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Diet for High Cholesterol & Triglycerides

Cholesterol is a substance the body uses for hormone and cell production. Triglycerides are stored in fat cells and used for energy when the body needs it. When cholesterol and triglyceride levels are normal, there is no reason to worry. When they become elevated, you are at a greater risk for health complications. Making dietary changes can help lower both levels.

Significance

Having excess cholesterol and triglycerides flowing through your bloodstream is known medically as a lipid disorder. This condition increases your risk for atherosclerosis -- hardening of the arteries -- and for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and other problems, according to MedlinePlus. A diet plan for high cholesterol and triglycerides can reduce your disease risk.

Calories

Eating excess calories that you body does not use for energy increases your triglycerides levels. This also leads to weight gain and being overweight is a risk factor for high cholesterol. By cutting back on your daily intake, you can help reduce both levels. Because 1 pound of weight gain is equivalent to 3,500 calories, you can lose about 1 pound a week by eating 500 fewer calories a day.

Carb Reduction

Carbohydrates are either complex or simple. Simple carbs are low in fiber and high in empty calories, and they should be avoided because of their negative effect on triglycerides. White bread, cakes, cookies, crackers, candy bars, bagels and sugary cereals are examples. Choose healthier options, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Fat Reduction

Foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats and dietary cholesterol need to be eliminated from the diet when you are trying to lower your triglycerides and cholesterol. Processed meats, such as bacon and sausage, are good examples of these. Avoid deep fried foods and pay close attention to ingredient labels on packaged items. Avoid anything that has partially or fully hydrogenated oils, which is an indicator that they contain trans fats.

Alcohol Reduction

Although the verdict is not completely out on the affect alcohol has on cholesterol levels, it is with triglycerides. Alcohol is high in calories and sugar, and even small amounts can raise your triglyceride levels according to MayoClinic.com. Additionally, avoid all beverages that are high in sugar and calories, such as processed fruit juices, slushies, dessert coffees and milkshakes. Choose water as your main beverage, as it is calorie-free and helps hydrate the body.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Unlike saturated and trans fats, unsaturated fats are healthy when eaten in moderation. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial when you're trying to lower triglycerides and cholesterol. Not only does omega-3 decrease triglyceride levels, it also slows the growth rate of hard plaque in your arteries according to the American Heart Association. Choose cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, halibut, lake trout and sardines. They have the highest concentrations of omega-3. Try to eat fish at least twice a week for best results.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.