Healthy Byte: Better for Weight Loss – Cardio or Strength Training?

Originally Posted HERE

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When it comes to losing weight, should you head to the treadmill or make gains in the weight room? In the long-standing debate, cardio enthusiasts say you’ll burn fat by torching calories when you increase that heart rate. Weight lifters, however, believe excess fat is best shed by increasing muscle mass because it causes you to burn more calories throughout the day.

So which is best?

Both arguments are true, according to Dr. Andy Galpin, PhD, CSCS, NSCA-CPT and Associate Professor at California State University, Fullerton.

You burn more calories when you’re heart rate is elevated, explains Galpin. You also burn more calories every second of the day when you have more muscle. However, the difference won’t be significant for most people, says Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D, C.S.C.S..

Ultimately, there isn’t just one “right” exercise,

“Fat loss for most people is simply a product of work,” he says. “The best exercise you ever do for fat loss is the one that you’re most consistent with.”

It makes sense that you’re less likely to lace up for that jog if you detest running. “Adherence and effort will determine a huge percentage of the fat loss pie,” says Galpin.

Galpin admits the answer isn’t satisfying, but claims most people won’t notice a huge difference in fat loss by choosing one type of modality.

There’s no need to spend hours on your deadlift if you’d rather run, but Galpin believes changing your routine has benefits that go beyond weight. It’s natural to get bored of the same spin class. Trying something new, like kickboxing or weight lifting, will feel less monotonous and improve your adherence, he asserts.

You also open yourself up to injuries by continually stressing the same muscles–especially if you have bad form.

“Over time it will catch you,” says Galpin.

Plus, losing weight shouldn’t be the only reason you work out.

Aerobic activities have long been praised for making your heart stronger, lowering blood pressure, and yes, burning calories. But studies show that regular cardiovascular activity may help lower stress, improve sleeping habits, and reduces joint stiffness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Strength training is also beneficial because it increases bone density, lean muscle mass, and metabolism, Mayo Clinic reported.

That said, working out won’t change the number on the scale if you’re living on pizza and fries. Earlier this year, researchers found that people who began an exercise plan ate about 90 more calories each day. This isn’t much, but it was enough to stall weight loss, according to the paper published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as you’d think. For example, an 180-pound man who jogs a 10-minute mile for 30 minutes burns about 400 calories, according to ACE Fitness. To put this into perspective, a supreme slice from Pizza Hut contains 330 calories. That run likely wont negate extra calories from indulgent meals.

Unless you’re Rich Froning, chances are you won’t exercise away a day filled with pizza, french fries and donuts. Low calorie (but highly nutritious) foods that contain protein and fiber are important in a well-balanced diet.

“Fiber-rich foods provide a certain level of satiety and fullness,” Bethany Doerfler, MS, RDN, Clinical Dietitian at Northwestern University, previously told Men’s Health.

And you don’t have need to exercise to notice a difference in your waist size, says Schoenfeld.

“One of my suggestions is to just get off your butt,” he says. “Try to be as active as possible.”

Your body burns calories 24-hours a day–not just when you’re in the gym. Calories burned from taking a walk at lunch, standing throughout the day, and even cleaning the house all add up, he explains.

When it comes to planning your fitness routine, Schoenfeld says you should focus on more than just the numbers on the scale.

Think about your goals: Do you want to build muscle? Or would you prefer to work on endurance training?

If you simply want to feel and look better overall, include both cardio and strength training.

“Ideally both are beneficial,” says Schoenfeld.

Healthy Byte: Protein, the Fountain of Youth

Originally Posted HERE

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(Reuters Health) – Older adults who cut back on the amount of vegetable protein in their diets may be more likely to experience age-related health problems than their peers who increase the amount of plant protein they eat, a Spanish study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 1,951 people aged 60 and older who completed dietary surveys and questionnaires to detect four types of unhealthy aging: functional impairments; reduced vitality; mental health issues; and chronic medical problems or use of health services. Participants provided this information in three waves: from 2008-2010, in 2012 and again in 2017.

