American Heart Association states.
If your triglycerides are dangerously high, over 500 milligrams per deciliter, your physician might suggest medications to bring them down, especially if exercise isn’t an option for you. You can take a concentrated dose of niacin, a type of B vitamin, to lower your triglycerides and bring your total cholesterol down to a safe range. You’ll want to take the prescription variety, however, since the over-the-counter type of niacin may not be the right dosage. Your doctor could also suggest taking an omega-3 supplement to minimize your triglycerides, in addition to your total cholesterol. Fibrates are another type of medication to consider. Their primary function is to lower your triglycerides, although they sometimes improve both the HDL and LDL cholesterol numbers, too.