Millennials: Prevent Alzheimer’s Now

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Did you know that Alzheimer’s can start developing as early as your 30s?  Below is a summary of how to make healthy lifestyle changes now to ensure your brain is healthy in the future.

Exercise Regularly

Experts recommend exercising at high intensity for at least three hours a week to prevent Alzheimer’s, with two hours being from cardio and one hour from strength training. OK great, but what does that look like? It could mean three gym workouts per week, or running for 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes of body weight strength training four times per week. Whichever workout you choose, I always recommend to my clients that they schedule it in advance! Book an appointment with yourself (or sign up for classes ahead of time) and if you need to move it that’s totally fine — just be sure to reschedule that time with yourself on your calendar to get in your three hours.

Get at Least 7.5 Hours of Sleep Every Night

I often set goals with my clients to use the bedtime function on their smartphone clock app to ensure that they get enough sleep every night. Simply put in the time you need to wake up, and work backward at least 7.5 hours to see what time you need to go to bed. Your phone will remind you 15 minutes before, indicating that it’s time to start getting ready to go to sleep! While that does include brushing your teeth and starting your anti-aging nighttime regime (yes, I’m 30 now so this is a daily thing for me), it also means turning off/silencing all electronics to avoid bright lights from screens, and also dimming the lights in the bedroom to boost melatonin.

Eat a Diet High in Antioxidant Foods

This means focusing on vegetables, fruits and whole foods at every meal. I encourage all of my clients to make half of their plate non-starchy vegetables and to choose carbohydrates that are whole food such as fruits, sweet potatoes, beans or legumes.

Know Your Numbers

It might seem silly to start checking your blood sugars, cholesterol and blood pressure in your 20s and 30s, however I can’t stress enough how important it is to know your numbers. With a background working as a registered dietitian in advanced testing for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, I have seen firsthand how checking your labs, and checking them early, can affect the outcomes for the rest of your life. Alzheimer’s has been called “Type 3 diabetes” for a reason and there are things that you can do now to prevent health troubles down the line!

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Brittany Chin Jones
Brittany L. Chin Jones, MS, RD, LD, is the owner of Blush Nutrition, LLC and the communications chair of the Thirty and Under in Nutrition and Dietetics member interest group for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and has served as the Piedmont Dietetic Association president. Follow her at BrittanyJonesRD.com and on Twitter and Instagram.