Overall, study participants got an average 12% of their calories from animal protein, including meat and dairy, and about 6% from vegetable protein, including sources such as legumes, nuts, grains, root vegetables and green plants.

Compared to people who decreased vegetable protein intake by more than 2% between the first wave and 2012, those who increased their consumption of vegetable protein by more than 2% developed fewer deficits associated with unhealthy aging during the study.

“There is growing evidence supporting a beneficial effect of higher intakes of total protein on muscle mass and strength, physical functioning, hip fracture and frailty,” said Esther Lopez-Garcia, senior author of the study and a researcher at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.

The study offers fresh evidence that the type of protein matters, too.

“If you eat more plant-based sources of proteins, you are also getting a lot of micronutrients and healthy fats, and fiber that help improve your health,” Lopez-Garcia said by email. “On the other hand, if you consume animal sources of proteins full of saturated and trans fats, and other substances added during the processing (mostly salt and nitrites), you are getting all the detrimental effects of these substances.”

At the start of the study, people got about 5.2% of their calories from meat, 3.3% from dairy, 3% from refined grains and 2.8% from fish. Participants got less than 1% of their calories from legumes, eggs, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, tubers or nuts.

Changes in animal protein consumption during the study didn’t appear to influence the potential for people to show more signs of unhealthy aging by the end of the study, researchers report in the American Journal of Medicine.

But adding more vegetable protein was linked to fewer deficits by the end of the study.

“Since substitution of plant protein for animal protein has been associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, it is relevant to understand which source of protein may be more beneficial for a healthy aging,” Lopez-Garcia said.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how eating more plant proteins may stall unhealthy aging. It also wasn’t able to determine which types of vegetable proteins might be best from an aging perspective.

One limitation of the study is that many participants dropped out before the end. It’s also possible that results from this study of older adults might not apply to younger people.

“While high protein intake might not be preferable for middle-aged adults, it has been shown that high level of protein intake is protective among those aged 66 years and older,” said Yian Gu, a neurology researcher at Columbia University in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It is important to interpret scientific findings on protein intake based on age groups, ” Gu said by email. “The current study results are consistent with findings in the elderlies, with further information from innovative analyses of animal and plant based proteins separately.”

The sources of protein also matter, Lopez-Garcia said.

Good sources of plant-based protein include lentils, beans, peas, soybeans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains like teff, wheat, quinoa, rice, oats, and buckwheat, Lopez Garcia advised.

Healthy options for animal protein can include poultry, seafood, eggs, as well as dairy in moderation, Lopez-Garcia advised. Protein sources to reduce or limit include red and processed meat.

Healthy Byte: Aerobic vs. Anaerobic

Originally Posted HERE

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Think about how you feel on the treadmill versus during a high-intensity interval workout: Your probably feel like you could maintain that steady state for a pretty solid amount of time without wheezing, while just one round of HIIT leaves you gasping for breath.

That difference is important to understand, because it’s how you can tell aerobic vs. anaerobic workouts apart. Your body creates energy in two basic ways: anaerobically (without oxygen) and aerobically (with oxygen), and each of those methods will affect your body differently. Understanding that process can help you burn calories and fat—plus increase your overall strength, power, and endurance.

What’s An Anaerobic Workout?

Any activity performed at a high enough intensity that your body can’t provide the necessary energy to complete it with oxygen intake alone is considered anaerobic. “Anaerobic workouts primarily utilize fast twitch muscle fibers that can function only for a short amount of time without the help of additional inhaled oxygen,” explains Lesley Bell, a NASM-certified personal trainer and brain health coach at Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Cali.

[pullquote align=’left’]”Anaerobic workouts primarily utilize fast-twitch muscle fibers.”[/pullquote]

Without oxygen, the body uses adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and glucose in the muscle cells for energy. But that process can’t be sustained more than 90 to 120 seconds of high-intensity exercise because your muscles have produced a significant amount of lactic acid in that time; after that, “your body must begin to utilize inhaled oxygen in order to break down glucose and fatty acids” to continue to produce energy, says Bell, and that’s when your aerobic energy system takes over (more on that in a minute).

