If you are following a high triglycerides diet, you may be looking for some suggestions on what to eat, in addition to the best meal ideas. Though not a cookbook, this article should get you started on the right track with what foods to avoid, what foods to eat and a sample menu.
Triglycerides are a form of fat found both in the body and in food. When you eat, the calories that are not used immediately are converted into triglycerides to be used later to supply energy to your body, making triglycerides necessary for health.
The primary way you can help to lower your triglyceride level is to eat no more calories than you burn. If you are overweight, eat less to lose the excess weight. Any surplus calories will be converted to triglycerides and stored as fat.
Foods containing triglycerides are most of the fats we eat, like butter, margarine and oils. But there are foods that will promote high triglyceride levels and these, along with the fats, should be limited, if consumed at all.
Foods to Limit or Exclude
In addition to reducing the fats in your diet, also limit refined and processed grains, simple sugars and alcohol. All of these foods contribute significantly to high triglycerides.
Refined and processed grains are in any food that contains white flour or any grain that is bleached or enriched. These include items such as white bread, bagels, crackers, and pastas.
Simple sugars are in foods that contain any of the following:
- Corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
Unfortunately, even natural sugars, if eaten in excess, may raise your triglyceride level. A good guideline to follow is to limit your daily sugar intake to less than 8% of your total calories each day.
Alcohol such as beer, wine, spirits, mixed drinks, and wine coolers will increase the triglyceride levels. Men should not exceed 2 drinks per day, and women should limit to their intake to one drink per day. Watch the serving size on these. One serving is 12 ounces of beer, three ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
Foods to Include
So, what can you eat? If not eaten to an excess, the foods you can eat include lean sources of protein, whole fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Also, include high-fiber foods to help lower the level of triglycerides.
Foods shown to be very beneficial are foods containing the omega-3 fatty acids. This fatty acid helps to reduce triglyceride levels. Fish contains the highest amount of omega-3 so choose fish such as cod, salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna and sardines. Other sources of omega 3 are walnuts, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
Fish oil supplements will also provide omega-3 and contain other vitamins like vitamins A, B1, B2, C and D. But, fish supplements should be taken under the guidance of a physician to avoid possible side effects.
Best Meal Ideas
For breakfast eat whole fruit, whole grains and lean protein. A sample meal would be an apple or orange, oatmeal spiced with cinnamon and a hard-boiled egg. Not an oatmeal lover? How about a vegetarian omelette? Or, if you are in a hurry, a protein shake meal replacement drink. Just be aware of any sugar that might be in your drink.
For a lunch that won’t promote the production of triglycerides, look for fresh salads made with lots of leafy greens and some lean protein such as a chicken breast or beans. More and more restaurants are making this option available. But be sure to stay away from the bread and cracker basket.
Complete your day with a three-course meal consisting of a cup of bean soup, a green salad, grilled salmon and asparagus.
Need some dessert? Try a refreshing fruit sorbet, such as watermelon or strawberries. If you need something warm, baked apples or poached pears may be perfect for you.
Adjust and Substitute
Although a high triglycerides diet may, at first, seem limiting, you will surely be amazed that there are so many delicious foods that you can still eat and enjoy. As with any change in habits, the initial adjustment may be difficult but, in this case, you will soon find enough healthy and delicious substitutions to make eating a pleasure again.