It’s believed that around 94 million people over the age of 20 in the United States have a total cholesterol level over 200, and 28 million has a total number over 240.

But high cholesterol has no symptoms, raises the risk of heart disease, and most strikingly, only around half of the adults in the U.S. who could benefit from cholesterol medication actually takes it.

Aside from becoming more active, the best way to lower cholesterol is from the food that you eat. Bronx Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has a look at four steps to take to lower your cholesterol levels.

  1. Cut Out Added Sugars

High fructose corn syrup in soda and other beverages and refined carbs in baked goods and treats can not only cause blood sugar problems and obesity, but they can also give you bad lipid numbers. A diet high in sugar causes both an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL) and a decrease in good cholesterol (HDL).

  1. Avoiding Trans Fat

Trans fat, while reduced in recent years, is still found in packaged and processed foods like boxed cookies, crackers, some baked goods, and margarine. And even if a food label says zero trans fat, there could still be trace amounts that round down to zero that can build up over time.

  1. Choose Healthy Fats Over Saturated Fats

Saturated fats—from butter, bacon, red meat, sausage, etc.—should only account for around 7% of your total fat intake for the day. Other fats should come from healthy sources like olive oil, avocado, peanut butter, other nuts, and seeds.

  1. Increase Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is the fiber that you get from foods instead of supplements or powders. Good sources are oatmeal, beans, Brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.

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