Eat Well to Be Well: 18 Christmas gifts to promote health and wellness all year long – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Eat Well to Be Well: 18 Christmas gifts to promote health and wellness all year long

Discover Christmas gift ideas that inspire and motivate loved ones to lead a healthier lifestyle in 2024.

The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re still looking for the perfect gift for your loved one, I’ve got you covered with some great ideas. This list is not about mundane items like socks, underwear, or ties; instead, it focuses on thoughtful gifts showing you care about their health and well-being. Whether for someone trying to make healthier lifestyle choices or for someone already a health enthusiast, this list won’t disappoint those receiving your gift!

The gift of good health is truly invaluable. It reminds us that happiness and well-being are the greatest treasures in life.

Check out these health gifts that are both practical and thoughtful. Your friends and family will love them, and you’ll feel great knowing you’re giving them something that promotes their well-being.

1. Pedometer

Get them moving – one step at a time. This can be an excellent gift for the person who always says they know they should exercise but never finds time. Keeping track of the number of steps taken each day can be a fun motivator and a real eye-opener.

Regular physical activity has numerous health advantages besides helping to reach a healthy body weight. Other health benefits include more restful sleep, more robust immune functioning, improved nutritional health, improved body composition, stronger bones, enhanced resistance to colds and other infectious diseases, stronger circulation and lung function, lower risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, reduced risk of gallbladder disease, lower incidences and severity of anxiety and depression, higher quality of life in later years, and last (but not least), improved self-esteem. (1)

2. High-quality olive oil

Most people have olive oil, but we’re discussing splurging on the good stuff. Many of us don’t buy quality extra virgin olive oil, so getting it for someone who likes to use it can be an exceptional treat. Another consideration is to give an “oil of the month” subscription to the true connoisseur who likes their taste buds tantalized year-round.

I always recommend extra virgin olive oil. Rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, extra virgin olive is well-known for protecting you from heart disease by helping lower inflammation, lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, improving the lining of your blood vessels, and possibly helping prevent blood clotting. (2)

3. Air-popped popcorn popper

This is a must for anyone who loves popcorn but knows they must cut back on the oil or butter. Air-popped popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks and is always a welcome whole grain anytime.

4. Water bottle

Good quality take-anywhere-you-go water bottles are essential for keeping hydrated when away from home. They’re best ones are durable, convenient, keep your water cold for long periods of time, and are easy on the environment.

There are dozens of excellent water bottles, so get your special someone one of the best. Depending on the person’s personality, choose one in their favorite color or theme and consider a fruit infuser water bottle – for the person who knows they should drink more water but likes to have a “flavor” associated with it.

5. High-quality vinegar

Here’s another must-have for just about all of us. These essential flavor enhancers are a fun way to explore new flavors and how they blend with other ingredients in a recipe to create a culinary sensation. There are so many flavors to choose from for enhancing a favorite recipe. These flavors include apple cider, red wine, rice, balsamic, white wine, and raspberry, to name a few. Vinegars elevate ordinary dishes, salads, and desserts into extraordinary flavorful and unique culinary tastes.

Vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can be produced using any fruit or substance containing sugar. Over time, various natural products such as fruits, berries, melons, coconut, honey, beer, maple syrup, potatoes, beets, and grains have been used to make vinegar. By transforming natural sugars into alcohol and vinegar, you can create a unique flavor profile that adds depth and complexity to any dish.

6. Yoga mat

Here’s an excellent gift for those inflexible friends. They may initially be resistant, but add a couple of gift certificates to a beginner’s yoga class along with a yoga mat, and they’ll be hooked into performing mountain or child’s poses at the drop of a hat.

Ask any yoga enthusiast, and they know this form of movement improves your health in many ways.  Yoga helps improve strength, balance, and flexibility, lowers back pain, eases arthritis symptoms, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, enables you to relax for better sleep and manage stress, and boosts your energy levels. Even a few minutes a week can make you more mentally alert, happier, and healthier. (3)

7. Herb seed kit

Imagine giving a gift that not only grows but also adds flavor and aroma to food while boosting your health. Herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (I think there is a song here!) are more than just aromatic additions; they offer a range of health benefits, from controlling cholesterol levels to relieving coughs or a queasy stomach. Give the gift of herbs today and inspire a gardener to promote good health while enjoying the beauty of nature. (4)

The nice thing to know about herbs is they are among the richest sources of antioxidants, and often even higher than many fruits and vegetables. Note: Fresh herbs are best when added toward the end of cooking.

