More good reasons to cut back on cholesterol in your diet: the latest UK research, announced November 24, reveals that regularly eating a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet may be linked to brain damage.

Due to the build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, high cholesterol diets can decrease the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain, which over time can lead to brain damage. British researchers backed up prior studies in revealing a connection between high-cholesterol diets and brain damage similar to Alzheimer's disease. The results were published in Molecular Cellular Neuroscience.

Earlier this month, Canadian scientists discovered a diet packed with nuts, avocados, and olive oil can reduce "bad" cholesterol (LDL-C) by 35 percent and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL-C) by around 12 percent.

So, how to keep your cholesterol in check? Some of the highest sources of bad cholesterol include beef, cheese, egg yolks, pork, poultry, and shrimp. David Jenkins at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital in Ontario, Canada, recommends filling your plate with nuts, avocados, and sunflower and olive oils, while cutting back on highly refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and processed snack foods, to reduce LDL-C levels. Other key factors include plenty of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber (10 grams for every 1,000 calories) from whole grains, almonds, eggplants and okra.

According the Mayo Clinic, a cholesterol-lowering lifestyle also emphasizes:

  • Getting plenty of exercise
  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

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