Healthy Byte: Nutrition Choices & Alzheimer

Originally Posted HERE

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Max Lugavere was in denial when he saw his mother, Kathy, who was just 56-years-old, slowly slipping away.

It was 2009 that he first noticed she was moving slower, becoming stiff and would lose her thought in the middle of a conversation.

“She was the kind of person anybody would describe as a sharp-witted, high performer,” Max tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, “and it suddenly seemed like she had the brain of an 80-year-old.”

He and two younger brothers brushed it off because “she was so young” and didn’t think anything could be seriously wrong until they took a family trip to Miami.

“She couldn’t tell us what year it was, and she started to cry. It was like a record screeching to a halt, and I knew something was seriously wrong,” says Max, now 37, who immediately became her biggest advocate and went to dozens of doctors appointments with her.

Kathy was given the news in 2011 that they had dreaded from the beginning: she was diagnosed with the rare Lewy Body Dementia.

“I was watching the person who I loved more than anything in the world start to decline,” says Max, a Los Angeles-based science and health journalist. “I just became insanely motivated­ — just fixated on trying to figure out why.”

After her death in December 2018, his “entire world turned upside down,” but he continued to try to understand why and how why Kathy got dementia so young.

Max Lugavere with his mother Kathy | Courtesy Max Lugavere

Max Lugavere with his mother Kathy | Courtesy Max Lugavere

Discovering that Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, often begins decades before the first symptoms show, he learned there are ways to help prevent it from ever happening.

“We can eat in a way that supplies our brain with the raw materials it requires to create healthy new brain cells, which we now know the adult brain can do up until death,” says Max, who published in March 2018 his bestselling book Genius Foods (written with Paul Grewal, M.D.). “I discovered that diet is incredibly important and so is your lifestyle.”

Foods, such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein and dark leafy greens are crucial and others agree with his findings.

“He is intelligently helping us understand that there are things you can do with diet and lifestyle that slow cognitive decline,” says Dr. Ellen Vora, a holistic psychiatrist. “These diet changes certainly help with dementia, but they’re also going to help with many other things like heart disease, cancer prevention and mental health.”

He’s since launched a podcast called The Genius Life and is working on a second book with the same title coming out in 2020.

“Losing my mom was the biggest tragedy of my life,” says Lugavere, “but I’ve been compelled since day one to turn it into something that makes it a little less painful. I want to help as many people as I possibly can.”

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Healthy Byte: The Power of Positivity

This Little Shift in Thinking Could Change the Way You Perceive the World

Positive thinking really is powerful.(Photo: Stocksy/Eduard Bonnin)

The more I learn about the brain, the more fascinated I am by it. Things I used to think were just a mystery (like what makes us happy and what makes us sad) I’m now learning are totally controllable.

So, I was really excited to talk to one of the leading neuroscience psychologists in the field today: Rick Hanson, PhD, has written multiple best-selling books about how to actually hardwire our brains to stay positive in both thought and feeling.

In our conversation, I kept asking him questions related to my own experiences with emotional intelligence, positive thought, and the power we have to shift ourselves out of negative emotions and thought patterns. Everything Rick shared with me confirmed my own experience and what I’ve learned from other experts.

What I especially loved learning from Rick was how important it is to slow down and consciously enjoy the good times, because it actually helps reinforce the hardwiring of our brains. He explained that one of the easiest shifts to make is to acknowledge all the things that go right in our day versus only acknowledging what goes wrong.

This may seem obvious, but think about it: How often do you get 50 positive emails during your workday confirming you are doing your job right, and yet the one email you get that is negative, or exposes a mistake you made, is the only one you remember?

Rick’s favorite phrase to explain the importance of acknowledging the positive aspects of our days is, “Neurons that fire together wire together.”

Essentially, he explains that when we think positive thoughts (i.e. “Wow, my hair looks great today”), we are using neurons that create positive pathways in our brain — and these pathways are being kept open and ready to be used. The reverse is also true: If we are constantly stuck in negative thought loops, those are the neuron pathways that are open and being used.

So before you write off the power of positive thinking, remember that it costs zero money and next to no time to add a few more positive acknowledgments in your day. Science says that the effect will last longer than the thought.

Originally Posted HERE

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