Here’s an advanced HIIT workout from Kelsey Wells that’ll get your heart pumping:

“Anaerobic is done at a high intensity and usually using multiple intervals,” says Andy Coggan, the director of fitness at Gold’s Gym. If you’ve ever done a HIIT workout, that’s anaerobic exercise. Plyometrics, sprinting, and weight lifting are all considered anaerobic—you’re going all out with 100-percent effort, but you can only sustain that effort for a short period of time. “Most sports involve anaerobic bursts followed by periods of rest,” too, he adds.

Photo credit: Cavan Images - Getty Images

Photo credit: Cavan Images – Getty Images

What’s An Aerobic Workout?

If the word “aerobics” makes you think of women dancing in Spandex, you’re on the right track—those low-intensity classes are designed to keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time.

“Aerobic exercise is anything where oxygen intake is sufficient enough to provide the energy necessary to sustain that exercise without tapping into alternative energy sources,” says Coggan. These workouts primarily utilize slow twitch muscle fibers and the glucose and fatty acids the anaerobic system has already produced for fuel, which can sustain activity for extended periods of time, adds Bell.

Any lower- to moderate-intensity exercise is considered aerobic. Think about steady-state exercise like walking, running, cycling, or even dancing. You’re not going to be gasping for breath during these workouts, because your body is continuously consuming enough oxygen for you to power through.

Why Are Aerobic and Anaerobic Workouts Important?

Obviously, these styles of training are pretty different. And they’re both equally important in a well-rounded fitness regimen.

Aerobic exercise triggers fat burning, because you still have oxygen in your muscle tissue. It also “improves the cardiovascular system by strengthening the heart and potentially increasing the maximal amount of oxygen the body can utilize (AKA your VO2 max),” says Bell, which can improve your endurance.

On the other hand, anaerobic exercise—like HIIT—has been shown to burn more total calories in a shorter amount of time. “Science shows that this method of training can be extremely beneficial for power development, building muscle mass, and fat burning,” says Coggan. You’ll also build stronger joints and bones due to the increased impact on your body.

To picture how these training methods affect your body, think about the bodies of elite athletes: A typical cross-country runner or marathoner follows a highly aerobic training program, whereas a CrossFitter is someone who prioritizes an anaerobic program.

But you can’t just do cardio or just do weights if you want to get fitter or stronger—even if you have a specific goal in one of those areas.

“Both styles of training will burn calories and improve the function of the heart and lungs, and the best bet for maximum adaptation and body transformation is to combine these training styles over the course of a week,” says Coggan.

“In doing so, you’re getting the power- and muscle-building benefits of anaerobic work while adding the increased stamina and endurance associated with aerobic workouts.”

Here’s How Often You Should Be Doing Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises Per Week

As Coggan said, you want to make time for both anaerobic and aerobic workouts throughout your week. The most important thing to remember is that there’s an inverse relationship between intensity and duration, says Bell. That means you want to do less of the higher intensity workouts (anaerobic) and more of the low- to moderate-intensity workouts (aerobic).

“Research has shown that a maximum of three to four days of high-intensity exercise with proper rest periods in between is optimal to see results,” says Bell.

“Anything more may yield the same or similar health benefits, but can put you at risk for overtraining or overuse injuries.”

Aerobic exercise, though, could theoretically be done as many as seven days a week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults have at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio per week. “You could split that up anywhere between two to five days, as long as you’re keeping your heart rate around 60 to 75 percent of your maximum,” says Bell. (If you’re going to increase the intensity of the cardio, you’ll want to decrease the duration of it.)

The average person should start with one to two aerobic sessions with one anaerobic session per week, says Coggan. “Over time, you can work up to three to four aerobic sessions intermixed with two higher intensity anaerobic workouts spaced a few days apart from each other,” he says.

