According to a study published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, managing cholesterol might help reduce Alzheimer's risk. The researchers identified a genetic link between the progressive brain disorder and heart disease. Examining DNA from more than 1.5 million people, the study showed that risk factors for heart disease such as elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels (HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol) were genetically related to Alzheimer's risk. However, genes that contributes to other cardiovascular risk factors, like body mass index and Type-2 diabetes, did not seem to contribute to genetic risk for Alzheimer's. As per the researchers, the genes that influenced lipid metabolism were the ones that also were related to Alzheimer's disease risk.
Thus, if the right genes and proteins could be targeted, it may be possible to lower the risk for Alzheimer's disease in some people by managing their cholesterol and triglycerides. The team identified points of DNA that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and also heighten the risk for Alzheimer's disease. The team looked at differences in the DNA of people with factors that contribute to heart disease or Alzheimer's disease and identified 90 points across the genome that were associated with risk for both diseases. Their analysis confirmed that six of the 90 regions had very strong effects on Alzheimer's and heightened blood lipid levels, including several within genes that had not previously been linked to dementia risk.
These included several points within the CELF1/MTCH2/SPI1 region on chromosome 11 that previously had been linked to the immune system. The researchers confirmed their findings in a large genetic study of healthy adults by showing that these same risk factors were more common in people with a family history of Alzheimer's, even though they had not themselves developed dementia or other symptoms such as memory loss.
In order to manage cholesterol, follow these simple diet tips to ensure a healthy life:
1. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s help raise your HDL cholesterol levels. They are also known to protect your heart from blood clots and inflammation and further reduce the risk of heart attack. Include more fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel in your diet. In fact, American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times a week.
2. Eat more mono-unsaturated fats
Unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated fats. Diet heavy on mono-unsaturated fats reduces harmful LDL, further protecting the level of HDL or good cholesterol. Include more olives, canola oil, olive oil, tree nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, et al and avocadoes.
3. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables may help increase important cholesterol lowering compounds in your diet. These seasonal delights are loaded with fibre, which is known to be good for your heart.
4. Limit salt intake
Salt intake is known to up the risk of various heart diseases. So ensure limiting your salt intake as it helps lower blood pressure. Make sure you stay away from hidden salt.
5. Avoid trans-fat
Trans-fat are unsaturated fats that have been modified by a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenated products are not handled by the body well, causing it to up the bad cholesterol levels. Most processed foods contain trans-fat, so it best to avoid them.
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