Since we are the economic powerhouse of the U.S. here in North Dakota--let's also have the brain power as well!! Do you think it’s too late to become smarter without spending tons of money and time on schooling?  Think again!  Studies used to tell us that we were stuck with the smarts we had when we reached adulthood, but modern wisdom shows that our brains continue to grow and adapt at any age.  Here are a few tips to make yourself smarter, healthier, and happier from your Bismarck-Mandan radio pal:

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1)    Protect the brain you have.  Prevent physical injuries by wearing a helmet when you ride bikes, motorbikes, or when you play aggressive sports.  Our brains are soft and vulnerable to trauma.  Studies show that even minor concussions can have long-term effects on your brain that may affect you later down the road, long after the injury occurred.

2)    Learn, learn, learn.  Stretching your brain by learning new things makes you smarter.  The brain is a muscle – just like your arms, legs, or abs, the more your exercise your brain, the more connections it makes.  Learning a new language, doing crossword puzzles, or learning how to play a new musical instrument are some good examples.  Trying anything new has the same effect if you work on it continuously.

3)    Exercise your body – Increasing your blood flow through physical exercise will increase oxygen to your brain cells, which helps them function well.   One study by the University of Illinois found that people who walked for 45 minutes a day increased their cognitive function by 15%.  So, get moving!

4)    Get enough ZZZ’s. Sleep rejuvenates your brain.  Studies say that our brains grow during the 6th and 8th hour of sleep, so those who get 8-9 hours of sleep are more mentally alert.

5)    Eat Nutritious Foods.  Be sure to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies.  Always be sure to eat enough carbs, because your brain needs energy, fueled preferably by complex carbs.  Fruits with dark red and purple colors such as cherries and blueberries give long-term brain protection.

Source: Nicolewilliams.com “Works”