If you’re not quite ready for the side effects that come with cholesterol medications, you might want to know how to lower cholesterol naturally first.

While naturally lowering your cholesterol takes a little more time and effort that simply remembering to take a pill every day, it will ultimately lead to all-around improved health and a better lifestyle.

Here is a list of tips that have been shown to help lower cholesterol naturally:

1) Go Red For Heart Health . . . And Wine

Studies show the antioxidant-loaded resveratrol in red wine could help increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL) , decreases levels of bad cholesterol, and decreases damage done to your blood vessels due to high cholesterol and plaque build up.

For the best benefits, doctors recommend a modest glass of red wine in the afternoon or evening.

Too much red wine, however, will simply overshadow the benefits of resveratrol by increasing blood pressure with too much alcohol consumption.

2) Exercise Your Right To Heart Health

Literally. A more active lifestyle almost always paves the way to a healthier lifestyle, especially when it comes to lowering your cholesterol and improving your overall cardiovascular health.

Excess body fat increases the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. Think about it as an overflow. When fat can’t be stored in some places, it makes a home elsewhere.

Decreasing your body fat with cardiovascular exercise and strength training will help decrease the “overflow” of LDL cholesterol in your blood stream.

3) Find Your Fiber

Fiber is in all plant-based foods — fruit, veggies, grains, etc. — and is not digestible by our intestines.

This means it helps us feel fuller longer, prevents constipation, and promotes optimal digestion while helping us reduce our appetite so we avoid the excess most of us eat everyday.

Soluble fiber is the type of fiber that sticks to cholesterol in the intestine and makes sure it gets eliminated by the body.

Soluble fiber is found in beans, oats, citrus fruit, avocados, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and many more foods.

Regularly including fiber in your diet will ensure LDL cholesterol is expelled from your body regularly.

4) Get Fat

Not in the way you’re thinking, though. By saying, “get fat,” we mean is getting some omega-3 fatty acids and mono-saturated fat in your diet.

These fats are required by the body to help raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol.

Sub these good fats in for unhealthy saturated fats. You can find them in avocados, olive oil, salmon, and other fatty fish, and nuts.

5) Eat Dessert

One of the best parts of being on a heart healthy diet? Chocolate is not the enemy, at least certain types of chocolate.

Dark chocolate and raw cocoa have powerful antioxidants that may keep arteries clog-free, helps increase HDL cholesterol, and keep blood platelets from sticking to one another and clotting.

The darker the chocolate, the better, since dark chocolate has higher concentrations of cocoa which has all the good stuff in it.

Milk chocolate contains more unwanted fats and especially more sugar, so keep your chocolate cravings as dark as possible.

6) Take L-Arginine Plus

L-arginine is a naturally-occurring amino acid converted by your body into nitric oxide.

More nitric oxide production relaxes and dilates blood vessels for improved blood flow in people who experience poor circulation caused by high cholesterol.

The l-arginine and l-citrulline in L-arginine Plus work together to stimulate more nitric oxide production and lengthen that production time.

To learn more about cholesterol, read What Is Cholesterol? And What Does It Mean For Your Health?