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Monthly Archives: Februari 2014

What’s New and Beneficial About Blueberries

•After many years of research on blueberry antioxidants and their potential benefits for the nervous system and for brain health, there is exciting new evidence that blueberries can improve memory. In a study involving older adults (with an average age of 76 years), 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption was enough to improve scores on two different tests of cognitive function including memory. While participants in the study consumed blueberries in the form of juice, three-quarters of a pound of blueberries were used to make each cup of juice. As participants consumed between 2 to 2-1/2 cups each day, the participants actually received a very plentiful amount of berries. The authors of this study were encouraged by the results and suggested that blueberries might turn out to be beneficial not only for improvement of memory, but for slowing down or postponing the onset of other cognitive problems frequently associated with aging.
•New studies make it clear that we can freeze blueberries without doing damage to their delicate anthocyanin antioxidants. There’s no question about the delicate nature of many antioxidant nutrients found in blueberries. These antioxidants include many different types of anthocyanins, the colorful pigments that give many foods their wonderful shades of blue, purple, and red. After freezing blueberries at temperatures of 0°F (-17°C) or lower for periods of time between 3-6 months, researchers have discovered no significant lowering of overall antioxidant capacity or anthocyanin concentrations. Anthocyanins studied have included malvidins, delphinidins, pelargonidins, cyanidins, and peonidins. These findings are great news for anyone who grows, buys, or picks fresh berries in season and wants to enjoy them year round. They are also great news for anyone who has restricted access to fresh blueberries but can find them in the freezer section of the market.
•Berries in general are considered low in terms of their glycemic index (GI). GI is a common way of identifying the potential impact of a food on our blood sugar level once we’ve consumed and digested that food. In general, foods with a GI of 50 or below are considered “low” in terms of their glycemic index value. When compared to other berries, blueberries are not particularly low in terms of their GI. Studies show the GI for blueberries as falling somewhere in the range of 40-53, with berries like blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries repeatedly scoring closer to 30 than to 40. However, a recent study that included blueberries as a low-GI fruit has found that blueberries, along with other berries, clearly have a favorable impact on blood sugar regulation in persons already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Participants in the study who consumed at last 3 servings of low-GI fruits per day (including blueberries) saw significant improvement in their regulation of blood sugar over a three-month period of time. (Their blood levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, or HgA1C were used as the standard of measurement in this study.) It’s great to see blueberries providing these clear health benefits for blood sugar regulation!
•If you want to maximize your antioxidant benefits from blueberries, go organic! A recent study has directly compared the total antioxidant capacity of organically grown versus non-organically grown highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L., var. Bluecrop) and found some very impressive results for the organically grown berries. Organically grown blueberries turned out to have significantly higher concentrations of total phenol antioxidants and total anthocyanin antioxidants than conventionally grown blueberries, as well as significantly higher total antioxidant capacity. Numerous specific antioxidant anthocyanins were measured in the study, including delphinidins, malvidins, and petunidins. The antioxidant flavonoid quercetin was also measured.

Taken from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8

Grande Comore, Mohéli and Anjouan

Named after the Arabic word for ‘moon’, Qamar, this poetically named but little-known archipelago is located between Madagascar and Mozambique. It was an important trading post for Arab, Persian, African and European traders from the 15th century onwards. Annexed by the French over the course of the 19th century, three of the islands – Grande Comore, Mohéli and Anjouan – obtained independence in 1975; Mayotte, the fourth island, has remained a French territory.

Like their better-known Indian Ocean sisters Mauritius and the Seychelles, the Comoros have tropical charm: the temperature is a blissful 20 to 30°C year-round, palms swing in the breeze, and the water is turquoise. But the similarities stop there. Whereas Mauritius and the Seychelles have fine-tuned their high-end tourism offering over the past three decades, the Comoros have remained seemingly impervious to mass tourism. There are just 3,000 tourists a year, many of them curiosity-seekers on a quest to visit every country in the world, and that is precisely the appeal.

Home to the capital Moroni, Grande Comore is the most diverse, and perhaps the most traveller-friendly of the Comorian islands. Moroni itself doesn’t feel like much of a capital – it is lively but unhurried. The medina (old town) is reminiscent of so many others in Africa and the Middle East, albeit slightly more dishevelled: beautiful carved doors, small winding lanes and minarets peaking through the skyline. The port fills up and empties with the tides and the air is fragrant with frangipani trees and bougainvilleas.

The southern half of Grande Comore is dominated by the large Karthala volcano, one of the most active in the world, whose lofty summit (2360m) seems to be perpetually lost in equatorial clouds. The mountain is a popular two-day trek (with overnight camping on the slopes) that winds through thick forest before reaching the lunar landscapes of the crater. The new tourism office (+269 333 82 13) can help you arrange guides.

