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ApplesI spent Independence Day in the Shenandoah Valley. Anytime I’m there this time of year I start thinking about how when I was a kid my grandparents would take my brother and me to the orchards to pick fresh fruit. Apples, peaches, grapes, nectarines – it seems we picked everything short of tropical fruit.

I recently learned that this variety of fruit wasn’t around during colonial times. “Government Book Talk,” a blog by the Government Printing Office, highlighted the interesting book, “Fruitful Legacy: A Historic Context for Orchards in the United States” that traces the evolution of orchards from 1600 to today.

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Cartoon of a family singing around a pianoMusic can lift you up. It can bring tears to your eyes. It can help you relax or make you get up and dance. You probably hear it several times a day—on the radio or TV, in the supermarket, at the gym or hummed by a passerby. Music’s been with us since ancient times, and it’s part of every known culture. Music strikes a chord with all of us.

“There’s something about music and engaging in musical activities that appears to be very stimulating for the brain and body,” says neuroscientist Dr. Petr Janata of the University of California, Davis. Singing favorite songs with family and friends, playing in a band or dancing to music can also help you bond with others. “It’s a way of synchronizing groups of people and engaging in a common activity that everyone can do at the same time,” Janata adds.

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The Health Benefits of Cutting Salt

A computer model suggests that even a modest reduction in salt intake could significantly reduce the number of deaths nationwide from coronary heart disease.

photo of a woman reading a nutritional label.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems. About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has hypertension.

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