This $30 Online Course at Harvard Teaches You to Eat and Exercise Your Way to Better Brain Health

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The American school system is a bit bonkers, if you really think about it. No one teaches you how to  plan for the debt you take on, read a lease agreement, or, like, raise another human being. Instead, you learn things like geometry—with some exceptions, of course—you'll basically never need again until it's time to help your own kids with their homework (by which point you'll have retained little beyond, "Yes, that's a triangle!").

An even more glaring omission than any sort of training around adulting is education around the body and mind, and what both need to stay well throughout life. After all, you can't adult if you're dead, am I right? And while I'm sure they've updated health class to rid it of the laughably misguided food pyramid and expand it beyond condom demonstrations featuring bananas, wellbeing is a bit more complicated than what can be broadly covered in a one-semester catch-all class (as evidenced by thousands of articles on this site alone).

Luckily, an online course at Harvard is picking up the slack by offering a course in eating and exercising your way to cognitive fitness. You don't have to dial up Rick Singer or mortgage your house (just kidding, no one owns houses anymore) to enroll it it, either, as it's just $30. The course lasts two weeks and requires approximately 2-4 hours of time per week, which is basically what you now spend feeling jealous of your friends and frenemies on Instagram—which can't possibly be good for your brain.

The curriculum includes a six-step plan for improving brain health while exploring the pillars of maintaining a top-notch noggin: brain-boosting foods, quality sleep, adequate exercise, managed stress, continued social activity, and ongoing mental challenges. It also includes explainers on what's known as "cognitive reserve," or the brain's ability to improvise, along with tips on how to build it up over time so as to mitigate the challenges of brain disease down the line. Plus, there are puzzles!

If you're thinking it's hard enough to find the time to take care of your body, which seems a more pressing task, consider that the brain is truly a case of not knowing what you've got 'til it's gone. (You watched The Notebook, right?) The brain is you—or at the very least, if you're a spiritual person, the way you communicate with the world—so it's pretty critical it be kept well enough to match the healthy body you've been tending to so diligently. After all, how else will you help your grandchildren use math to determine the level of sea rise at which their homes will be swept away, er, I mean, finish their parallelogram problem set?

W+G is no slouch in the brain health education department, either. Find out which 6 things a functional med doc does every day to promote cognitive fitness, sample the foods that'll protect your melon, and read all about one doc's journey to fight dementia

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