What are Triglycerides?

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DAVE MONTGOMERY, MD: Triglycerides are the fats that swim around in our body. We use those fats in normal amounts for fuel, for energy. We also use them to make hormones and to build cells.

Triglycerides are different from cholesterol, although we look at them in a similar way. Cholesterol, bad cholesterol, is the cholesterol that actually causes plaque to form in vessels. It can cause heart disease, it can cause a heart attack, and it can cause a stroke. And while triglycerides aren't cholesterol, we've now learned that high levels of triglyceride can still lead to heart disease.

The primary food that we can eat to lower triglycerides is fish, particularly fatty fish-- salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel. These are all fish that we can eat to lower our triglyceride level.

There are things that will increase our triglyceride levels. If you eat a high carbohydrate diet, if you excessively consume alcohol, these are two of the primary ways that we can increase our triglycerides.