Heart disease has surpassed cancer as the number one leading cause of death in the United States, and your risk of developing it is dramatically increased if you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol also adds greatly to your risk of having a stroke, the third leading cause of death in the US. Because cholesterol contributes so significantly to both of these potentially fatal medical conditions, knowing what lowers cholesterol can actually be a lifesaver.

One of the reasons so many people die of high cholesterol every year is that it presents no symptoms, so those who have it often do not even know it until they are hit with a heart attack or stroke. If you know about your high cholesterol, you are already ahead of the curve, but just knowing about it is not going to prevent you from developing heart disease. You need to actually do something about it.

Lowering your cholesterol is simple, but it does require some effort and determination. Below is a short list of things you can do to take control of your high cholesterol.

1. Make dietary changes. Changing your diet is the most effective way of lowering your cholesterol. Foods that are full of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids will increase your cholesterol levels, whereas unsaturated fats and fiber will lower them.

Your body needs some fat and cholesterol in order to function, but too much will lead to health problems. Fats should make up no more than thirty-five percent of your daily diet, and most of these fats should be the unsaturated kind.

Omega-3 fatty acids are especially good at raising your HDL (good cholesterol) levels and bringing your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels down. These fatty acids are mainly found in oily fish. Fiber, found in fruit, vegetables, and grain products, will also help bring LDL cholesterol out of your blood stream.

2. Exercise. Being overweight contributor to high cholesterol levels, and exercise helps you lose this weight. Not only that, but exercise itself actually reduces the bad cholesterol in your body, and strenuous exercise increases the levels of HDL in your body. If you are wondering what lowers cholesterol, this is honestly one of the best solutions around.

3. Take Nutritional Supplements. If simply reducing your fat intake is not helping as much as you would like it too, you might want to consider taking a supplement to lower your cholesterol. So what lowers cholesterol as far as supplements are concerned?

Garlic, niacin, policosanol, and red yeast rice are all supplements that have been proven effective at lower cholesterol levels, sometimes to an even greater extent than prescription drugs. These supplements can all be bought at your local health store, and they have relatively few side effects when compared to the much harsher drugs your doctor might prescribe.

4. Use Herbs. The herbs that have been found to lower cholesterol are primrose and guggul. Some people have also found sunflower seeds, hawthorn, alfalfa, and grape seed extract to be effective, but these herbal supplements have not been formally tested to the same extent.

5. Ask Your Doctor About Medication. If you go to your doctor and ask them what lowers cholesterol, he or she will probably tell you about different kinds of cholesterol-lowering medications. There are certainly plenty of drugs on the market that can be used for lowering high cholesterol levels, but these should be used only as a last resort as they can cause some bad side effects.

Now that you know what lowers cholesterol, I hope you will use this information to keep yourself from becoming another heart-disease statistic. There is no reason that so many people should die from something that can be so easily prevented through diet and exercise. Please take your high cholesterol seriously and start doing something about it today!