The volcanic influence is obvious on the rest of the island too. As you take the mountain road up from Moroni towards the east coast, you reach a vantage point from where you can see two huge trails of volcanic rocks snaking down the slopes, souvenirs of past lava flows. These black rocks are what make the gorgeous beach of Chomoni so special, a brilliant contrast of blinding white sand, dark rocks and azure waters.

As you bump along north (the road is bad), the landscape unfolds with more gorgeous beaches, palm trees, great baobabs and moody skies. The most dramatic sight awaits right at the northern tip, before the road curves west. The Dos du Dragon (Dragon’s Back) is a series of rock formations standing tall on a curving peninsula – it looks uncannily like the imaginary spikes on a dragon’s back and is a wonder to behold. The best views are from across the bay, near Île Aux Tortues, but nothing beats actually scaling the Dos du Dragon itself, an easy walk from the roadside.
For a swim, the sheltered beaches around Trou du Prophète (Prophet’s Hole) can’t be beaten. Legend has it that the Prophet Mohammed hid from marauding pirates behind the tall rocks in the bay. You could certainly hide there all afternoon: the light is exquisite and the water translucent.

From there, it’s a 1½-hour drive back down to Moroni. Budget travellers should go for the Jardin de la Paix(doubles from €30-50) in the centre, with simple, clean rooms and probably the best restaurant in town (and one of the few establishments to serve alcohol). Those with a little more cash to spare can opt for theRetaj Moroni (doubles from €70), a lovely hotel set in gorgeous, expansive grounds, or the Itsandra Beach Hotel (doubles from €140), the most high-end establishment in the country.

Where Grande Comore is about mineral beauty, Mohéli is all about the sea. This is the smallest and least populated of the Comorian islands, with forested slopes and a huge marine national park fringing the southern coast.
Being so unspoilt, Mohéli is a major turtle nesting site, meaning that travellers are virtually guaranteed to see turtles – whether nesting, hatching or whilst snorkelling. The village of Itsamia on the southeastern tip of the island has made turtles its raison d’être. Villagers used to eat turtles here; now they are involved in scientific monitoring and actively protect the turtles to encourage ecotourism.

Accommodation is in basic bungalows – not a big issue since you’ll spend much of the night on turtle watch. Sitting on the beach at night will also acquaint you with the Comoros’s spectacular night sky – as clear as in any desert.
After a night roughing it, you’ll want to put your bags down for a couple of days, and there can’t be more wonderful a place than Laka Lodge (€50 per person per night full board). Nestled in a small bay near the village of Nioumachoua, Laka Lodge is everything you could possibly want of an island holiday: pretty and comfortable bungalows, great hosts, lovely beach, snorkelling equipment and excursions aplenty in the numerous islets of the national park.

A distinctive triangular shape, Anjouan is the most populated of the Comorian islands. Along with Mohéli, it is the only place where you can see the endangered Livingstone fruit bats. These giants (their wingspan reaches 1.5m) live in small colonies high up in the mountains. Local NGO Dahari can organise treks (€50) to see the colonies and to other biodiversity hotspots on the island.
To unwind, Moya in the south of the island is the prettiest and most accessible beach. Moya Beach Hotel (+269 337 92 21, [email protected]; d €20) is the most atmospheric accommodation on Anjouan (and serves a mean lobster).

Island-hopping is part and parcel of travelling in the Comoros, yet it is also the trickiest bit. Ferry services are limited, so your best option is to fly. This being the Comoros, punctuality is hit and miss, as is, sadly, safety; the two main airlines are ABAviation and Inter-Iles Air (+269 771 00 03).

If you’re travelling in a group, you should consider chartering a private boat. Blue Safari Comores (+269 323 1038, [email protected]) has a beautiful 12m sailing yacht that can accommodate 4-6 people comfortably on multi-day cruises (€300/day).

Taken from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/africa/travel-tips-and-articles/comoros-islands-tropical-charm-off-the-beaten-path

Indulgence at the Marina Bay Sands

Enjoy a Life of Luxury at the Marina Bay Sands®
If you are accustomed to a life of luxury on every level, you might be hard-pressed finding another experience that lives up to the Marina Bay Sands®.

Marina Bay Sands® is a magnificent destination for entertainment, business and shopping, delivering once-in-a-lifetime experiences. This landmark building is situated in the heart of Singapore’s central business district. With a luxury hotel, state-of-the-art convention and exhibition facilities, theatres, and some of the best shopping and dining in the region, Marina Bay Sands® is an experience that indulges your every fancy.