Healthy Byte: Exercising for Urological Health

Originally Posted HERE

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When we read, watch or listen to reports of the benefits of exercise, they’re most frequently in relationship to heart health or weight loss. Of course, most people know that exercise provides some great overall health benefits, too, but that notion is more abstract. The less we know about how exercise helps the body, the less likely we might be to engage in it. Well, if you’re among the millions of people currently affected by a urological condition, I’ve got great news. Regular, consistent physical activity just might help reduce the symptoms of certain urological health issues, including urinary incontinence and erectile problems.

Exercising for Bladder Health

For people experiencing bladder health issues like urinary incontinence or bladder leakage, or for those who simply want to keep their bladder healthy, regular exercise is a great way to accomplish this goal. I know this may sound surprising, especially because many people who have bladder issues experience the symptoms of urinary leakage while they’re exercising. However, the key here is to engage in the right types of exercise to both reduce the experience of symptoms and, in some cases, significantly improve the bladder condition itself. In this case, low-impact exercises are best.

Types of low-impact exercise include cycling, yoga and swimming. The goals of exercising for bladder health are to strengthen the abdominal core muscles, elongate the spine and to lift and strengthen the chest. When these goals are accomplished, the result can be a significant reduction in pressure on the bladder and its surrounding muscles, which in turn can help relieve urinary incontinence symptoms. On the other hand, to avoid making bladder symptoms worse, skip exercises that place a significant amount of pressure on the pelvic region. These may include jumping jacks or heavy weight-lifting.

Exercising for Sexual Health

The benefits of aerobic exercise on erectile issues are another area of research interest for urological health professionals and one I believe a number of men can greatly benefit from in terms of improving their sexual health. Most often, when men are facing erectile issues, they’re encouraged to perform specific exercises that target the muscles in the pelvic region. These types of exercise are absolutely important, but research has also shown that “total body” aerobic workouts can have a positive impact on erectile function. Because a significant number of men with erectile dysfunction have developed the condition secondarily due to blood flow issues related to cardiac disease, obesity or diabetes (or a combination of these), heart-pumping aerobic exercise can help by promoting weight loss, overall cardiovascular health and blood flow improvements that aren’t only limited to the heart. In fact, a brisk walk a few days per week over a consistent period of time can do plenty for a man’s cardiovascular, erectile and overall health. No equipment or gym membership required!

Of course, while the benefits of regular, heart-pumping exercise cannot be denied, they can be almost entirely undone by a poor diet. As you engage in a healthier physical fitness lifestyle, consider overhauling your dietary intake as well. Whenever possible, opt for whole, unprocessed (not from a box) foods and a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables. And since these are the urological organs we’re talking about, as the filtration system for your entire body — they need plenty of water to function properly every day.

As you engage in targeted pelvic options like Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of your urological system, don’t forget to add in good old-fashioned, heart-pumping activities, too. Their total-body benefits don’t exclude your urological organs and may just help you totally reverse the conditions you’re facing — or better yet, prevent them from occurring later on down the road. When it comes to your urological health, don’t take it lying down. Get up and get moving.

Healthy Byte:

Originally Posted HERE

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(Reuters Health) – People who start fasting every other day may lose more weight than they would if they stuck to their usual eating habits, a small study suggests.

The 60 healthy people in the four-week study were not overweight. Researchers randomly assigned them to either stick to their usual eating habits or switch to alternate day fasting, with 12 hours of unrestricted food followed by 36 hours of no food.

With alternate-day fasting, people reduced weekly calories by 37% on average and shed an average of 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds). That compares with an average calorie reduction of 8.2% and an average weight loss of 0.2 kilograms (0.44 pounds) without this diet.

“We do not recommend this as a general nutrition scheme for everybody, because this is a harsh intervention of which we do not know the long-term effects,” said Frank Madeo, senior author of the study and a researcher at the University of Graz in Austria.

“We feel that it is a good regime for some months for obese people to cut weight,” Madeo said by email.

To ensure that people assigned to alternate day fasting didn’t eat on fasting days, researchers asked them to wear continuous glucose monitors. Spikes in blood glucose levels might mean people had a snack. Researchers also asked participants to fill in food diaries documenting their fasting days.

