What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are type of lipid (fat) found in your blood and make up part of your total cholesterol level.
What is its function?
If you take in more calories than your body needs, they'll be converted to triglycerides — which your body can use as a source of energy. But if your triglyceride levels get too high it might increase your risk of heart disease.
What can cause it to change?
There are a number of things that can cause your triglycerides to become too high:
- being overweight
- drinking too much alcohol
- eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates
- certain diseases like type 2 diabetes, kidney disorders, and liver damage – this is less common
A low triglyceride level is much less common but it might be due to a low-fat diet, an underactive thyroid, or a disease that affects how well you absorb nutrients.
What factors within my control could influence it?
There are lots of ways to lower your triglyceride level, including:
- avoiding foods high in saturated and trans fats — for example, butter, margarine, cream, and sausages
- avoiding sugary and refined foods
- eating high-fibre foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- eating foods rich in unsaturated fats — for example, oily fish, nuts, and olive oil
- exercising regularly
- losing weight if you’re overweight
- avoiding drinking too much alcohol
If you have very high triglyceride levels, you should avoid including any type of fat in your diet. Please discuss this with your GP.