Five fall superfoods

THE debate over whether organic food is better for our health keeps raging on as the conclusion of four decades of studies seems far from clear.

The controversy was back in the news last month when a large-scale study by researchers from Stanford University found organic foods no more nutritious thAVan conventional products, treat though they did have fewer traces of pesticides.

Researchers, who reviewed 237 different studies, did not find organic meats were healthier either.

“When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organic over conventional food,” said Dr Dena Bravata of Stanford University, lead author of the study.

“We were definitely surprised it’s not the case.”

Researchers said they found conventional fruits and vegetables had more pesticide residues than their organic equivalents but that the trace pesticide levels were almost always within the range authorities allow.


In 2011, researchers at Britain’s Newcastle University reached different conclusions when they did a meta-analysis of combined data from the same 237 studies, which were done over the course of four decades.

Their research, which did not generate much attention, found non-genetically modified and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables had better nutritional value: among the standout findings, that they contain more vitamin C than conventional fruits and vegetables.


And so the lack of decisive conclusions to be drawn led to an interesting development.

The American Academy of Paediatrics on October 22 announced that no scientific study had been proven organic foods to be healthier. It recommended in a report that children eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – whether they are organic or not.

“In the long term, there is currently no direct evidence that consuming an organic diet leads to improved health or lower risk of disease,” it said.

It was a potentially important idea, as many parents would like their children and especially babies to eat organic fruits and vegetables, but their high cost can be prohibitive for most.

“We do not want families to choose to consume smaller amounts of more expensive organic foods and thus reduce their overall intake of healthy foods like produce,” Janet Silverstein of the American Academy of Paediatrics said last week.

“What’s most important is that children eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whether those are conventional or organic foods,” she said. “This type of diet has proven health benefits.”

The report nonetheless found the studies indicated lower presence of trace pesticides in organic foods, while organic beef had fewer antibiotic resistant bacteria.

David Haytowitz, a nutritionist at the US Department of Agriculture, stressed that comparing organic and conventional products was complicated.

“It is very difficult to make a comparison because there are so many variables affecting the nutrient content of a crop…the growing location, the controlled practices etc.,” he stressed.

So “unless you do a peer study where you plant a particular crop organic and conventional side by side and be sure there is no cross contamination,” the comparison really is not a simple one.

David Schardt, chief nutritionist at the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, however said that could be beside the point. In his view, Americans choose organic foods for a range of reasons.

“Most people who start eating organic food do so to avoid pesticide or other contaminants in the food,” Schardt said.

That makes sense to Christine Bushway, head of the Organic Trade Association.

“Even though the pesticide and contaminants in conventional food remain technically at safe levels it still make sense for those families with kids or with expecting mothers to avoid them and …choose organic,” he stressed.

“The (Stanford report) says organic food has 30 per cent less pesticide and that is what the consumers is concerned about,” she said.
Some hotels are there to let you get some shut-eye; others aim to keep your eyes busy day and night.

Here are nine of the latter in China where a snapshot from the windows could be the best souvenir for your trip.


The list is in no particular order.

1. St. Regis Lhasa Resort, order Tibet Autonomous Region

This is one of the world’s highest luxury hotels, buy more about situated 3,700 meters above sea level.

The hotel itself is as stunning as its surroundings, so much so that you’ll be sorely tempted to skip that Everest climb after all.

There are 122 rooms, a dozen suites and 28 private villas plus a wine bar and a spa, all affording literally breathtaking views.

The Deluxe King Rooms, Lhasa Suites, Tubo Suite, and Everest Suite all provide a straight-on view of the Potala Palace, the one-time residence of Tibet’s spiritual leader in exile, Dalai Lama.

22 Jiangsu Lu, Lhasa ??????22?; +86 891 680 8888; rooms from RMB 1,900 (US$302) per night;

2. Li-An Lodge, Guangxi

Set atop the Longji, or Dragon’s Back, this four-story boutique hotel provides the best angle to view the rice terraces that are the wonder of southern China.

Eight of the 16 rooms overlook the rolling emerald tiers spread over eight mountains, while the others face various parts of the surrounding landscape.

Corner room Celadon has the best views: you can take in the green spirals from two sides.

Each room is uniquely decorated, with celadon porcelain, terracotta earthenware, and wood block prints.

“I was thrilled when I reached the spot [in 1997] where Li-An Lodge stands now,” says Keren Su, 60, owner of the lodge.

“A fantastic dream-like view spread out right from my feet down to the entire valley,” the Chinese-American continues. “I dreamed about building a house of wood structure just like the local village houses. It took me nine years to fulfill my dream.”

