High triglycerides have been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease. In fact, the American Heart Association has set triglyceride guidelines and maintain they should be below 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). If you don’t know your triglyceride levels, ask your health care professional for a lipid profile to determine them. If you find your trigylcerides are high, you may be able to lower them with foods, and foods that seem best at lowering trigylcerides include:
- Artichokes. You may have heard artichokes are a liver-cleansing food because they contain silymarin, which nourishes and protects the liver. However, artichokes may also help lower high cholesterol and triglycerides because of their flavonoids, particularly luteolin, which seems to prevent the oxidation of LDL “bad” cholesterol.
- Avocados. People often think avocados are bad because they are high in fat. Yet, avocado fat is primarily monounsaturated fat, and scientist believe monounsaturated fatty acids (MFA) lower cholesterol. A study conducted in Mexico at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social found participants on an MFA diet, had significant decreases in both cholesterol and trigylcerides. In fact, in the study, trigylcerides decreased 22 percent in participants with mild high blood cholesterol.
- Black Tea. Because high trigylercerides are so often associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, it’s a good thing black tea seems to help reduce cholesterol and trigylcerides. In fact, it apparently does more than that because a 2003 study by Columbia University researchers revealed men who drank black tea also experienced improved coronary blood flow within hours of drinking the tea.
- Cinnamon. A study published in Diabetes Care and conducted by Pakistan researchers, noted that “after 40 days,…cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18–29%), triglyceride (23–30%), LDL cholesterol (7–27%), and total cholesterol (12–26%) levels” in type 2 diabetes sufferers. Isn’t it amazing what a little spice can do?
- Fish. Most people know omega-3 fatty acids seem to offer heart-health benefits, and they do so in basically three ways: They emulisfy fat and arterial plaque; they improve elasticity in arterial walls and reduce your risk of hardened arteries; and, last but not least, they react positively with lipoproteins to supposedly raises your HDL “good” cholesterol and lowers your LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. One of the best source of omega-3s is fatty cold-water fish: cod, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna.
- Garlic. As smelly as it may be, garlic may be one of the best ways to lower trigylcerides. A study, conducted by Yu-Yan Yeh of Pennsylvania State University reported that a diet of 2 percent garlic, which is about three to four cloves of garlic daily, lowered the production of triglycerides in participants by as much as 30 percent.
- Green Tea. If you thought black tea was great for trigylcerides, green tea may be even better. Study after study has shown it seems to have health benefits, and one study postulates it may be better on the trigylerceride front than black tea because it prevents chronic inflammatory diseases.
- Guavas. If you never tried a guava, you should. I love them. They are full of fiber and vitamin C, and, one study, conducted in India, looked at the effects of guavas on cholesterol and blood pressure. Participants ate guava before each meal for twelve weeks. Researchers found “a significant net decrease in serum total cholesterol (9.9%), triglycerides (7.7%) and blood pressures…with a significant net increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (8.0%).”
- Jerusalem Artichokes. This is another great food to try if you haven’t. I did for the first time a couple of months ago, and I love them. They’re a great source of fiber and an awesome food for your gut because of their fructooligosaccharides and inulin, which is what “good” bacteria thrives on. In addition, to these benefits, a study, published in the American Society of Nutritional Sciences, found that inulin, which is also found in onions, garlic, leeks, and chicory, also “significantly” lowers trigylcerides.
- Peanuts. Nuts are often linked to good cardiovascular health, and peanuts are no different. One study, conducted by Purdue University and led by C.M. Alper, revealed regular peanut consumption lowered trigylercerides by 24 percent.
- Walnuts. Walnuts are an omega-3 food, and, whereas fish contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Supposedly, the body makes DHA and EPA from ALA, but not spectactularly, so, when you eat fish you increase your chances of getting proper amounts of EPA and DHA. Additionally, besides lowering trigylcerides, walnuts also seem to improve memory and a person’s well-being.
If you’re in the mood to do more than take medications to get your trigylcerides under control, it looks like nature may have provided a number of trigylceride-lowering foods. Artichokes, avocados, black and green tea, cinammon, guavas, Jerusalem artichokes, peanuts, and walnuts all seem to offer heart health benefits, and they seem to be much tastier and less riskier than traditional medications.