This article is courtesy of Hail Merry:

In this installment on Cholesterol and the dangers of statins, we offer 6 types of foods that can lower cholesterol naturally and without the nasty side effects of drugs. Guess what? Four out of six of the foods are HEALTH FATS! Yes, you can and should eat fat to lower your cholesterol. The trick is to know which fats are healthy.

The scientific proof that cholesterol causes heart disease and that dietary cholesterol (from saturated animal fats, eggs and certain seafood) raises serum cholesterol levels, have proven to be false yet when a person has a total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL or higher, statins are often recommended. For many with high cholesterol due to an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle, there are natural ways to lower your profile naturally without taking drugs. The two key ways are diet and exercise.

Being active is essential for good health and 30 minutes per day of moderate activity- walking, bike riding, yoga, weights, tennis, is recommended. More on exercise another time- this article is about reducing cholesterol naturally by diet.

First- eliminate foods that are known to cause a rise in cholesterol. These are hydrogenated oils and highly refined vegetable oils, such as soybean, safflower and canola, found in many processed and fried foods, including chips, crackers, cookies, baked goods, pizza, cereals, breakfast bars, canned soups, and prepared salad dressings. It is the hydrogenation of these oils that makes them toxic to the human body. They belong to a class of ingredients known as metabolic disruptors. This is a class of ingredients that interferes with normal human metabolism and includes ingredients like sodium nitrite, MSG, and aspartame. Additionally, highly refined oils contain free radicals that cause inflammation, disease and premature aging.

Second- eat foods that improve cholesterol levels by reducing LDL and increasing HDL. Interestingly many of the foods that help reduce cholesterol are FATS- healthy fats found in salmon and cold water fish, nuts, avocados and raw plant oils such as olive oil and coconut oil.

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Salmon, flax, chia and hemp. These fatty acids are so important to good health. For more information read past blogs Top Anti-Inflammatory Food and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
  • Monounsaturated Oils: This heart healthy fat is found in olive oil and avocado. And, avocados more than any other fruit, contain cholesterol-smashing, phytosterols, a beneficial plant-based lipid that reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food.
  • Nuts: Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. In a study, people who noshed on 1.5 ounces of whole raw walnuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol by 5.4% and LDL cholesterol by 9.3%. Almonds and cashews are other good options.
  • Lutein containing foods such as green leafy vegetables, egg yolks and animal fat. What- eat saturated fat? Lutein is synthesized only by plants and like other xanthophyll’s is found in high quantities in spinach and kale. Lutein is also found in egg yolks and animal fats. But wait- weren’t we told these foods raise cholesterol? Lutein already has reputation for guarding against age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Now research suggests that eating lutein-rich food daily also guards against heart attacks by helping artery walls “shrug off” cholesterol invaders that cause clogging.
  • Cocoa Powder: This powerful antioxidant helps increase HDL cholesterol levels. In a 2007 study, participants who were given cocoa powder had a 24% increase in HDL levels over 12 weeks, compared with a 5% increase in the control group.
  • Coconut oil: A Hail Merry favorite. In this study virgin coconut oil reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids, LDL, and VLDL cholesterol levels and increased HDL cholesterol in serum and tissues.

Luckily, Hail Merry’s certified gluten-free, vegan snacks and desserts feature many of these plant based cholesterol lowering foods: flax, hemp, nuts, cocoa powder and coconut oil. Give the gift of health and indulgence this season to someone you love.

This advice is courtesy of Hail Merry®, the Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free snack brand that features healthy organic raw plant based oils and delivers superior taste and purity. The company is a women-owned certified business (WBENC) guided by experienced leaders who value healing foods and are dedicated to ingredient integrity. At Hail Merry, we believe sharing a journey to higher health is the path to a better world. Hail Merry is sold nationally at Whole Foods Market, Central Market, Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage and other natural foods retailers. Hail Merry® is also available at airports, stadiums, convention centers, colleges/universities and national hotels, such as Omni Hotels & Resorts.