After 4 weeks of alternate day fasting, people had more lean muscle and less body fat, lower cholesterol levels and improved heart health – all things that can happen with a wide variety of exercise and nutrition programs.

To get a sense of the safety of alternate day fasting, researchers looked at a separate group of 30 people who had been eating this way for at least 6 months, comparing them to healthy people who had not been fasting.

They didn’t find any meaningful negative side effects.

One limitation of the study is that researchers didn’t test the diet in people who needed to lose weight. They also didn’t have any long-term safety data, and many health problems associated with extreme dieting like malnutrition and brittle bones can take much longer than 6 months to develop.

“The ‘starvation mode’ the body goes into during alternate day fasting may have some benefits,” said Susan Roberts, a senior scientist at the USDA Nutrition Center at Tufts University who wasn’t involved in the study.

For example, fasting can improve the body’s ability to use the hormone insulin to transform sugars into energy, a process that can help reduce blood sugar and prevent diabetes, Roberts said by email.

But there isn’t enough safety information about alternate day fasting to recommend it as a regular way of eating to maintain a healthy weight or for weight loss, Roberts said.

“My preferred option to be honest is not to recommend alternate day fasting per se but to use occasional daily fasting as a toolbox option that some people may find helpful,” Roberts said. “A small percentage of people wanting to lose weight may find it helpful, but we don’t yet know the long-term safety to recommend it with comfort.”

Healthy Byte: Lifting is Better than Cardio After 60

Originally Poster HERE

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For many of us, life gets better — easier, even — as we get older. We get more comfortable and confident in our own skin. But unfortunately, some things, like losing weight, don’t get easier with age. In reality, dropping unwanted pounds can feel harder than ever.

Whether it’s a busy schedule or stiff joints that’s holding you back, you might be less inspired to go to the gym. Those 10 pounds you gained in your 40s can become an extra 20 pounds in your 50s and 60s. But experts agree that it’s important to focus on achieving your healthy weight at any age.

“Excess fat is something we shouldn’t ignore no matter how old we are,” says Robert Huizenga, MD, an internist and associate professor of clinical medicine at UCLA. The good news is that while losing weight in your 60s is much harder, women actually won’t find it more difficult to lose weight than men. Dr. Huizenga says, “There has actually been no difference in the amount or rate of weight loss in individuals of either sex who are over 60 years old versus those who are younger.”

Michael Spitzer, a personal trainer and author of Fitness at 40, 50, 60 and Beyond, agrees, adding that “the true path to weight control and fitness after age 60 isn’t that much different than it is at any other stage of life.” However, there are certain factors that need special consideration.

What to consider before you start your weight loss journey

For starters, it’s important more than ever to actually talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen. “Medical problems, such as heart disease and metabolic disease, become more common after age 60, so it’s much more important to have a medical checkup before attempting a fat loss plan,” says Dr. Huizenga. Then there’s the fact that over the age of 60, your oxygen intake may be reduced by as much as one-third of what it was when you were 25. This might make it a tougher time to take deep breaths while you’re exercising. That’s why it’s crucial to ease into a new exercise routine.

This is also the decade when your hips, knees, and other key joints are more likely to develop arthritis, which means that your go-to running or aerobic workouts may need to be swapped for swimming and/or gentle walking plans.

With that said, there are steps you can take to make your weight loss journey more manageable. Here are expert-approved tips that’ll help you clean up your diet, lose excess weight, and set you up for better health in your 60s, 70s, and beyond.

1. Focus on fat loss, not weight loss.

During this decade, you want to focus on building more muscle instead of decreasing the number on the scale. “At advanced ages, you cannot afford to lose muscle, organ tissue, or bone mass,” says Dr. Huizenga. Lifting weights is important as you get older because you lose a percentage of muscle every year. This affects your metabolism and ability to get rid of body fat. With age, your bones also become weaker, especially if you’re post-menopausal, which is due to lower estrogen levels — the hormones responsible for maintaining bone mass. But by creating pressure on your joints through weight-bearing exercises, you can actually help build stronger, healthier bones. So instead of focusing on what the scale says, turn your energy and attention into adopting a new strength training routine, which brings us to our next point.

