Cholesterol Home > Diet to Lower Triglycerides

A triglyceride-lowering diet is similar to a cholesterol-lowering diet. It includes adding certain fish (such as salmon and tuna) and fish oil (which contains omega-3 fatty acids) to the diet, while limiting the amount of saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. The use of alcohol should be limited or eliminated while on this diet.

Diet to Lower Triglycerides: An Overview

When a person is diagnosed with high triglycerides, his or her healthcare provider may suggest a low-triglyceride diet. Combined with exercise and weight loss, dietary changes are effective in reducing triglycerides to a normal level.
 

Recommendations for a Low-Triglyceride Diet

A diet to lower triglycerides is similar to a cholesterol-lowering diet. It should include:
 
  • No more than 7 to 10 percent of total calories coming from saturated fat
  • Limiting the total amount of fat in your diet to under 30 percent
  • Limiting the amount of cholesterol in your diet
  • Eating only enough calories to achieve or maintain a healthy weight
  • Adding certain foods or supplements, such as fish and fish oil.
     
As part of this diet, you should also limit or eliminate the use of alcohol. Alcohol can significantly increase triglyceride levels.
 
(Click Low Cholesterol Diet for more specific information and suggestions.)
 

Fish and Fish Oil as Part of a Diet to Lower Triglycerides

Eating fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids can decrease triglyceride levels. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include:
 
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Lake trout
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel.
 
Fish oil, a supplement that is made from the tissues of these oily fish, can also lower triglyceride levels. Fish and fish oil supplements contain two omega-3 fatty acids -- eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA and DHA). These omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have several health benefits, including:
 
  • Decreased triglyceride levels
  • Decreased risk of arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), which can lead to sudden death
  • Decreased risk of blood clots
  • Decreased risk of atherosclerosis
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved health of arteries.
     
Because of these benefits, foods and supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can have labels that state their ability to reduce heart disease and the risk of sudden death. You should talk to your healthcare provider to see if he or she recommends fish and/or fish oil as part of a low-triglyceride diet.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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