If you take real steps to change your lifestyle and eat a healthy diet, research has shown that you really can reduce triglycerides. Triglycerides are a form of blood fat associated with blood vessel and heart problems, as well as other diseases. You can lower them by …

1. Swapping saturated fats for unhealthy unsaturated dietary fats.

2. Choosing veggies and fruits that have less fructose; like cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas, peaches and grapefruit.

3. Exercising regularly, at least 30 minutes of moderate level activity most days, for a total of two and half hours a week. This alone can bring down triglycerides by 20-30%.

4. Losing weight, cutting the calories day in, day out and burning more than you take in will help you drop those pounds.

These changes can cut triglycerides by between 20% and 50%. That's good news, showing us all that making the hard, lifestyle changes can have a real impact. Research has demonstrated that triglycerides are very responsive to what we eat, how much weight we drop and regular exercise.

The experts suggest that for those above the normal (150) triglyceride levels, you should make regular efforts to …

– Limit added sugar to no more than 5-10% of your daily calories. This can be tricky, as added sugars are not listed in the Nutrition Facts of packaged foods. Watch out for sugar sweetened drinks too.

– Limit fructose from processed and natural sources to under 50-100 grams a day.

– Limit saturated fat to below 7% of total daily calories, trans fats to under 1% of total daily calories.

– Limit alcohol, especially if your triglyceride number is over 500 mg per deciliter.

Triglycerides act as a barometer of overall metabolic health. If you have numbers between 100 to 199 you need to think seriously about your risk factors and the very real need to be eating less, eating more healthy and getting active regularly.

Triglycerides are different from other high cholesterol indicators, where lifestyle can help but might not be enough of a solution.

Your doctor can test your triglycerides very easily. You'll supply a blood sample after fasting for 12 hours. This is a good initial screen according to researchers. A reading between 100 to 150 is ideal, anything higher represent the elevated triglyceride levels that are so common in the US – almost 31% of us have levels over 150 mg per deciliter.

Just as diabetes and obesity are happening earlier, the researchers find it troublesome that triglycerides are also on the rise in adults between the ages of 20 and 49. Something to think about should concern you need to reduce triglycerides.