Triglycerides are simply fats: all the fats you eat are triglycerides, and triglycerides are transported through the bloodstream as a source of energy for the body. Fatty acids from triglycerides are used for muscular work or stored as body fat for future energy production. Triglycerides should be measured after fasting as it is normal for blood levels to be increased immediately after a meal. Lowering triglycerides is important because it may help reduce your risk for coronary heart disease.
While elevated triglycerides have a genetic component in many cases, lifestyle choices such as overconsumption, too many carbohydrates and physical inactivity frequently play a central role in the disorder. Lifestyle choices may act like a key to "turn on" a genetic susceptibility. In some cases elevated triglycerides may be due to an underlying medical condition or to the use of prescribed drugs such as beta-blockers, diuretics, estrogen (contraceptive or hormone replacement therapy), glucocorticoids, isotretinoin, protease inhibitors and tamoxifen.
The target level for fasting triglycerides in adults is below 150mg/dL.
Ingesting refined sugar increases triglyceride levels. People with elevated triglyceride levels should therefore reduce their intake of sugar, sweets and other sugar-containing foods. Even added fructose will raise triglyceride levels, but the fructose found naturally in foods should be less of a problem.
For many individuals, an exercise period of 45 minutes can produce greater reduction in plasma triglycerides than the shorter periods of exercise sometimes recommended for lowering triglyceride levels.
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