Is There a Link Between Alzheimer’s and High Cholesterol?

Is There a Link Between Alzheimer’s and High Cholesterol?
Factors that May Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease
While understanding the cause of the disease continues to elude researchers, most are confident that they have identified some of the factors that may contribute to Alzheimer’s. One of them is high cholesterol. A study published in JAMA Neurology in 2013 shared the science behind why high cholesterol might be linked to Alzheimer’s.
Researchers say that high levels of “bad” cholesterol combined with low levels of “good” cholesterol are present in the brain of people who also have amyloid plaque deposits. For years these plaques have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This research has led some experts to believe that if you successfully manage your cholesterol, you can lower your risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
Dietary Choices that can Help Manage Cholesterol
While there are medications, namely statin drugs, that can help lower cholesterol, for some people the side effects are severe. This is why it’s important to learn more about the role diet can play in preventing high cholesterol.
What foods are considered to put you at risk for higher levels of LDL, the unhealthy type of cholesterol?

A few common ones include:
  • Red meat
  • Sugar and sugary treats like pies and pastries
  • Full fat dairy foods
  • Movie theatre popcorn
  • Clarified butter (also known as ghee)
  • Coconut oil
Replacing unhealthy food choices or limiting their consumption may help you avoid both high cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease.
Two dietary lifestyle programs experts say can help you manage your cholesterol include the DASH Diet and the Mediterranean diet. Both focus on adopting a way of eating that is similar to what people in the Mediterranean region, where there is lower incidence of Alzheimer’s and high cholesterol, consume each week.
Both diets are rich in:
  • Leafy greens, fruits and a rainbow of colored vegetables
  • Omega-3 fish such as tuna, sardines, salmon, trout and herring
  • Soluble fiber found in oatmeal
  • Vitamin E rich olive oil
  • Healthy nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts
Learn More about Cholesterol
You can learn more about cholesterol by visiting the Cholesterol Resources area of the American Heart Association’s website. There you will find tools and resources to help you understand good cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL), as well as recipes you can use to plan cholesterol-friendly menus.

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