Healthy gifts for the holidays

December 8, 2008 4:00:54 PM PST
It's the season to give, so now, give the gifts that keep on giving. This holiday season, give your loved ones presents that actually improve their health.In the midst of all the shopping and the holiday parties, the wine and the overeating, we thought it would be helpful to point out how the holiday spirit might put you in the mood to give family and friends some inexpensive, but healthy gifts, with the hopes that the effect would be a lasting one.

'Tis the season to be healthy, that's how doctors sign that song. We walked around the city a bit to find where healthy gifts were hiding, and we didn't have to go far. At Zabar's on the Upper West Side, we found special olive oils from all over the world. They're high in unsaturated fats, which lower your cholesterol. Here's a tip for getting the best oils as a gift.

"If it's too inexpensive, it could be a blend of canola or other oils," Zabar's oil buyer Scott Goldshine said. "I watch out for that."

And nuts are a little secret. They're high in unsaturated oils that protect the heart. And if you're on a diet, they provide a healthy snack when your stomach is growling at not too many calories. And they won't spoil in gift wrapping. Packaged soups are warm, natural health on a spoon.

Specialty food shops can be a venue for healthy holiday gifts.

We went to a local pharmacy, not for drugs, but for a healthy gadget - a pedometer. Give one to someone who really needs to get walking and needs a nudge or two. Then, we needed some advice on our quest.

So we checked the local Barnes and Noble. We found yoga mats to stretch and relax, DVDs on exercise and a slew of cookbooks on healthy food preparing. And make use of the internet, where you can find things such as fruit baskets. It's healthy, and it's at your fingertips.

And remember, it's not just about the body. One of the best gifts are books on relaxation. Whether they're about gardening, meditation, books that make you think or help you remember, they nourish and restore health to brains overloaded by the holidays.

For more on fresh fruit deliveries, visit and

For organic teas, visit


STORY BY: Medical reporter Dr. Jay Adlersberg


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