The Hemp Connection + women

What are triglycerides and why should I care about them?

I've invited the members of our Facebook fan page to ask questions, and here is the first one we got. Here is a little primer on triglycerides.

When you get your cholesterol reading, something that is measured is a type of fat called a triglyceride. What this is, is a type of fat the body uses to carry extra calories in the blood. If you're eating calories in greater quantities than the liver can process them, they hang around in your blood waiting in line to be taken care of. Sometimes that gets measured in a blood test, because high triglycerides are associated with increased risk of heart disease.

Triglycerides' favorite place to be stored, is in the belly, which is why people with high triglycerides often have an apple-shaped body type.

And what is really interesting about high triglycerides, is that they are a place your body can store DHA, that chemical you see me write a lot about here, because it is essential for healthy memory, problem solving, and overall brain function.

Modern medicine tends to think of high triglycerides as a problem that needs to be fixed. I tend to think of high triglycerides as a strong indicator that your life and eating habits are out of balance. They respond extremely well to pulling yourself back into moderation; therefore, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the list of changes you can make, summarized here, and give them your best college try before resorting to medication.

1. Excess calories, in general, all day long. If you are a compulsive overeater, your intake may simply exceed your body's ability to keep up. You don't need to starve yourself, however. Rather, start to explore the reasons why food is so prevalent in your life, begin to tackle the reasons why, replace triglycerides with other activities and coping behaviors that are not so hard on your liver.

2. Stacking too many calories at one time of day. Are you on Weight Watchers…with a tendency to deny yourself food earlier in the day so you can indulge later on? Your liver is not much different from the engine in your car. You can't simply dump fuel into the system and expect it to run efficiently. Your car has a carburetor to regulate the rate at which the engine gets gasoline. When it starts to run too rich, your engine doesn't run well. The only carburetor humans have is a behavioral one…remember, it isn't just about how many calories you eat in the course of a day. It's how you spread them out to up your liver's efficiency.

3. Eating too much sugar. Sugar is so quickly and easily absorbed, that eating too much of it can leave too many calories in the system at once. You still need carbohydrates to fuel your brain and muscle, but the other type of carburetor you have is something called a complex carbohydrate. It takes longer to absorb and digest, therefore slowing down the entrance of those carbs into your system. In general, low glycemic foods also help triglycerides. You know what those are from paying attention to insulin resistance. Eat more of them!

4. Drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, and it adds up quickly! We don't talk much about alcohol here, but if you are using it to cope, and you have a love of sweetened drinks, you're getting a double whammy. Alchohol is best used in moderation and best used as an accompaniment to a healthy meal. Happy hour drinking, which encourages less control over high fat, high calorie foods, is likely to render you vulnerable to higher triglyceride readings.

5. Not getting enough"effective" omega-3 in your diet. I use the word effective to remind you that if all you do is add omega-3 to your diet without reducing omega-6, the latter will keep the former from having any effect. You have to do both. Physicians will often tell you that the dose of omega-3 you need is too high to be safe, and that you need medication in order to achieve this. I beg to differ, as I have seen, many times, that when you add the fish and fish oil, and reduce the"s" and"c" oils, triglycerides do drop. I have come to believe that since DHA is so important for brain function, when our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is so high that the brain starts to be at risk for having what it needs to do its job, the body starts creating triglycerides as a desperate attempt to hang on to what omega-3 it has. When you don't need triglycerides as a last-ditch effort, your body won't have to make them.

6. Not enough exercise. One of the benefits of physical activity is that because it requires you to use calories as fuel, it trains your body to use calories. So when you eat them, your body is more likely to use them efficiently. Get out and move, even a little bit at first, but get in the habit!

7. Of course, there are people with genetically high triglycerides who DO need to be on medication. But if you have not tried the suggestions listed above in an attempt to reduce your triglycerides, please try them first before adding another medication to your lineup. And if you do decide to use medication, don't use that as an excuse to eat whatever you want. Eating as best as you can, can help to reduce the amount of medication you DO need to manage your problem.

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What are triglycerides and why should I care about them? + women