8. Water glasses

We all know that drinking sufficient water is a must for good health. Adequate water intake prevents dehydration, prevents constipation, maintains your body temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord, and is absolutely necessary for removing wastes daily.

One way to promote more water consumption is by gifting a new set of water glasses. But don’t just settle on getting plain clear glasses – jazz them up a bit. Look for unique colors and beautiful styles, making this helpful gift alluring, encouraging you to drink more water.

9. Dark chocolate

While not as sweet as a plate of cookies or fudge, dark chocolate is much healthier. When I say “dark chocolate,” I mean to look for dark chocolate with at least a 70 percent or higher cacao content that delivers all the excellent heart health benefits. Dark chocolate with higher cocoa content contains less sugar, making it less likely to overindulge leading to weight gain. When it comes to eating dark chocolate, it’s advised to eat one square a day – less is more! Additionally, dark chocolate is rich in plant chemicals known as flavanols, which are considered powerful antioxidants. These flavanols have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. (5)

Offer a variety of dark chocolates with tantalizing flavors to tease the taste buds.

10. Teacup and saucer

This is a beautiful gift for someone who is always on the go but needs to learn to stop and smell the roses. Present them with a lovely tea cup and saucer (remember to add a few tea bags of exotic flavors), and they’ll be propping their feet up in no time, learning to relax while sipping hot tea.

For thousands of years, people all over the world have been drinking tea for good reason. Different types of tea have been shown to provide numerous health benefits, such as enhancing the immune system, fighting inflammation, and warding off cancer and heart disease. (6)

11. Sleep mask

Here’s a gift gently reminding that sleep-deprived friend to prioritize sleep. Choose a style, color, and pattern that will make them look forward to blocking out light and catching a few Zzzzs.

12. Reusable lunch bag

Convenient, practical, and enjoyable to pick out for the person who likes to take their lunch to work – or maybe should. Reusable lunch bags are easy on the environment and inspire people to eat healthier while saving money on eating out.

13. Salad spinner

Check out this idea for anyone needing a subtle hint reminding them to eat their veggies. These spinners make prepping salads fun and easy, plus it’s an excellent way for kids to get involved in eating their greens.

14. Assorted nuts

Skip sugary, overly sweet treats this year to give as a gift. Instead, choose heart-healthy nuts presented in a beautiful canister or jar. Nuts contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats; many are excellent magnesium, copper, and manganese sources. To make them extra healthy, choose unsalted nuts for anyone monitoring their sodium intake. For the real nut connoisseur, give them a “nut of the month” gift certificate to enjoy year-round.

15. Fruit baskets

About all of us could benefit from eating more fruit, and here’s a gift for someone who should. Whether you give them a beautifully wrapped basket full of fruit or, again, give them a “fruit of the month” certificate, giving fruit is a delicious and nutritious way to say how much you care about them.

16. Cookbooks focused on healthy cooking

Do you know someone who’s obsessed with books, particularly cookbooks? If so, you can make their day by gifting them a cookbook to inspire them to try new recipes and unleash their creativity in the kitchen. Instead of settling for a gift card to their favorite bookstore, why not go above and beyond and give them a cookbook filled with tried and tested recipes they’ll love for years to come? Give them a gift they’ll treasure and inspire them to create delicious and healthy dishes that will make their taste buds dance.

17. Spa gift of sensual bubble bath and lotions

A cold, harsh winter can leave skin dry and cracked. Remind your friend that taking a leisurely bath and applying lotion once stepping out of the tub is the perfect way to treat skin, giving it a beautiful glow.

18. Home-cooked meals

This one may be the most sentimental of all the gifts. Taking time to prepare a healthy meal shows your genuine thoughtfulness and generosity that you cared enough to offer this. Whether you serve it in their home or yours, it’s bound to be a gift they will cherish all season long.

References:
(1). https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-020-09855-3
(2). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29141571/
(3). https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326414
(4). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30651162/
(5). https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.116.005162
(6). https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/december/health-benefits-of-tea


Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from the University of Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and institutional management from Kansas State University. She is a outpatient clinical dietitian for local clinics, and a freelance health and nutrition writer. She is the author of The Nourished Brain: The Latest Science On Food’s Power For Protecting The Brain From Alzheimers and Dementia, The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook and The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook. Visit her website www.eatwelltobewellrd.com.


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