This summer, don’t be surprised if dietitians point you to one of Mother Nature’s sweetest treats to remedy a variety of ailments: sweet cherries. These bright, glossy orbs are in season for only a short time, so don’t pass them up while they’re at their freshest and, arguably, most flavorful. Not only do they make a refreshing snack that beats the heat when eaten chilled, but they pack a mighty nutritional punch for their compact size.
Containing high concentrations of nutrients and bioactive components — such as fiber, polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamin C and potassium — sweet cherries have long been touted for certain health benefits. A new review of nearly 30 published studies confirms that this small stone fruit can help tackle some big wellness issues. Read on to learn how sweet cherries can play a part in improving five common concerns.
1. Oxidative stress
Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals and antioxidants are out of balance in your body. Under normal conditions, free radicals help the body by fighting off pathogens that can lead to infection or disease. But when antioxidants are far outnumbered, free radicals can go rogue and attack the body’s fatty tissue, protein or even DNA. Once compromised, the body becomes more susceptible to various diseases over time, such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, to name a few.
Sweet cherries are rich in polyphenols and vitamin C, which have powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that eating sweet cherries can increase antioxidant capacity and reduce oxidative stress, bringing the body back into a healthy balance.
If you’re among the 54 million Americans who suffer from arthritis or another rheumatic disease, sweet cherries may be able to provide some relief. Research shows that the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries can have the same effect as ibuprofen. “While fresh sweet cherries are hard to beat, frozen or dried cherries are a great alternative for incorporating the health benefits of sweet cherries year-round. They retain the sweet cherry nutrients and are a beautiful addition to everything from salads to cocktails!” said Mia Syn, registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
Gout is a form of arthritis, and sufferers tend to experience severe pain, redness and tenderness in their joints. The condition is associated with elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, levels that have been reduced with a diet incorporating sweet cherries. A recent study with gout patients found a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks among those who consumed sweet cherry products over two days. When eating sweet cherries was combined with their prescribed medicine, specifically allopurinol, the risk of a gout attack was 75 percent lower.
A good night’s sleep is essential to functioning at top form during the day. With sweet cherries, you have a reliable source of tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin. Tryptophan is necessary to the development of serotonin, which, in turn, plays an important role in regulating sleep as well as mood and appetite. Adequate levels of serotonin can contribute to feelings of well-being, while depression has been linked to low measures. Additionally, melatonin helps maintain your body’s internal clock, regulating your sleep and wakefulness patterns.
Studies have shown that the consumption of sweet cherries enhances sleep quality and quantity, and mood and anxiety also show improvement. What’s the best time to eat sweet cherries to get this boost? Researchers say enjoying the fruit about an hour before bedtime can help stabilize your sleep cycle.
5. Blood pressure
Finally, studies point to a link between the consumption of sweet cherries and a lowering of blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic measures. Prolonged consumption of cherries is connected with a decrease in a potent vasoconstrictor, a compound that narrows blood vessels and restricts blood flow. Sweet cherries have also been shown to increase the effectiveness of vasodilators, which help widen blood vessels and bring blood pressure down.
Small steps toward big pay-offs
Making small dietary and lifestyle changes can result in big health pay-offs. Adding sweet cherries to your diet can make a near-term impact on common complaints, and it can reduce risks for other illnesses — such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes — down the road. Best of all, sweet cherries add color, flavor and nutrition to your life without adding guilt.
Centre and Calm Yourself and Spirit on Restorative Yoga Energy Trail
Bring oneness to your yoga experience, Landaa-style, with the Yoga Energy Trail at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, an inspiring exploration of self and surroundings against myriad mind-blowing UNESCO Biosphere Reserve viewpoints.
Weaving through the Resort’s jungle interior and dazzling beachfront, guests can opt to explore the trail themselves or join a daily class, guided by the Resort’s yogi. The experience? A 75-minute study of strength, flexibility and endurance – suffused with all the energy-boosting benefits of the tropical surrounds.
Wooden signs at each of the 15 stations guide guests of medium fitness, aged 12 and above, around some of the island’s most scenic vantage points – enabling them to see, feel, smell and hear nature, thus stimulating the senses while challenging the body.
“Each station targets various areas of the body – focusing on balance, strength, agility, flexibility, stretching and toning,” explains Dr. Shylesh Subramanya, Director of The Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat. “The idea is to engage guests in an energetic exploration of themselves via the island’s most inspiring settings: from ‘tree pose’ overlooking the lagoon to ‘sun salutations’ on the jetty to ‘hanging firefly’ beneath the island’s largest Banyan tree.”
Developed in conjunction with the Resort’s Ayurvedic physicians, yogis and recreation team, the trail was designed by Nigel Clark – of UK-based Leisure Logs – a former Olympian who combines his passions for wellbeing and environmentally friendly materials to craft creative, timber wellness trails.
Commenting on the added benefits of the Yoga Energy Trail over a more traditional mat-based approach, Dr. Shylesh said: “Each location triggers a different chemical reaction within the body, from the oxygen-absorbing and seratonin-balancing benefits of the sea breeze to the deeply calming properties of the dense jungle greenery. Practising yoga in this way, immersed in a variety of inspirational locations, guests will feel an enhanced boost of energy and restoration to a naturally connected state, where self and surroundings merge in unifying oneness.”
