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Everything you need to know about brain health

Your brain: It's what you rely on for pretty much *everything* in your day-to-day life. From chatting with your pals and doing your geometry HW to simply moving around, you literally can't live without it. Despite this, brain health doesn't seem to be talked about enough. In reality, it should be considered just as important as physical health. It's time to normalize brain health—because it's a key component of what makes you, you!

What is it?

According to the World Health Organization, good brain health is the state at which you can realize your own abilities and optimize your cognitive, emotional, psychological and behavioral functioning to cope with life situations. Basically, if you usually know how to deal with situations that pop up in your life in a positive way, that's a green flag for your brain health! 

This isn't the only thing that determines how mentally healthy you are, though. Brain health encompasses neural development, plasticity, functioning and recovery across your whole lifetime. Totally brain farted in front of your whole chem class? Blanked and forgot it was your BFF's b-day? We've *all* been there. You probably find yourself blaming your brain, and you might even feel anrgy at your brain for failing you in sitches like these. DW, there are ways to prevent these awkward moments when our brains seem to fail us. The key to a sharper mind now and into the future? Keeping your brain healthy.

How you can keep your brain healthy 

Word games  

Word games are practically a workout for your brain! They're an *awesome* way to work those mental muscles, and they don't have to be super time-consuming. According to scripps.org, playing word games can prompt your brain to sprout new neurons. Turns out everyone's Wordle obsession will pay off.  

Brain foods

It's time to pump up your fruit, veggie and natural fats intake! Rich in omega 3s (which, btw, are essential in the production of brain and nerve cells), healthy fats like salmon can work wonders. Opt for eggs (full of vitamin B—good for improving mood *and* memory), fruits chock full of vitamin C (according to a study, vitamin C might be able to prevent Alzheimer's) and leafy greens (rich in vitamin K, which is another memory booster). Other foods that are practically magic for your memory are nuts, pumpkin seeds and whole grains.

Get moving

Moving is magic for the brain. When you exercise, more oxygen is sent to the brain, all while stimulating your motor systems. Find ways to incorporate movement into your busy sched—whether you sneak in a quick walk after school or snag a yoga sesh before bed, your mind will thank you!

Why should you take care of your brain?

As we grow up and get older, it's super common for our brains to decline and slow down. Not only does staying mentally healthy prevent issues like memory loss later on in life, but taking good care of your brain can improve your memory, mood and performance now. So take a few minutes each day to do a word puzzle, eat some brain foods and remember that your future self will thank you when you ace your next geometry test *and* know exactly what to say when your crush approaches.

Want more brain advice? Check out these related posts:
🧠 Brain fog: what is it and what can you do about it?
​🧠  4 protein-packed breakfasts to wake up your brain 
​🧠 Can holding your breath cause brain damage?

What do you do to keep your brain healthy? Let us know on Twitter @girlslifemag

All GIFs via GIPHY
Slider image: @selfcareisforeveryone

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by Eva Mandelbaum | 3/10/2022
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