Bloodstream triglycerides increase when you consume too many calories or carbohydrates on a daily basis. High levels of triglycerides can convert bad cholesterol (LDL) into a more dangerous form that is capable of damaging arteries. High triglycerides can also prevent the creation of good cholesterol (HDL). Weight loss and a reduced fat and carbohydrate intake can lower triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. The right types of cheeses can play a supporting role in a low triglyceride diet.
The Good & The Bad
Exercise and a healthy diet are keys to lowering triglyceride levels. For a healthy diet, certain oils and carbohydrates need to be replaced with more heart-healthy ones and certain foods need to be avoided altogether.
Replace saturated fats and trans fats with unsaturated fats such as olive, corn, safflower, sunflower and peanut oils. Red meats are packed with protein but they also contain saturated fat and cholesterol, so eat fish and poultry instead.
Reduce your carbohydrate intake if carbohydrates supply more than 40 to 45 percent of your daily calories. Start by eliminating or cutting back drastically on alcohol and food and drink high in simple sugars, such as honey, cake, sweetened breakfast cereals, and sodas. Good sources of carbohydrates include potatoes and rice, and whole grain breads and pastas in moderation.
Include Cheese in Your Diet
Diets that lower triglycerides often exclude cheese because of its fat content. However, including the right types of cheese helps to supply the balance and variety that is important in maintaining a healthy diet that promotes low triglyceride levels.
Balance is important. While cheese has many beneficial nutrients such as protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and B-complex vitamins, a diet too high in cheese, even the right cheese, has excess protein calories and can deprive the body of other necessary nutrients.
Most cheeses have many of the above mentioned nutritional benefits, but regular cheeses and cream cheese are not beneficial in lowering triglycerides because they are high in saturated fat. On the other hand, low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese and cream cheese and other cheeses made from skim milk are low in fat and still provide a rich array of nutrients.
Avoid cheeses that contain significant amounts of lactose, as they are high in carbohydrates. Include aged cheeses such as cheddar cheese and fresh unripened cheeses such as cottage cheese, which contain few or no carbohydrates.
To summarize, the best cheeses to include in a low triglyceride diet are those made from reduced fat or skim milk, including fresh unripened cheeses such as cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella, and aged cheeses such as cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese.
The Daily Diet
Of your daily caloric intake, about 25 to 30 percent should come from fat, with less than 10 percent from saturated fats. Lowering your fat intake below this amount will increase your carbohydrate intake, resulting in increased triglycerides. In addition, you should not consume more than 300mg of cholesterol each day.
About 40 to 45 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. The remaining 30 to 35 percent come from protein.
Watch your overall caloric intake. Excess calories may be converted into triglycerides whether they come from fat, carbohydrates, or protein.
For longer-lasting energy, eat balanced meals that contain protein, carbohydrates and fat, such as oatmeal and cottage cheese for breakfast. Such combinations take longer to digest than all-carbohydrate meals. Not only are these balanced meals more filling, they will also keep blood sugar levels stable, preventing sugar high crashes.