What’s most amazing about the wooden lodge is that it was built without a single nail — in the manner of traditional Chinese dwellings.

Ping’an Cun, Heping Xiang, Longsheng County ?????????; +86 773 758 3318; rooms from RMB 1,850 per night;

3. Songtsam Meili, Yunnan

This quaint lodge in northwest Yunnan Province has just 17 rooms,13 in a building facing Tibetans’ sacred site Meili Snow Mountains, and four in a second building that overlooks the valley as well as the tiny, five-house village in which the hotel is located.

At about 3,600 meters above sea level, Songtsam is remote. It’s incredibly quiet here and there’s not a hint of light pollution to tarnish the star-speckled night sky.

The hotel is designed to look like a traditional Tibetan home gone chic, with Wi-Fi and shiny Macs in the library.

A good option to spend the days is hiking and flower picking in the village. At night, curl up around the wood-burning stoves, or join the staff for a bonfire sing-along.

The room rate includes all meals, soft drinks and local beer. The hotel is closed every winter from mid-December to mid-March due to harsh weather.

Geji Village, Deqin County, Zhongdian, Shangri-La ?????????????; +86 887 828 8889; rooms from RMB 1,280 per night;

4. Hotel Indigo, Shanghai

This is the only high-rise hotel on the south Bund, with 184 rooms all decked out in 1930s Shanghai style.

The views are sweeping throughout its rooms and public spaces.

From rooftop steakhouse and bar CHAR, take in the cityscape with a dirty martini in hand and Wagyu filet in stomach.

Guestrooms overlook either the Shanghai old town, with its brick row houses, or the gleaming Pudong skyline, Huangpu River, and Bund’s colonial architecture.

For 28-year-old American Johanna Hoopes, the appeal of the hotel is that “the south Bund is just starting to develop.”

“There are no other tall buildings to obscure your view,” says Hoopes, “it’s wide open.”

585 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, Shanghai ????????585?; +86 21 3302 9999; rooms from RMB 1,580;

5. Grand Hotel, Beijing

The furnishings at this 217-room hotel err on the side of classical Chinese, rather than the now de rigueur East-meets-West, but it’s what’s outside the rooms that’s really what you’ve come to see — the gargantuan Forbidden City.

The Deluxe and Old Pekin Suites look out onto the Forbidden City and bustling Chang’an Street. From the Forbidden City View Room, you get a full-on view of the golden pointy roofs of the former imperial palace.

Ambassador Suite provides views of both the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. With the rose pear wood furniture, the 118-square-meter flat is fit for an emperor.

35 Chang’an Dong Jie, Beijing ??????35?; +86 10 6513 7788; rooms from RMB 980 per night;

6. Shangri-La Hotel Guilin, Guangxi

Guilin is the jumping-off point for Yangshuo, a backpacker town whose karst mountains and crystal-clear river are immortalized on the RMB 20 banknote.

The seven-floor, 449-room Shangri-La sits right on the bank of the Li River and, from the Deluxe River Rooms, you can see its delicate curve, backed by the sharp peaks of the karst rock formations.

At sunset, the rooms and surroundings are flooded with golden light, a photographer’s dream.

Though locals will dip in the Li, you can take advantage of the 400-cubic-meter, enormous (and immaculate) outdoor pool, which is set in a verdant garden and watched over by a uniformed lifeguard.

111 Huan Cheng Bei Er Lu, Guilin ????????111?; +86 773 269 8888; rooms from RMB 850 per night;

7. Hongzhushan Hotel, Sichuan

There are 510 rooms spread across nine buildings in this 440,000-square-meter resort, so you’ll get in plenty of walking before you even hike Mount Emei (???), one of the nation’s Buddhist mountains whose base is adjacent to the hotel.

Buildings Five and Eight are the best of the lot — rooms inside either face foresty Emei or 100,000-square-meter Hongzhu Lake.

Billy Zi (???), 31, a product manager at online travel platform Trekiz, recommends the third- and fourth-floor mountain-view rooms in Building eight.

“On sunny days,” he says, “you can take photos of [Emei’s] shining Golden Summit,” atop which sits the world’s highest golden Buddha (48 meters).

And when the weather’s less clear, you’ll still have a prime view of the 3,099-meter mountain.

Beside Baoguo Temple, Mount Emei ???????; +86 833 552 5888; rooms from RMB 335 per night;

8. Naked Stables, Zhejiang

“The tranquility evoked by the peaks and dips of the mountains create a sense of calm,” says Zimbabwean Jean Jumbe, 28, who stayed at the 240,000-square-meter private reserve last December.

From the resort’s African-rondavel-inspired Earth Huts, you can look directly into the tree tops and bamboo stalks for which Mount Mogan is known.

From the treetop villas, you’ve got a panoramic view of the whole resort, including the tiered infinity pools, their soothing blue water popping against the verdant backdrop.

Naked Stables Private Reserve, Sanjiuwu, Laoling Village, Moganshan Town, Deqing County, Huzhou City ???????????????????; +86 21 6431 8902; rooms from RMB 2,600 per night for an Earth Hut and RMB 5,800 per night for a treetop villa;

Ritz-Carlton Guangzhou, Guangdong

Canton Tower is currently the tallest structure in China (though the 632-meter Shanghai Tower will overtake it in 2014) and the world’s second tallest TV tower, after Tokyo’s Skytree.

From the 351 guestrooms at the Ritz-Carlton Guangzhou, you’ll overlook either the sprawling city or the Pearl River and Canton Tower.

All the River View rooms have a straight-on outlook of the gleaming “slim waist,” a nickname for the 600-meter tower.

The center of Guangzhou is constantly under construction, especially the neighborhood in which the Ritz-Carlton is located, so some rooms do overlook building sites. You won’t be waking up to jackhammers, though; the windows block out every decibel.

3 Xing’an Lu, Pearl River New City, Tianhe District, Guangzhou ?????????????3?; +86 20 3813 6688; rooms from RMB 1,950 per night;

Fall is the perfect time to punch up your diet. The harvest season offers a bumper crop of delicious local produce, viagra order much of which is nutritionally dense, click high in fibre and inexpensive, help too. Embrace autumn’s bounty and kick-start your family menus with these dietitian-recommended superfoods.


Superpowers: “Squash is high in fibre, contains vitamin A, C, potassium, magnesium, and is tasty,” says Katie Antonutti, registered holistic nutritionist, of Toronto’s Nude Food Nutrition and Shape Health and Wellness Centres. And yellow and orange squash contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that may help protect the body against certain cancers.

How to enjoy them: Swap higher-calorie starchy food such as rice, potatoes and pasta for a serving of this high-nutrient, low-cal starch. Steam it, bake it, make a soup, or prepare it the way Antonutti does: quartered, brushed with butter, drizzled with maple syrup, dusted with salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and then roasted in a 400F oven until golden brown.



Superpowers: “This root vegetable is rich in iron and potassium, and also contains niacin, vitamin C, folic acid and zinc,” says Antonutti. Weekend warriors, take note:A 2011 study by England’s University of Exeter, published in the medical journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, found that beet juice improved the athletic performance of competitive-level cyclists. The study suggests the nitrates in beet juice widen blood vessels, reduce blood pressure and allow more blood flow. In addition, they reduce the amount of oxygen needed by muscle tissue during activity.

How to enjoy them: This versatile vegetable can be eaten raw, juiced, steamed, roasted, or puréed into the classic borscht soup. Simplify beet prep by boiling whole beets until cooked, then bathing them in cold water: their skins will slide right off, which is much easier than peeling them raw.

Sweet Potatoes

Superpowers: “Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, contain B vitamins, vitamin C, fibre and potassium, and are a great alternative to white potatoes because they’re a complex carbohydrate and do not spike your blood sugar,” says Antonutti.

How to enjoy them: Bake them in foil, make fries or hash browns, mash them, or slice them into wedges and then brush on some olive oil, roasting them with a dash of salt and paprika for extra kick. Leave the skins on to maximize their nutrients and fibre.


Superpowers: “Apples are a good source of fibre and are high in antioxidants. Eating apples is associated with a decreased risk of chronic disease including heart disease, asthma and some types of cancer. Apples are also high in soluble fibre, which can help regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol,” says Stefanie Senior, a registered dietitian at Athletic Edge Sports Medicine.

How to enjoy them: They’re perfect for snacking on. “A medium apple is just 72 calories, and can keep you full between meals, especially when eaten with a protein source for a complete snack. Eat it with nuts, low-fat cheese or yogurt,” says Senior. Whole apples provide fibre than applesauce.

Brussels sprouts

Superpowers: “Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin A, and also contain vitamin C, folic acid, fibre, potassium and iron,” says Antonutti.

How to enjoy them: Antonutti recommends baking them, chopping raw sprouts into a salad or steaming them (this maximizes their cholesterol-lowering benefits). Or elevate this humble peasant vegetable by halving each sprouts, then sautéing the batch in a cast-iron pan with chunks of thick-cut bacon.

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