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Lowering your cholesterol levels can seem overwhelming. Specifically, you want to address your LDL cholesterol levels, which can put you at high risk for heart disease. Even that distinction is complicated, but the solution doesn’t have to be. Here are six quick changes you can make right away, before you consider medication or other expensive solutions.

1. Eat more fiber

The fiber most commonly found in fruits and whole grains can actually keep the body from absorbing cholesterol in the first place. Foods like black beans, oatmeal, and apples are particularly fiber rich. Adding these to your diet, even in moderate amounts, will help lower your LDL count.

 2. Lose weight

This step might feel overwhelming, but small changes can make a big difference. Studies have shown that if you are overweight, losing just 10 pounds can reduce your overall LDL levels by as much as 8%. If you are already making diet changes like eating more fiber as suggested above, such a loss could follow as a natural result.

 3. Relax!

That’s right, cholesterol levels are often higher among those who experience a high amount of stress. So try taking a vacation, or even just a mental health day. You could also consider starting a recreational activity with a relaxing component, like yoga or golf.

4. Reduce, or eliminate, trans fats

These pesky fats are particularly bad for your cholesterol, and can often be hiding in plain sight. Try not to eat too many fried foods, and be wary of anything that includes “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.” This is actually just another name for trans fat.

5. Exercise

Much like losing weight, this doesn’t have to be an impossible endeavor. Even exercising in just 10 minute blocks works towards improving your cholesterol. If you’re not much of an exercise person, start by taking short walks to train your body for bigger challenges.

6. Eat more fish

Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce your bad cholesterol. Swapping out red meat for fish in your diet could be a nice change as well. It means you’ll be taking on a lot less saturated fat, which does no favors to your heart.

We hope this list has given you some ideas for immediate changes you can make. You are also welcome to come into our clinic and speak to one of our specialists. We have plenty of experience helping patients lower their cholesterol, and we’d love to help you as well.