The pinnacle of luxury
Check-in to the Marina Bay Sands® hotel and you’ll enter a world of sheer luxury and exclusivity. Be greeted by personalised and intuitive service that seeks to make your stay a truly unforgettable experience.
The three hotel towers are crowned by the Sands SkyPark® on the 57th storey, which offers a 360-degree view of Singapore’s skyline. There’s no greater feeling like standing at the top of the world. This one-hectare sky oasis features lush greenery, beautifully sculptured gardens, remarkable restaurants like Sky on 57 and KU DÉ TA Restaurant, and an infinity pool that almost lets you swim in the clouds.

Discover the restorative power of touch at the Banyan Tree Spa on the 55th floor. The award-winning spa offers an array of indulgent massages in 15 uniquely designed rooms, each with spectacular panoramic views, and uses Singapore’s national flower – the fragrant and beautiful orchid – as a key element in its treatments.

Delight in premium shopping
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands® is home to over 300 stores and F&B outlets. Browse the duplex boutiques by Ralph Lauren, Cartier and Prada. Niche designer labels, internationally renowned fashion brands and luxury concept stores create a modern shopping mecca that rivals the fashion capitals of the world.

In September 2011, the Louis Vuitton Island Maison opened in a stand-alone glass and steel Crystal Pavilion that floats on the waterfront of Marina Bay. Incorporating art and cultural elements in its retail space, it is the first Louis Vuitton Maison in Southeast Asia, and was specially designed by internationally acclaimed award-winning architect Peter Marino.

For another dose of luxury French fashion, head to the CHANEL concept boutique. A prominent fixture at The Shoppes, the elegant house of luxury showcases an entire CHANEL range including ready-to-wear clothes, bags, shoes, eyewear and fragrances. For a little indulgence, update your makeup at the standalone beauty and fragrance section that’s only available at this boutique. But if you’re in the mood to splurge, you’ll be delighted to know that CHANEL at The Shoppes carries the limited-edition Chanel J12 Casino diamond-studded dial watch.

World-class dining, first-class entertainment
Besides astounding retail indulgence, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands® includes an eclectic mix of gourmet restaurants and bistros, making Marina Bay Sands® the hangout du jour for visitors and locals alike. In between your shopping spree, sit down to a meal at one of 50 dining establishments, including world-renowned restaurants by Michelin-starred celebrity chefs like Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, Guy Savoy and Tetsuya Wakuda. To wine and dine in style, have the Restaurant Concierge reserve you the best tables at the Marina Bay Sands® ’ outstanding restaurants, lounges and bars.

Apart from indulging your appetite for fine food and fashion, the complete Marina Bay Sands® experience includes world-class entertainment and art exhibitions. A hand-picked variety of local and international performances, including the Broadway smash-hit musical WICKED, have made their way to two state-of-the-art theatres at Marina Bay Sands® .

The art of discovery
Just outside the theatres, you’ll find the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum that was designed as a symbolic gesture of welcome to guests from across the globe. Embracing influences from art and science, media and technology, design and architecture, the ArtScience Museum hosts major international travelling exhibitions from the most renowned collections in the world.

If you have a keen sense of aesthetics, make time for a walk along the Marina Bay Sands Art Path, where spectacular large-scale art installations integrate with the extraordinary architecture of the Marina Bay Sands® .

Taken from http://www.yoursingapore.com/content/traveller/en/browse/see-and-do/family-fun/attraction/marina-bay-sands.html


Daylilies are members of the lily family (Liliaceae) and are a perennial favorite for area gardeners. The daylily’s scientific name, Hemerocallis, is a combination of the Greek words for beauty and day – a fitting description for a blossom that opens at dawn and withers by dusk. Fortunately, each stem produces numerous buds that bloom at different times, allowing visitors to enjoy daylilies for most of June and July.

The Garden displays more than 2,000 specimens, with over 1,800 in the Jenkins Daylily Garden. Of those hundreds of plants, there are over a dozen species represented and over 1,700 different hybrids. The Jenkins Daylily Garden is a sanctioned American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden. The collections are largely overseen by the local Missouri Botanical Garden Daylily Association and the West County Daylily Society.

The modern daylily originated from plants growing in China and Japan where they have been cultivated for centuries. Early accounts in Chinese literature report the plant’s roots and flowers being used for food and medicine. Boiled young shoots and fresh roots were consumed to prevent a variety of ailments including fever, hemorrhage, jaundice and cirrhosis.

Within the last 75 years, hybridizers have bred great improvements into the daylily from the wild forms found in the Far East. Most of these have been directed at improving the form, flower color and hardiness. Wild daylilies are only the colors of yellow, orange and fulvous (a pale, rusty orange hue). Now the color range has expanded to pinks, purples, pastels, near-blue and a wide assortment of patterned colors.

Taken from http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/media/fact-pages/daylilies.aspx