Know your heart: Triglycerides
You know you need to be conscious of your cholesterol levels and your blood pressure, but here’s another heart-health number you should know by heart: your triglyceride levels.
Triglycerides are a type of lipid, or fat, found in your blood. When you eat, the calories that your body doesn’t need are converted into triglycerides. While your body needs triglycerides, if your levels are too high, you may increase your risk of heart disease.
Keep your triglyceride levels in check with these tips
Maintain a healthy weight
Need another reason to reach a healthy body mass index (BMI)? Losing 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight could cut triglyceride levels by 20 percent.
Exercise helps to slow down production of triglycerides in your liver. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise – anything that gets you moving and that you like doing – each week.
Eat good fats
It may seem counter intuitive to eat fat for healthy triglyceride levels. Healthy fats are important tools in your quest for heart health. Long chain omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, can help lower triglyceride levels. If you don’t eat fish, consider a daily omega-3 EPA and DHA supplement or foods and beverages fortified with high-quality fish oil like MEG-3.
If you haven’t quit smoking, get to it. It’s not just your lungs that cough when you inhale cigarette smoke – your heart coughs too. If you need one more reason to quit, losing your cigarette habit will help to lower your triglyceride levels.
Be sure to consult your health care practitioner before changing your diet and exercise regimen – they’ll also be able to check your triglyceride levels.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I would consider myself “Heart Smart.” I understand that having a healthy lifestyle can support the health of my heart.
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