What are triglycerides, anyway? This is the question on almost everyone’s mind when they first read their cholesterol test report.Well, you know how a camel stores nutrition in its hump to survive long periods without food and water? We humans do something similar – but in a smaller scale.
The calories from the carbohydrates and the fats that we consume are stored in tiny molecules called triglycerides.What we need at the moment is used up by the cells and the rest is put away for later in fat cells (you know — the ones that accumulate around the gut, love handles and so on) for use in times when food may is scare.
While this is a basic survival mechanism that served the early human race well to get through lean times, for most of us modern beings, not finding food is not as much of an issue.It is believed that if the triglycerides accumulate in excess amounts and are not used up, then they could eventually result in heart disease.
The exact link between triglycerides levels and heart disease is yet unknown, but it is best to maintain your triglycerides within the normal range, just to be on the safe side.
Optimal Triglycerides LevelsLess than 100 mg/dL (Less than 1.14 mmol/L)Even though the earlier recommendation for normal levels of triglycerides was 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L) or less, in April 2011, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendation to 100 mg/dL (1.14 mmol/L) or less.
The recommendation goes so far as to suggest intensive diet and lifestyle changes for people with borderline high triglycerides level.The influence of just elevated triglycerides levels on the probability of heart attack or stroke is not clearly understood.
However, it is believed that elevated triglyceride levels, in conjunction with high LDL cholesterol levels are responsible for much greater risk of a person suffering from heart disease.If your triglycerides levels are in this range, then congratulation! Continue to eat a healthy, low cholesterol foods and maintaining an active lifestyle to keep the triglycerides levels from creeping up on you.
Borderline High Triglycerides Levels100 – 199 mg/dL (1.14 – 2.25 mmol/L)If your triglycerides are in this range, then you need not worry (yet), but need to start making some changes right away to get them into the optimal range.
According to the American Heart Association, the expert recommendation is to target a weight loss of around 5% and to restrict the carbohydrate intake to less than 60% of your daily calorie consumption.
Reducing the weight by at least 5 – 10% not only helps with reduce your triglycerides by about 20%, but also helps lower the LDL levels by around 15% and increase HDL cholesterol levels by about 8%.In addition to the weight loss, the AHA recommends that you should limit the sugars you consume to less than 10% of your daily caloric intake.
High Triglycerides Levels200 – 499 mg/dL (2.26 – 5.65 mmol/L)If your triglycerides is in this category, you should target a weight loss of around 5 – 10%. As listed above the benefits of reduced weight loss is not just a reduction in your triglycerides, but also a reduction in your LDL levels and increase in HDL levels, decreasing your overall risk for heart disease significantly.
Experts recommend that you also limit your carbohydrate intake to less than 50% of your daily calorie consumption and the added sugars that you consume should account for less than 5 – 10% of your everyday calories.
In addition to these diet changes, it is highly recommended that you increase your activity level and ensure that you have moderate intensity exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes each week. If you can exercise more, it is be even better.
Check out the free eBook you received when you signed up for our cholesterol awareness pledge (if you have not signed up yet, check out the right sidebar for the page to receive no obligation, free resources to help you combat cholesterol issues) for ways to increase your activity levels as you go about your everyday activities.
Very High Triglycerides Levels500 mg/dL or above (5.65 mmol/L or above)If you are in this category, you need to stop and think hard about what not making any of the recommended changes would mean, and if it is worth the risk.
The recommended changes are similar to that for folks in the high triglycerides levels category, which means that you need to start making these changes and stick with it until your triglycerides come back to optimal or at the worst, borderline high.
Aim for more than 10% weight loss and cut your carbs to less than 45% of your daily caloric intake. Trim down the sugar you consume and exercise more rigorously. Avoid all high cholesterol foods and forego alcohol consumption.
Finally, talk to your doctor if it is necessary to add medication to help bring the triglycerides to lower levels. Read more about Normal Cholesterol Levels here:http://normal-cholesterol-levels.netMore information here!