High cholesterol is a warning sign that you may be developing heart disease. High cholesterol means that there is a build-up of lipids (fat) in your bloodstream. This build-up can block arteries and starve your heart or brain. The higher your cholesterol levels, the greater your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol has no obvious symptoms until it is too late, so it is advisable to have your cholesterol levels checked every few years. While very high cholesterol levels may require emergency pharmaceutical intervention, lifestyle changes have proven effective for most people seeking to lower their cholesterol naturally.

1. Exercise Regularly

Frequent exercise helps manage the HDL to LDL ratio. HDL is the good kind of lipoprotein, which carries cholesterol to the liver so it can be metabolized and excreted from the body. LDL is the bad lipoprotein that carries cholesterol towards the heart, where it mixes with other molecules to form the blood-stopping plaque.

Exercise has been proven to lower overall cholesterol, raise HDL levels and lower LDL levels. It also helps with weight loss and burning the abdominal fat that would otherwise contribute to high LDL and triglyceride levels.

2. Eat Turmeric, Ginger, and Garlic

Turmeric and ginger are powerful natural cholesterol fighters. They are both anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a huge contributing factor to high LDL levels.

Turmeric increases production of the enzymes in the liver that break down cholesterol.

And garlic has been proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Generally a daily dose of 1 ounce each of ginger and turmeric, and 1 or 2 cloves of garlic is sufficient for most people.

3. Cut Out Toxins

This is true for anyone seeking to maintain their health, but toxic food and substances are particularly counter-productive if you are trying to lower cholesterol. If you smoke at all, stop now. Smoking lowers levels of the beneficial HDL cholesterol and contributes to blood clotting and heart disease.

Trans-fat is to be avoided at all costs. The popularity of using trans-fat in baked goods and packaged snack foods for the past few decades is one of the main causes of the rise in heart disease. Anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil may contain trans-fat. In general it is best to avoid processed food products and commercial baked goods.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates, which act like sugar in the body, are also to be avoided. They spike blood sugar levels and increase insulin resistance, which means it gets harder for the body to burn sugar over time. Chronic high blood sugar levels raise LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

This doesnt mean you cant treat yourself, just choose unprocessed heart-healthy foods. Soaked raw walnuts and almonds make great snacks because they contain muscle-building protein and have been proven to modestly lower cholesterol levels. Go for a walk around the block or massage your feet when you need a little pick-me-up.

4. Eat Greens and Soluble Fiber

Dark green vegetables are the cornerstone of any health-giving diet. They are high in fiber and an array of heart-protecting vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients, and should make up the bulk of most meals.

Soluble fiber, such as in fruit, oats, and flax seeds, absorbs cholesterol in the digestive tract and helps it pass out of the body.

5. Go to Bed

Insufficient rest creates more stress in the body. High stress levels stimulate the production of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Strive for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.

Quality rest means that your bed is appropriate for your back and your bedroom is cool, quiet, and pitch black, to let your body and brain actually rest. Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed, and refrain from eating for at least the last two hours of your night.

Strive to relax as much as possible throughout your days. Emotional stress may trigger the release of more triglycerides into the bloodstream in a protective mechanism. Deep breathing exercises, Yoga, Qigong, and gentle exercise all help relieve stress.

6. Take Omega-3s and CoQ10

Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been proven to raise HDL levels, reduce inflammation and blood clotting, lower triglyceride levels, and reduce the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The most crucial omega-3s are EPA and DHA, which are most abundant in krill oil or other specific supplements.

Coenzyme Q10 is an anti-oxidant that keeps the LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which makes it even more dangerous. CoQ10 also supports the health of heart cells.

High cholesterol is potentially dangerous, but there is a lot you can do to lower your cholesterol levels naturally. Get more exercise, eat vegetables and fruit, and avoid toxic food and substances. Breathe deeply into your amazing heart, knowing that with a little more care on your part it can continue giving you life for years to come.