You already know taming high cholesterol is the first step to warding off heart trouble. Now, Yale researchers say there’s another smart move that promises big benefits: keeping your levels of triglycerides, a type of arteryhardening blood fat, within a healthy range (below 150 mg/dL). It will cut your risk of heart disease in half!
Bite into brownies.
A delicious treat that you can feel good about: black bean brownies! Eating 1/2 cup of beans daily can trim 8 points off your triglyceride levels in just one month, a UCLA study found. Credit beans’ proteins (alpha-amylase inhibitors), which curb triglyceride production. More good news: Taking 1,500 mg. of white kidney bean extract daily reduces triglycerides by up to 26 points. That’s 321 percent better results than diet changes alone!
Stand for 60 seconds.
No need to break a sweat. You can slash your triglyceride levels by 15 percent in a week by standing up and moving for 1 minute every half hour, a study in Lipids in Health and Disease found. Study co-author Gina Crichton, PhD, says exercise is known to burn triglycerides, but the great news is that breaking up your sitting time has a big impact in cutting heart disease risk too.
Add extra flavor.
Love cinnamon in hot cocoa? Pepper on scrambled eggs? Oregano on your pizza? Enjoy! Penn State scientists say adding 1 tablespoon of herbs and spices to your daily diet cuts triglyceride levels by 30 percent in 24 hours. Spices block the absorption of dietary fat, one of the key building blocks of triglycerides, says biochemist Rachel Vasanthi, PhD.
Reach for the stars.
Reaching for the sky and then touching your toes sends triglyceride levels plunging, according to research from an American College of Cardiology conference. Just 30 minutes weekly of gentle stretches cuts levels of cortisol, which is linked to elevated triglycerides.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.