8 nutritional tips for hypertriglyceridemia patients

Hypertriglyceridaemia is a common clinical problem that occurs alone or associated with other conditions, such as high cholesterol or metabolic syndrome.

Its causes are multiple and in many cases the implementation of healthy lifestyle habits are the first step to address the situation. Among them, diet is one of the key pieces and of which we know more details in the following article.

What is hypertriglyceridemia?

This is the name given to the situation in which triglyceride levels in the blood are above what is considered normal. The threshold from which it is classified as high is 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood.

Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. The body needs them, since they are a store of unused calories and provide energy between meals. They are also part of cell membranes. In excess, they are worrisome because they are associated with higher cardiovascular risk.

This happens directly, but also because they are usually related to other factors such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, pro-inflammatory markers and type 2 diabetes. In addition, at much higher levels they can cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

What factors can raise triglycerides?

There is no single cause that can lead to this consequence. The presence of triglycerides depends on its metabolism, its intake and the contribution that the liver makes to the bloodstream. Consequently, any alteration that occurs in these 3 factors produces high values.

Genetic factors

Sometimes the problem is related to certain genetic diseases or disorders, such as combined familial hyperlipidemia.

As indicated by the Spanish Heart Foundation, alterations in genes or in the enzymes responsible for metabolizing them are the reason for the most severe situations, when levels are above 500 milligrams per deciliter.

Genetics play a role in some cases of elevated triglycerides, which is increased by an unhealthy lifestyle.

Dietary causes

One of the main reasons related to food is a intake above energy needs. If it also comes from refined carbohydrates or saturated fats, the chances of having hypertriglyceridemia are higher.

Environmental factors

Some of the factors that predispose to hypertriglyceridaemia cannot be changed, such as age. On the other hand, others are reversible, as they are related to behavior and lifestyle.

The clearest examples are excessive alcohol intake, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Having other illnesses

There are some health problems that can cause elevated blood lipids. Some of them are the following:

As well taking some medications have a negative influence on this situation. This is the case of oral contraceptives, steroids, diuretics, beta-blockers and retinoids, among others.

Read more: Triglyceride level: what should we know?

Nutritional advice for patients with hypertriglyceridemia

When high triglyceride levels are detected in the blood, one of the first steps to take is lifestyle changes. Within them, some have to do with eating behavior. Let's see.

1. Adequate energy intake

As mentioned, excess calories is one of the possible causes of increased triglycerides. For this, the diet must be adapted to the energy needs of each person, that change according to sex, age and physical activity.

In addition, it is necessary to lose weight when there is obesity. It is also necessary to keep blood glucose levels under control if you have diabetes.

2. Choose monounsaturated fats

Fatty foods must be present in the diet, therefore, they must not be eliminated. The lipids of preference in the day to day are monounsaturated, like olive oil or avocado. Also polyunsaturated ones like blue fish and nuts.

3. Control saturated and hydrogenated fats

However, saturated lipids should be controlled and avoid foods such as butter, cream, cold cuts, and fatty meats. They are also present in palm oil, a common ingredient in industrial pastries.

Hydrogenated or trans fats are associated with an elevation of both cholesterol and triglycerides. In turn, they lower the levels of HDL (known as cholesterol Okay).

It is because of this double action that they are the most harmful to the heart and arteries. Although they are found naturally in some foods, its main source of intake is ultra-processed.

4. Avoid simple sugars

These are located mainly in table sugar, honey, syrups and fructose. Also, many manufactured products are high in this type of fast-absorbing carbohydrate: fruit juices, energy drinks, sodas, sugary smoothies, pastries, pastries, sweets, and candy.

Discover: Are the sugars in fruits harmful?

5. Prioritize complex carbohydrates and in moderation

Foods that provide carbohydrates should be served in moderate amounts. It is preferable that they are part of the accompaniment and not the main dish.

In addition, it is desirable to always opt for wholemeal options, both for grains and their derivatives (bread or pasta).

6. Increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits

These are two of the main sources of antioxidants and fiber, along with nuts and legumes. Always opt for fresh fruit and much better with skin. Do not substitute for juices, compotes, jellies or jams.

Fruit is one of the foods that has been shown to be associated with low blood triglycerides. However, the mechanisms are unknown and it is preferable not to exceed 3 servings a day, separating the intakes into different intakes.

7. More blue fish and legumes

This type of food should be chosen among those that provide protein. Eating more lentils, chickpeas or beans can reduce the intake of meats and sausages, while increasing the presence of fiber.

Among the fish, blue should be prioritized over white, at least 2 servings a week. Always choose the smallest species (sardines, mackerel, tuna, bonito, salmon, herring, anchovies or horse mackerel) to reduce the toxicity of mercury and other heavy metals.

Small and blue fish should be preferred over white to provide protein to the diet.

8. Avoid alcohol

Eliminating alcohol from the diet is one of the first recommended measures. As they point out from the Heart UK, its negative effects do not outweigh the possible benefits that are supposed to it.

Healthy lifestyle habits are key to managing hypertriglyceridemia

Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in nature and in humans they are necessary to perform different functions. However, when they are very high, they are related to problems in cardiovascular health.

At the dietary level, to keep triglyceride levels under control, you should base your diet on fresh products cooked at home, whenever possible. Fruits, vegetables, oily fish, olive oil, nuts, legumes and whole grains.

Apart from diet, other lifestyle habits are of special relevance in relation to hypertriglyceridemia. Eliminate alcohol (both beer and wine, as well as spirits), avoid tobacco and exercise regularly.

Implementing these changes is the first step to control the situation, but in no case do they replace additional recommendations from doctors. Some patients may need other measures to lower triglycerides.

Prevention is essential, even if you do not belong to any risk group. Regular check-ups are positive, as it is a disease that rarely has symptoms.