How to Improve Your Lab Results, Part I: Triglycerides and Glucose
Elevated triglycerides and glucose numbers are common. And many people have questions about how to bring those numbers down. In this video, Greenville health coach Caiti Nascarella offers a few tips on what you can do to improve these parts of your lab results. Watch the full video below and read on for a recap.
How do you find out your triglyceride and glucose numbers?
Monitoring triglycerides is done through your lipid panel, which monitors the fats in your blood. A lipid panel monitors things like your cholesterol, as well as your triglycerides. This is most often done during an annual physical, which is why it's so important to get an annual physical so you can keep track of these numbers year over year. For triglycerides, you want your number to be 150 or less.
When it comes to your glucose levels, that will be monitored through what's called a CMP, or a comprehensive metabolic panel. A CMP looks at your glucose level, as well as your electrolyte level, your liver function, your kidney function, etc. CMPs are also commonly done during an annual physical. Your glucose level, if you are fasting, should be below 100. If you aren't fasting, you'll want that to be 140 or less.
How do you go about improving your triglyceride and glucose numbers?
The good thing with these two is that how you can improve them has a lot of overlap. One way is to focus on what you need to decrease in your life vs. what you need to increase in your life.
What you should decrease to improve triglyceride and glucose numbers?
- Carbohydrates and Sugars: Not just sweets, sodas, or baked goods. This includes rice, grains, potatoes, and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
- Alcohol intake: This can make a huge difference. Alcohol is commonly, and accurately, referred to as empty calories. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, compared to carbs and proteins, which have 4 calories per gram (much less dense). And when our body is processing things, it will break down alcohol before it breaks down any other macro-nutrients that are actually beneficial to our body.
When you decrease your carbs and sugars, and decrease your alcohol intake, you will likely lose some weight. And when it comes to triglycerides, even just 5-10 pounds of weight loss can make a significant impact for a lot of people.
What you should increase to improve triglyceride and glucose numbers?
- Healthy fats: When we decrease carbs and sugars, it's important to increase elsewhere to cover the difference. This can be confusing because lowering triglycerides means lowering the fat level in your blood, but there is a big difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Increase your intake of things like salmon, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, avocado, eggs, and grass-fed meats. The fats we want to shy away from our processed meats like bacon or sausage.
- Fiber: The majority of Americans do not get enough fiber. For females, you should aim for 25g per day. For males, 30-35g is typically sufficient. Both of those numbers are pretty high. The best way to do this is to introduce lots of produce in your diet. Varieties of vegetables, some fruits (particularly berries, which are lower in carbs and sugars, but higher in fiber), and some whole grains.
- Exercise: This refers to dedicated exercise time, not just monitoring steps over the course of the day. Even just 15-20 minutes of dedicated exercise per day, such as going on a walk, can make a big difference, especially for your glucose levels.
MetabolizePMD is a new wellness program under development at PartnerMD. By focusing on weight management and the science behind it, MetabolizePMD will help participants pursue and achieve metabolic wellness through the latest in healthy eating. Check out more MetabolizePMD content here. More information coming soon!