Like cholesterol, triglycerides are essential fats for the body to function properly because they are involved in the process of energy production. A high triglyceride level is nevertheless a marker of cardiovascular risk.
Triglycerides are lipids (fatty substances). They are formed in the intestine during the digestion and processing of the sugar and alcohol that we absorb in our food. Triglycerides are an important source of energy that will be used by our cells. In addition to their energy role, they also transport vitamins to the latter.
High triglycerides: what are the risks?
The level of triglycerides in the blood is considered to be normal when it is between 1.5 g and 2 g per liter of blood. This dosage is obtained by analyzing a blood sample, taken by taking blood from the fold of the elbow. The dosage, on the other hand, is identified as pathological when it exceeds 4 g / l. Beyond that, the cardiovascular risk is proven.
Indeed, when the triglycerides are in excess in the blood, the liver will store them in adipocytes (cells present in the abdominal belt). This will create abdominal fat. Triglycerides can then, like cholesterol, be dangerous for your heart.
Diet and physical activity help maintain normal levels
In addition, certain factors predispose to hypertriglyceridemia, such as overweight and obesity, an unbalanced diet or too rich in sugar, alcohol consumption, diabetes or genetic factors. It is therefore to assess cardiac risks that doctors regularly recommend its dosage in patients with these risk factors.
The best way to monitor your triglyceride levels is to actually have a blood test. If the blood level is too high, adopting a balanced diet while limiting certain foods (listed below), and practicing regular physical activity are generally sufficient to lower it. Otherwise, the doctor can look for an associated disease and prescribe drug treatment.
To lower triglycerides, avoid sugar
Your triglyceride level is closely related to your diet. Adopting an appropriate diet is therefore the surest way to avoid excess and, in fact, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction or stroke.
Thus, all foods rich in fast sugars should be avoided as much as possible. In this category, we find not only cakes, sweets, but also industrialized preparations (pizzas, quiches, frozen meals …), white bread or even fruit juices and sodas. It is preferable to give preference to slow sugars, which are qualitatively better, contained among others in whole-grain pasta and legumes.
Hypertriglyceridemia: alcohol should also be avoided
Alcohol should also be avoided, as it contains a lot of fermented carbohydrates. Too much consumption can therefore be the cause of a high triglyceride level. To avoid this pitfall, limit yourself to one serving per day, favoring if possible red wine, rich in polyphenols – antioxidants that have preventive effects on cardiovascular disease. And if our triglyceride levels are already high, it’s best to stop drinking alcohol altogether.
In addition, the dietitian-nutritionist Alexandra Retion specifies that “if the main foods that cause hypertriglyceridemia are alcohol and fast sugars, we can also advise to avoid eating too much fat and too many calories.”
Conversely, “we must give priority to unsaturated fatty acids such as those found in olive and rapeseed oils, as well as omega-3s such as in fatty fish, specifies the specialist.” And above all, it is essential to exercise as much as possible and to consume fruits and vegetables rich in fiber “.
Its recommendations are simple:
Use small amounts of meat, and prefer lean ones.
Eat fatty fish once a week, such as mackerel, sardines, or salmon.
Choose semi-skimmed dairy products instead of whole dairy products.
Cook your food without fat.
Prefer raw fats such as oils, to add to raw vegetables or to an already hot dish (but cooked without fat).
Always drink water, not sugary drinks.
Limit alcohol to one drink on special occasions.