2. Add strength training to your workout routine.

Muscle loss equals a slower metabolism, which explains why you’re more likely to put on — and hold on to — those extra pounds. But lifting weights can help rev up your metabolism by building muscle mass.

If you don’t have a consistent weight training regimen, you’ll want to start slowly. It’s also worth working with a personal trainer who provide a personalized strength training plan. By easing into a new plan, it will give your body time to adapt without placing too much strain on your muscles or joints and help you avoid injury, says Dr. Huizenga.

But don’t get too comfortable with an easy resistance-training program. It’s important to gradually increase the amount of weight you lift. “It’s critical that significant resistance exercise be incorporated into any fat loss plan over age 60,” he adds. Once you can do 10 to 12 reps with a five-pound dumbbell and feel like you could keep going, it’s time to upgrade to an eight-pound weight, and so forth. “You know you’re lifting the right amount of weight if you can just barely make it to the end of your repetitions before needing to rest,” he says.

3. Stay hydrated.

Of course, this is a tip for anyone trying to lose weight and boost her overall health, but it’s especially important as we get older. That’s because as we age, the hypothalamus, which controls our hunger and thirst, becomes desensitized, dulling our thirst signals, says Matt Essex, founder of ActiveRx Aging Centers in Arizona. “Plus, many older people avoid drinking water so they can avoid running to the bathroom constantly,” adds Christen Cooper, RD, a dietitian in Pleasantville, NY. “This is especially true for men with prostate issues and women with bladder limitations.”

Since water is key for digestion and metabolism, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough. Our bodies can easily mistake thirst for hunger, which causes us to eat more than we actually need. Consider purchasing a water bottle with a timeline tracker to remind you when you need to take swigs throughout the day.

4. Load up on protein.

If ever there was a time to focus on getting enough lean protein, it’s now. “There is some evidence that older adults need more protein,” says Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, senior director of worldwide nutrition education and training at Herbalife. Aim to get roughly 30 grams of protein at each meal, and more if you tend to crave carb-rich foods.

“In my practice, I notice that dietary patterns tend to shift somewhat with age, and as people get older, the calories that were once spent on lean protein might now be spent on carbohydrates or fats,” says Bowerman. Not only does adequate protein help support muscle growth and repair, but it’s also more satiating than carbs and fats, meaning you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks, Bowerman says.

5. Be patient.

While it’s just as possible to reach your healthy weight in your 60s as it is when you were in your 20s, it might take a little longer. You might not be able to push yourself as hard as you’d like to during your workouts, leading to a lower-calorie burn. Or, you may not be as strong as you once were, prompting you to lift lighter weights (also lowering that calorie-burn number you see on your fitness tracker). “Keep your focus on the healthy behaviors you’re adopting in order to achieve your goal, rather than your frustration if it’s not happening right away,” says Bowerman. If you stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan, your weight will take care of itself over time.

6. Stretch often.

The more flexible you are, the more you will enjoy any physical activity you do and the less chance you’ll have of injury, says Rami Aboumahadi, a certified personal trainer based in Florida. And at 60 years old, a less active lifestyle and an increase in aches and pains can make your flexibility plummet. Consider taking a yoga class or simply adding a few stretches to your day, particularly after you’ve taken a walk or warmed up your muscles in some other way.

7. Think positive.

If you’re constantly thinking, “gaining weight is part of the aging process” or “everybody my age is overweight” on repeat, it’s time for new weight-loss mantras, says Cooper. “It’s important to avoid slipping into a mindset that will prevent you from losing weight,” he says. Find a community of people who want to get fit and stay that way so that you surround yourself with as much support as possible. Perhaps you can find a walking group, take a group fitness class, or talk a few friends into joining you for water aerobics at the local pool. “Too often, what limits us from achieving our weight-loss goals is all psychological,” says Cooper.

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.”