Maintaining a healthy heart starts with exercise and diet. There is a strong and obvious correlation between obesity and heart problems. Being obese or overweight is often a product of eating too much of the wrong foods, or lack of exercise, or both.
Understanding what effects different foods have on the body will help in making more beneficial dietary choices. One of the things often discussed in regards to heart health is cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Your good and bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels are factored in to your total cholesterol score and considered to be vital indicators to your heart health.
Cholesterol and triglycerides are not bad – they are very necessary for a body to perform its required functions. Like so many things, it only becomes dangerous in excess. Unfortunately, too many of the foods we have become accustomed to eating provide more than we can use, and is stored as fat.
The term “triglycerides” refers to the fat that is located within the blood. It is responsible for providing the body with energy as needed for proper body function. Triglycerides are stored in additional places within the body including the hips and the stomach. These energy stores may serve as sources of energy in the future.
Knowing the Difference between Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Triglycerides and cholesterols refer to two types of lipids found in the blood. Lipids that are utilized by the body for cell and hormone production are known as cholesterol. Triglycerides have the job of storing these unused calories in order to provide energy as needed by the body.
Cholesterols and triglycerides are the types of lipids that do not break down or dissolve in the bloodstream. Instead, with the help of lipoproteins, they will simply flow throughout the body.
Measuring Triglyceride Levels
To measure your triglyceride levels you require a lipid panel test. The lipid panel test can additionally measure your levels of good and bad cholesterol, known as your HDL and LDL respectively. According to the American Heart Association, after the age of 20, every person ideally should start having their cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked every 5 years or on a regular basis at least.
The fat content of your food can dramatically influence your triglyceride levels. To obtain accurate results you need to fast overnight prior to submitting your lipid panel test.
Keeping Triglycerides within Normal Levels
If you are overweight one of the first things you need to do to lower triglyceride levels is to lose weight. Even losing 5 to 10 pounds can significantly reduce your triglyceride levels.
If you do need to lose weight you will obviously need to lower your calorie intake. Excess calories greatly impact your triglyceride levels and the excess is stored as fat. If you can completely eliminate your intake of simple carbohydrates and white flour and sugar, great! If this is too daunting, reduce the amount you consume and notice how much healthier you feel.
You will also be told to opt for healthy fats. Choose plant-based food sources including olive oil, peanut oil and grape seed oil. Avoid foods that contain too many saturated fats.
A key to maintaining healthy triglyceride levels is to exercise regularly. Daily exercise is important for improving your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. You don’t have to go and get an expensive gym membership. Simply start walking. Aim for 30 minutes of jogging or brisk walking every day.
Start small and be happy with yourself if you get out a couple of times a week, you can work your way up from there.
Remember nothing beats a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to living a long and healthy life, you have to learn how to take care of you. Do your part with wise food choices and exercise, then follow up with regular checkups including cholesterol tests so you know where you stand with your health.
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Yes, there’s a lot to learn about living well with high cholesterol. Getting in control might take some time. It’s going to mean making some changes in your life, but you can start with small changes, and you don’t have to make them all at once. And you don’t have to do it alone. If you aren’t on our mailing list and would like to keep up with what we are learning, sign up below. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and ask. I’m here to help!