You may know having high cholesterol is bad but may not know too much about triglycerides, which are the most common type of fat in your body. High triglycerides increase your risk of heart disease, and eating too much fat or too many calories contributes to high triglyceride levels. Making changes to your diet and eating healthy meals can help bring your triglyceride levels back to normal.
Meal Planning for High Triglycerides
To lower your triglycerides, eat meals that are calorie-controlled, low in fat and low in refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, soda, cake and cookies. That means including more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy in your diet. Talk to your doctor or dietitian to help you determine your daily calorie needs for a healthy weight. Foods rich in omega-3s, such as salmon, tuna, walnuts and flaxseeds, also help improve triglycerides. Alcohol increases triglyceride levels.
Fill Up on Fiber at Breakfast
Fiber is satiating, which is helpful when you're trying to eat fewer calories to lose weight and lower triglyceride levels. Plus, fiber in food helps you gain better control over your triglycerides, according to the University of Massachusetts Medical School. A healthy, high-fiber breakfast might include a bowl of oatmeal made with nonfat milk and mixed with raisins and flaxseeds and served with a fresh orange. Or you might enjoy a toasted whole-wheat English muffin topped with peanut butter and served a container of low-fat yogurt and a banana.
Focus on Plant Foods at Lunch
Foods high in saturated fat, such as red meat, whole milk and butter, raise triglyceride levels, so eat more plant-based meals to improve your numbers. A healthy lunch might include hummus stuffed into a whole-wheat pita with sprouts, sliced peppers and shredded carrot, served with tossed mixed greens topped with walnuts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, along with an apple and a container of low-fat yogurt. Or have a cup of minestrone soup with a whole-grain roll, a small wedge of low-fat cheese and a bowl of fresh melon.
Finish the Day Right
The American Heart Association recommends two servings of omega-3-rich fish a week for heart health. Dinner might include grilled tuna with roasted Brussels sprouts drizzled with olive oil and a side of millet. Another healthy option is a stir-fry made with chicken breast, broccoli, bok choy and carrots, lightly sauteed with vegetable oil and low-sodium soy sauce and served with brown rice.