Did you know that Alzheimer’s can start developing as early as your 30s? Women make up about 66% of those affected by the disease, and as a Registered Dietitian focused on prevention the Today Show segment this morning really caught my attention.
You can watch the full video here, and below is a summary of how to make healthy lifestyle changes NOW to ensure your brain is healthy in the future:
1 – 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 Orange Theory Fitness workouts per week, or running for 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes of body weight strength trianing four times per week. Whichever work out 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.
2 – Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night
I often set goals with my clients to use the bed time function on their iPhone clock app to ensure that they get enough sleep every night. Simply put in the time you need to wake up, and work backwards 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 night time regime (yes, I’m 30 now so this is a daily thing for me), but 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.
3 – 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. All Blush Nutrition meal plans are naturally high in antioxidants and good fats because they focus on eating whole non-processed foods throughout the day.
4 – 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 first hand 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! If you don’t have a primary care physician and are in Greenville, SC I highly recommend one of my partners The Brio Internal Medicine as they are also focused on prevention.
Want to know more about disease prevention, brain health and how your diet can help? Message me!