7. Eat Fatty Fish Twice Weekly
Fatty fish is well known for its benefits on heart health and ability to lower blood triglycerides.
This is mostly due to its content of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that is considered essential, meaning you need to get it through your diet.
Both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Heart Association recommend eating two servings of fatty fish per week.
In fact, doing so can decrease the risk of death from heart disease by 36 percent (22).
A 2016 study showed that eating salmon twice a week significantly decreased blood triglyceride concentrations (23).
Salmon, herring, sardines, tuna and mackerel are a few types of fish that are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Summary: Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating two servings per week can decrease the risk of heart disease and reduce triglyceride levels.
8. Increase Your Intake of Unsaturated Fats
Studies show that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can reduce blood triglyceride levels, especially when they are replacing other types of fat.
Monounsaturated fats are found in foods like olive oil, nuts and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are present in vegetable oils and fatty fish.
One study analyzed what 452 adults had eaten over the past 24 hours, focusing on several types of saturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Researchers found that saturated fat intake was associated with increased blood triglycerides, while polyunsaturated fat intake was associated with lower blood triglycerides (24).
Another study gave elderly participants four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily for six weeks. For the duration of the study, this was the only source of added fat in their diets.
The results showed a significant decline in triglyceride levels, as well as total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, compared to the control group (25).
To maximize the triglyceride-lowering benefits of unsaturated fats, pick a healthy fat like olive oil and use it to replace other types of fat in your diet, such as trans fats or highly processed vegetable oils (21).
Summary: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can decrease blood triglyceride levels, especially when they are consumed in place of other fats.
9. Establish a Regular Meal Pattern
Insulin resistance is another factor that can cause high blood triglycerides.
After you eat a meal, the cells in your pancreas send a signal to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is then responsible for transporting glucose to your cells to be used for energy.
If you have too much insulin in your blood, your body can become resistant to it, making it difficult for insulin to be used effectively. This can lead to a build-up of both glucose and triglycerides in the blood.
Fortunately, setting a regular eating pattern can help prevent insulin resistance and high triglycerides.
However, the evidence is mixed when it comes to meal frequency.
A 2013 study demonstrated that eating three meals per day significantly decreased triglycerides, compared to eating six meals per day (28).
On the other hand, another study showed that eating six meals per day led to a greater increase in insulin sensitivity than eating three meals per day (29).
Regardless of how many meals you're eating daily, eating regularly can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood triglyceride levels.
Summary: While research is unclear on how meal frequency affects blood triglyceride levels, studies show that setting a regular meal pattern can decrease many heart disease risk factors and prevent insulin resistance.
10. Limit Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is high in sugar and calories.
If these calories remain unused, they can be converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
Although a variety of factors come into play, some studies show that moderate alcohol consumption can increase blood triglycerides by up to 53 percent, even if your triglyceride levels are normal (30).
Summary: Some studies suggest that limiting your alcohol intake can help lower blood triglyceride levels.
11. Add Soy Protein to Your Diet
Particularly, soy protein has been shown to reduce blood triglyceride levels.
A 2004 study compared how soy and animal proteins affected triglycerides. After six weeks, soy protein was found to decrease triglyceride levels by 12.4 percet more than animal protein (37).
Similarly, an analysis of 23 studies found that soy protein was associated with a 7.3 percent decline in triglycerides (38).
Soy protein can be found in foods like soybeans, tofu, edamame and soy milk.
Summary: Soy contains compounds associated with several health benefits. Eating soy protein in place of animal protein can reduce blood triglycerides.
12. Eat More Tree Nuts
Tree nuts provide a concentrated dose of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats, all of which work together to lower blood triglycerides.
One analysis of 61 studies showed that each serving of tree nuts decreased triglycerides by 2.2 mg/dL (0.02 mmol/L) (39).
Another analysis including 2,226 participants had similar findings, showing that eating tree nuts is associated with a modest decrease in blood triglycerides (40).
Tree nuts include:
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
Keep in mind that nuts are high in calories. A single serving of almonds or about 23 almonds, contains 163 calories, so moderation is key.
Summary: Nuts contain many heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. Studies suggest that including between 3–7 servings of tree nuts per week can decrease blood triglycerides.
13. Try a Natural Supplement
Several natural supplements could have the potential to lower blood triglycerides.
Below are a few of the main supplements that have been studied:
- Fish oil: Well known for its potent effects on heart health, one study found that taking fish oil supplements reduced triglycerides by 48 percent (44).
- Fenugreek: Though traditionally used to stimulate milk production, fenugreek seeds have also been shown to be effective at reducing blood triglycerides (45).
- Garlic extract: Several animal studies have shown that garlic extract can reduce triglyceride levels, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties (46, 47, 48).
- Guggul: This herbal supplement has shown promise in decreasing triglyceride levels when used with nutrition therapy in patients with high cholesterol (49).
- Curcumin: A 2012 study found that supplementing with a low dose of curcumin can cause a significant drop in blood triglycerides (50).
Summary: Several supplements have been studied for their ability to lower triglyceride levels, including fish oil, fenugreek, garlic extract, guggul and curcumin.
The Bottom Line
Diet and lifestyle factors have a major influence on your blood triglycerides.
Choosing healthy, unsaturated fats in place of trans fats, decreasing your intake of carbs and exercising regularly may help lower your blood triglycerides in no time.
With a few simple lifestyle modifications, you can decrease your triglycerides and improve your overall health at the same time.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.