Did the headline of this blog throw you off? Probably. While there is a national holiday for everything, triglycerides aren’t something you celebrate. But sometimes, celebrating a national holiday means shining the spotlight on a health concern you might not think about as much as you should. Do you know your triglycerides levels? Are they healthy?
Triglycerides aren’t the same as cholesterol, although they are both lipids in the blood. They store calories and give you energy. You want healthy levels. But high levels of triglycerides can be a risk factor for heart disease. A simple blood test can tell you how you’re doing. Blood sugar, cholesterol, weight, your thyroid and medication can all impact your levels of triglycerides.
To “celebrate” this holiday, talk to your doctor about whether or not you get your triglycerides checked during your usual physical. Ask if you could be at risk or if you should be changing any of your behavior to help your triglycerides levels.
Triglycerides can make arteries harden or thicken the arty walls. That can increase the risk of a stroke, heart attack or heart disease. Extremely high levels can cause pancreatitis. But you can lower your levels. Exercising regularly, avoiding sugar and simple carbs, picking healthy fats, drinking less alcohol and losing weight can all lower your levels of triglycerides. There are also medications you can take to will help.
Omega-3s can help lower your triglycerides. Choosing fish instead of meat can be an excellent choice to help! You can also add omega-3-rich greens like spinach, Brussels sprouts, beans and kale to your plate. Those are also excellent sources of fiber, which helps your triglycerides levels.
Adding more fiber while cutting down on the carbs will help both your blood sugar and your triglycerides at the same time. “In general, fiber-rich foods also have carbohydrate content that is more complex and can lead to more gradual absorption by the body, which can also help temper the triglyceride increase that occurs after meals,” said Dr. Michael Wesley Milks, a cardiologist.
While some national holidays don’t get big parties, we still think they should be celebrated in their own way. This isn’t one you sadly observe like a day of remembrance. This is one you should take an active role in! Take today as an opportunity to learn more about triglycerides and your heart health.