When it comes to cholesterol control, don't crack open that pill bottle--try cracking open a few nuts instead.

A new review of the research finds that nuts of all kinds-- the edible ones, not crazy people--can help lower your cholesterol levels.

Score one more for Mother Nature... and you just know that's driving Big Pharma nuts!

Researchers looked at 25 previously published studies, covering roughly 600 people. And they found that a small daily serving of nuts--67 grams a day, or roughly 2.3 ounces--lowered levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol by an average of 7.4 percent, according to the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The researchers also found that nuts lowered overall cholesterol levels by 5.1 percent, and improved the ratio of good to bad cholesterol by 8.3 percent.

Not only that, but nuts also lowered triglyceride levels by 10.2 percent.

You can take these nuts with a grain of salt, however, because the study was funded in part by the nut industry. But that's no reason to ignore it--because nuts have proven time and again to be more than just a tasty treat.

One earlier study found that women who ate nuts four times a week had a 40 percent lower risk of death by heart disease. Another study found men who ate nuts two or more times a week had a lower risk of sudden cardiac death. Other studies have even found that nut-eaters have a lower risk of diabetes.

Nuts have been crushed by the mainstream over the years because they're loaded with fats--and fats are supposed to be bad, right?

But that line of reasoning isn't all it's cracked up to be... because not all fats are created equal. The fats in nuts are downright healthy--and even the FDA has grudgingly admitted that nuts can help lower your heart disease risk.

In many ways, all-natural nuts are the perfect snack. Just avoid nutty candy bars, spreads and sugar-packed blends like honey-roasted peanuts.

Instead, buy mixed nuts by the sack, crack 'em open and enjoy these treats with a beer or a glass of wine, since alcohol can also help lower your cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

So what are you waiting for? Get cracking!

Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Eating nuts can lower cholesterol, say experts