Meditation on a Full Moon
Every month, the striking impression of a moon in its illuminated fullness has held a profound space in marking the passage of time as well as in matters of spiritual and religious importance. Many Eastern religions follow ceremonies to coincide with the moon’s phases. The spiritual development of the Buddha, for example, is believed to track with full moon days. From the fullness of the tides to the deeply held religious beliefs across cultures, the full moon continues to inspire as a time to reflect and receive clarity on internal conditions.
Located among all the exciting happenings in Central, and facing the stunning Victoria Harbour, the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong offers an authentic and relaxing Full Moon Meditation experience. A natural sanctuary of peace, guests can feel an extra release of tension when entering its soothing environs on full moon days.
Director of Spa Shoshana Weinberg has crafted a unique full moon ritual ideal for newcomers or seasoned practitioners. Weinberg leads the full moon meditations, channeling a universal energy that is both soothing and powerfully healing. The meditation is broken in two parts: one is a guided deep meditation, or savasana, while the other is a seated meditation in silence. Using aromatherapy oils, authentic Tibetan singing bowls, crystals and organic copal, a sacred resin from Mexico, guests can get in touch with a higher sense of focus and consciousness.
Weinberg says, “We call our authentic self to join in ceremony with others in our community to illuminate the deep meanings and messages that life has to offer. The Full Moon Meditation is a safe place to find a quiet moment to discover the silent world that lives in all of us.”
Guests wishing to extend the sense of community are invited to linger over a delicious spread from Executive Chef Andrea Accordi. Chef Accordi tailors dishes to the theme of the full moon and the rhythms of the seasons sourcing the highest quality ingredients from the most trusted, sustainably suppliers.
Don’t have time to walk and meditate? Try them together
The mental and physical merits of walking are well established, from helping ward off depression to preventing heart disease. Meditation, likewise, can help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve sleep quality. Have you considered combining these seemingly very different activities?
Walking meditation, which doesn’t take much of an investment in time or money, can be a good way to reap multiple benefits.
Walking meditation isn’t a stroll in the park or an hour in the lotus position, rather something in between. The goal is to be self-focused and mindful of your body in motion. To get started, consider these steps from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:
* Find a place that’s relatively free of distractions and where other people won’t make you self-conscious. Your path — whether it’s a hiking trail or a little-used hallway — doesn’t have to be long; the whole point is to go nowhere, slowly — and safely.
* Relax your hands and arms, stand up straight and take a few deep breaths. Take 10 to 15 small, deliberate steps, counting them in your head. Be mindful of the way your feet feel as they rise and land on the ground, weight shifting from heel to toes.
* If your mind wanders, try to push out extraneous thoughts and focus on your breathing or the sights and sounds of your surroundings.
* Pause for a breath, turn around and start again.
Why meditate in the first place? Meditation may help cancer patients by relieving their stress and fatigue. It may reduce blood pressure and alleviate some symptoms of menopause and IBS. There is also evidence that it improves the quality of life for female patients struggling with fibromyalgia by helping them deal with depression and conflict, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Meditation can be good for people of all ages. A Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease study found that meditation may help slow the cognitive decline that leads to Alzheimer’s and dementia. When college students added meditation to walking, they had lower levels of anxiety than when they merely walked for exercise, according to a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
As you take a moment to slow down and practice walking meditation, keep in mind that the results can also be slow. Studies have shown benefits after as little as 10 minutes per session, but most were based on practicing four to six days per week for several weeks.
Centre and Calm Yourself and Spirit on Restorative Yoga Energy Trail
Bring oneness to your yoga experience, Landaa-style, with the Yoga Energy Trail at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru,...
Queen Rania of Jordan Wears Ralph & Russo Ready-To-Wear
Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah is stunning in Ralph & Russo Ready-to-Wear as she welcomes Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria...
OMEGA watches land on-screen in Universal Pictures’ new film First Man
Watch fans, space enthusiasts and astonished audiences alike can now spot OMEGA timepieces playing a true-life role within the story...
Experience the Prada Parfum’s Way of Travelling at Qatar Duty Free
Qatar Duty Free (QDF) is delighted to announce the launch of the Prada Voyage Experience at Hamad International Airport (HIA)....
‘Get Carried Away’ With Luxurious Villa Stays and Complimentary Private Jet Flights
Mandarin Oriental, Canouan guests travel in style with complimentary private jet flights and accommodations in one of the resort’s new,...
Westin Hotels & Resorts to Debut in Maldives
Westin Hotels & Resorts today announced the anticipated opening of the brand’s first hotel in the Republic of Maldives with...
Tahitian Black Pearls
The Tahitian black pearl is a symbol of exotic luxury and decadence, renowned the world over. Known as poerava (black...
Beyoncé Wears Ralph & Russo Couture for Gala Performance
Singer and superstar, Beyoncé, wore Ralph & Russo couture last night to perform at the City of Hope Spirit of...