Live Free: Health

Improving health through awareness, education, and empowerment

Nutrition 101: Triglycerides and HDL


Did you know that of African-American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart disease? (1)

This statistic immediately hit home for me. Coming from a family history of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes, I am often aware of my poor eating habits as they may cause deterioration to my body in the long run. From the countless hospital visits, pharmacy visits and dietary restrictions my family members have undergone in the past 4 years, who prior to their diagnoses were often jovial, free, and vivacious spirits, I have witnessed my family become prisoners to their declining health. Since 2010, my mother and I have made simple switches to our diet to prevent poor health outcomes and live a more abundant, balanced lifestyle.

Although many individuals are victims to these preventable diseases, there are methods to limiting cardiovascular disease diagnoses from continuously plaguing our population. So how can we turn this negative reality into a positive one? Through proper Education, Awareness, and Application we have the tools to change our health for the better. Below are important medical terms everyone should be aware of along with simple, yet effective ways to improve your nutrition:

What are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are fatty substances that can be stored in your bloodstream. Our daily lifestyle, including weight, eating habits, and family history can alter these fatty substances throughout the body. Individuals with high levels of triglycerides, can dramatically reduce high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels as HDL aids in stability. HDL is commonly referred to as the “good cholesterol as it reduces risks of heart disease.

Medical professionals recommend individuals to maintain low triglyceride levels and high HDL levels to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.

How to Reduce Triglyceride Levels Through Nutrition (2)

1. Limit Simple Sugars

  • Simple Sugars include: Corn syrup, honey, sweetened soft drinks, candy, baked goods, jam/ jelly
  • Limit simple sugar intake to 1–2 servings/week
  • 1 serving = 100 calorie

2. Eat Fruits and Vegetables

  • 4–6 or more serving of fruits and vegetables/day
  • Better choices are fresh or frozen with “no added sugars”
  • 100% fruit juices (Limit 1/2 cup/day)
  • Serving size: 1 medium apple = 1 serving; 1/2 cup steamed vegetables = 1 serving; 1 cup raw vegetables = 1 serving

3. Choose High Fiber Carbs

  • Avoid refined grains such as white bread, white rice and pasta, which can raise triglycerides more than whole grain and high fiber products.
  • Choose whole wheat products and include oat bran for fiber


(1) American Heart Association- Website Link 

(2) Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association- Website Link | What you Need to Know About Triglycerides and HDL PDF 


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This entry was posted on January 4, 2015 by in Health 101.

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