Give the Gift of Health

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 2:30pm

Although you can’t gift wrap a lifetime of health, you can help your loved ones stay well with these healthy holiday gift ideas.

Stress Relief: Massage and Art Therapy

Long-term stress can weaken the immune system and disable the body's ability to fight disease. That's why it's important to find successful ways to cope with the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Encourage your loved ones to stay stress-free by gifting some of the items below. 

  • Paint Box Project - Host an art party or purchase original merchandise created by young cancer patients. A portion of the proceeds benefit compassionate patient support programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
  • Massage/spa gift certificate
  • Yoga lessons

Reduced Environmental Toxins: Glass and Ceramic Containers

Certain plastic may contain harmful toxins. The risk is due to a chemical called BPA (Bisphenol A) that can be released when plastic is washed, heated and/or re-used. Here are some gift ideas to limit the risk of BPA.

  • Glass, porcelain, enamel-covered metal, or stainless steel pots, pans and containers
  • Glass, steel or ceramic water bottles
  • Baby bottles with labels that say "BPA free"

Healthy Eating: Antioxidant-rich Foods 

Antioxidants protect cells from the damage of free radicals. Without this protection, free radical damage can lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals and may prevent some of the damage. Examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C and E. Foods rich in antioxidants include fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry and fish. Make a holiday gift basket filled with some of these cancer fighting foods.

  • Beta-carotene comes from sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, squash, apricots, pumpkin and mangos. Some green, leafy vegetables, including collard greens, spinach and kale, are also rich in beta-carotene.
  • Lutein is abundant in green, leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach and kale.
  • Lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit and blood oranges.
  • Selenium is found in rice, wheat, meats and bread. Brazil nuts also contain large quantities of selenium.
  • Vitamin A is in liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, milk, egg yolks and mozzarella cheese.
  • Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid, and can be found in fruits and vegetables, cereals, beef, poultry and fish.
  • Vitamin E, also known as alpha-tocopherol, is found in almonds and many oils including wheat germ, safflower, corn and soybean oils. It is also found in mangos, nuts, broccoli and other foods.

Exercise: Fun Ways to Stay Fit

Adding just 30 minutes of activity a day can help prevent diseases like cancer. Encourage the people on your shopping list to get up and move by gifting some of the items below.

  • Health apps - For the smartphone or tablet user on your list, there are plenty of apps available to download that keep the blood moving. Consider a gift card to a digital download store.  
  • Active play video games
  • Workout videos 
  • Group fitness classes