The 2nd of this series focuses on natural food sources that lower your triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood. This is important for a variety of reasons (interested readers should refer to our American Heart Association statement on this topic). The current designation includes a normal fasting level (below 150) with ideal levels below 100 mg/dL. High levels are at least 200 mg/dL with very high levels at or exceeding 500 mg/dL (levels above 1000 mg/dL are associated with an increased risk of pancreatitis).
While we don’t yet know whether lowering triglyceride levels reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke (several clinical trials are currently underway), I strive to reduce high levels in my patients. Living at high triglyceride levels increases the risk of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes representing the initial approach to bring those levels under better control.
With this in mind, our soon to be published review paper, summarized below describes some of the best natural ways to lower triglycerides. In addition to reducing sat/trans fats and refined carbs, incorporating 2 or more of these products can provide an additional 10-30% reduction.
- Cinnamon (1 teaspoon daily)
- Cacao powder (1/2 – 1 teaspoon daily)
- Hazelnuts (1 handful daily)
- Edamame beans (1/2 handful daily)
- Turmeric (1/2 tsp daily)
Dr. Michael Miller is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and member of the American Heart Association Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. All proceeds from his latest book “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” are donated to the American Heart Association.