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Cholesterol & Triglycerides Health Center

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Do Your Bad Habits Drive Up Your Triglycerides?

It can be upsetting to learn that you have high triglycerides. High numbers increase your chance of getting heart disease. But there’s good news, too. If you change a few bad habits into better ones, you can bring your triglycerides down and keep your heart healthy.

Bad habit No. 1: You drink soda, sweetened tea, or fruit juices.
Sugar and fructose, which are used as a sweetener, can raise triglycerides. The extra calories in sugary drinks can also make you gain weight, which puts added strain on your heart and contributes to cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

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Better habit: Quench your thirst with sugar-free alternatives.
Artificially sweetened drinks are better than those with sugar or fructose because they are less likely to raise triglycerides. But water is the most convenient and inexpensive thirst quencher around. To add some zing, squeeze lemon or lime in sparkling water.      

Bad habit No. 2: You eat white foods like pasta, rice, or bread at most meals.
Like sugar, foods such as white flour or semolina can raise triglyceride levels. So do starchy foods like white rice and potatoes.

Better habit: Switch to whole grains.
Whole-grain pasta is a great alternative, especially for bold sauces like a classic tomato sauce. Look for a tasty whole-grain bread for sandwiches. And eat brown rice instead of white rice. It has a rich, nutty flavor that's perfect for making stir-fry. Instead of white potatoes, try grains like quinoa and barley.  

Bad habit No. 3: You eat a lot of red meat.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the bloodstream. Foods high in saturated fat, such as red meat, boost levels. Butter and cheese contain these same triglyceride-boosting fats. 

Better habit: Choose lean meats or protein alternatives.
Opt for chicken and turkey that are lower in saturated fat. Another healthy option: Make meatless meals. Vegetarian pastas, chilis, and stir-fries offer a delicious alternative to meat dishes. Avoid dishes loaded with cream or cheese in favor of recipes that use vegetable oil and feature plenty of vegetables.  

Bad habit No. 4: You only eat fried fish. Most fried fish has a lot of added oil -- the unhealthy type, saturated fat. That fat overpowers the type of fat found in fish, called omega-3 fatty acids, which helps keep triglycerides down.                                                                                                                    

Better habit: Help yourself to two servings of grilled or broiled fish a week.
Choose fatty fish such as salmon, freshwater trout, or tuna, which are especially rich in omega-3s, then grill or broil them. Look for recipes with flavors you like. If you’re still having trouble tempting your taste buds, take heart. Walnuts, flaxseed, soy products, and dark greens are good sources of triglyceride-lowering omega-3s.

Bad habit No. 5: You drink several glasses of alcohol a day.
Too much beer, wine, or spirits can drive up triglycerides.

WebMD Medical Reference

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Is Your Cholesterol Level Heart Healthy?
What is your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level?

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Answer:
Desirable
0-199
Borderline
200-239
High
240+

Your level is currently

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal.

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is borderline high. If your LDL goes higher, your total cholesterol level could become Borderline High. Consider reducing the amount of foods you eat with saturated fats and increasing physical activity. If you get more exercise, your level of "good" HDL cholesterol may increase, which could also help to keep your levels of LDL and total cholesterol in check.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL. The HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL because the HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. But your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as statins. Following medication, dietary, and exercise instructions should result in improvements.

Your total cholesterol level is High, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe statins or other cholesterol-lowering medications.

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