If your cholesterol level is high, you will need to make a long-term effort to bring it down. You can significantly lower your cholesterol levels by sticking with a diet that is low in saturated fats, high in fruits and vegetables, and by substituting "good" fats for "bad" fats. The dietary changes need to be permanent to maintain lower cholesterol levels. Daily exercise also is important. Exercise can raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower total cholesterol.