HELP YOUR CHILDREN GROW AND LEARN

A healthy, nutritious diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. Children need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. They need to eat three meals daily and have healthy snacks in between. The more active your child is, the more calories he or she needs. Here are some ways to encourage your child to follow a nutritious diet:

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SODIUM AND YOUR HEALTH

Sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is regulated in the body by the kidneys. It helps control the body’s fluid balance, affects muscle function and helps send nerve impulses. An Australian study showed the brain responds to sodium in the same way it responds to substances such as cocaine and heroin, which may explain why we tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods.

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HEALTHY EATING TIPS

A balanced healthy diet should contain a variety of nutritious foods and sufficient vitamins and minerals. Such a diet can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk of many diet-related problems, such type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s recommended men have around 2,500 calories a day and women 2,000 calories a day. Studies indicate eating a typical Western diet filled with packaged meals, takeout foods, processed meats and sugary snacks may lead to stress, high rates of depression....

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when choosing their mates. This idea is supported by a study in the Journal of Medical Genetics, which linked mutations on chromosomes 4q22 and 8q13-21 to musical ability. Further studies have found these genes can influence perception, memory and even participation in music.


Canadian researchers observed the physiological shape on a person’s vocal tracts resulted in a more pleasing natural voice. There is also a genetic factor to singing.


“Different races and cultures actually have different sound,” Stoney said. This has to do with the shape and size of the vocal cords and the larynx. The shape of a person’s skull is also responsible for the shape and size of the pharynx and the nasal cavities, a person’s natural resonators. To further illustrate this point, 10 different guitars with the same exact string will all sound a little different because of the size and shape of the guitar.


There has been a lot of research on the connection between the voice and physical appearance. Scientists conclude the sound of a person’s voice is influenced not only by race and gender, but also by gender within a race.


In addition to physical appearance, DNA also plays a role, according to another study published in the Journal of Medical Genetics. The study found the ability to sing well was an even split between nature and nurture. Therefore, half of musical talent is genetic, from physical appearance (shape and size of the skull and nasal cavities), gender and DNA, and the other half is derived from training and developing the muscles associated with singing.

People used to believe the ability to sing was a gift someone was born with. This belief changed with the 1967 publication of the book “Singing, the Mechanism and the Technique” by vocal coach, opera singer and anatomist William Vennard. Vennard studied vocal anatomy and developed a technique to help a singer’s ability. He said singing is not a “natural” skill but an art. The vocal cords are muscles and practice makes them stronger.


The actual truth and science of singing is a more moderate middle from the two extremes of innate ability and believing everyone can be trained to sing well. Singing is a beautiful yet complicated art form, and although we all possess the ability to sing at some level, the ability to sing well is based on both genetics and training.


“The voice can be trained in just about everyone,” Justin Stoney, founder of New York Vocal Coaching in New York City, told Medical Daily. “The evidence we have says if you really apply good technique, just about anyone can sing well.” According to Stoney, training your voice is similar to going to the gym and training any other muscle. Not everyone is going to be a top athlete, he said, but with the right coach and lots of practice, a person can see results.


If this is true, why isn’t everyone’s singing voice as beautiful as a

THE SCIENCE OF SINGING

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

pop star’s? Differences in a person’s physical make-up can account for differences in singing abilities. “Everyone is built differently,” Stoney said. “For some people, you can go, ‘Wow, they must really work out,’ and it turns out they never go to the gym. People have vocal athleticism in the same way.”


A study by the University of Montreal found that one-fifth of non-musicians couldn’t control their vocal muscles well and 35 percent couldn’t match their voice to a note being played. But both musicians and non-musicians were able to listen to and match a pitch using a slide instrument. Only 5 percent couldn’t tell the difference in pitch.


A study in the journal PlosOne looked into the brain activity of people listening to music. It showed music processing mainly uses the brain’s speech center, although it does rely on other parts of the brain. Human song vocalization is a big part of cultural-social development. Groups of humans sing together to bond, worship, celebrate and just to have fun.


Social groups that valued singing may have looked for musical characteristics