Diet and lifestyle changes are the first line of defense when it comes to high triglycerides -- a type of fat carried in the blood that when elevated over time increases the risk of heart disease. The majority of the fats in your diet are in the form of triglycerides. In addition, when you eat excess calories or sugar, your body stores it in your fat cells in the form of triglycerides. Eating a nutritious diet that includes foods that promote healthy triglyceride levels can help decrease your heart disease risk.
Fish and Fatty Acids
Fish are rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that can lower triglycerides in the blood, according to a review published in the May 2012 issue of the journal "Biochemistry and Biophysics Acta." A pharmaceutical dose of 3.4 grams of fish oil daily reduces triglycerides 25 percent to 50 percent after one month, according to the review. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids reduce the amount of triglycerides your liver makes while increasing the amount your liver is able to get rid off.
Researchers in a Canadian study examined the effects of soy protein and isoflavones -- plant hormones found in soy -- on the triglyceride levels of participants over 50 years old. Twenty participants with high blood lipids ate a diet with 25 grams of soy protein for every 1,000 calories, either with or without isoflavones, for six weeks. The study found soy protein lowered triglycerides by 12 percent compared to animal protein. The soy isoflavones had no effect on triglycerides. The study was published in the April 2004 issue of the journal "Atherosclerosis."
Add Nuts to the Mix
Because nut consumption is linked to a reduced cardiovascular risk, researchers have studied the effect of eating nuts on blood lipids. One study gathered data from 25 trials conducted in seven countries, involving 583 men and women with normal and high cholesterol. Researchers found that consuming an average of 67 grams of nuts daily decreased triglycerides by 10 percent in individuals with high triglycerides. The study was published in the May 2010 issue of the "Archives of Internal Medicine."
Eating for Healthy Triglycerides
It's crucial to follow a diet filled with a wide variety of healthy foods. If you're interested in adding nuts to your diet, 67 grams is equivalent to 2.4 ounces. As for soy protein, you have various options such as tofu, edamame, soy nuts, natto, soybeans and soy meat substitutes. When it comes to fish, the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings each week if you're healthy. If you have high triglycerides, higher amounts can help, but you may not be able to get enough from diet alone, according to the association. Speak to your doctor about fish oil supplements if this is the case.
- Cleveland Clinic: Health & Prevention
- Biochemica et Biophysica Acta: Fish Oil -- How Does It Reduce Plasma Triglycerides?
- Atherosclerosis: Soy Protein Reduces Triglyceride Levels and Triglyceride Fatty Acid Fractional Synthesis Rate in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects
- Archives of Internal Medicine: Nut Consumption and Blood Lipid Levels: A Pooled Analysis of 25 Intervention Trials
- American Heart Association: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids