Do you know your cholesterol levels? If not, you should. Cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance found in our cells and certain foods, helps our bodies function, but excess amounts of it in the blood can build up and lead to clogged arteries, causing heart attack or stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control, high LDL ("bad") cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
The good news is that many people can improve their cholesterol levels -- and lower their risk for heart disease -- by making simple (but not necessarily easy!) diet and lifestyle changes. Below are some tips to help you do just that.