If you’ve left your Christmas shopping until the last minute, here are some gift ideas that are good for your health.
Not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration, which has lots of unpleasant symptoms including headaches, dry skin, kidney stones, water retention, heartburn, constipation and even weight-gain. If you know someone who should drink more, but doesn’t like tap water, consider buying them a water filter. There are lots of products available for every budget, from jugs that you fill with water to devices that attach to your tap.
Laughter is the best medicine. Research shows when you chuckle the levels of stress hormones in your body drop and you release feel-good hormones instead. Laughing also helps your immune system by moving lymph fluid around your body, which clears out waste from your organs and tissues. Funny movies and TV shows are one good way of having a laugh. DVDs out now include the movie Ted and the TV series Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Having a massage is not just a lovely treat – it is also good for your wellbeing. It’s a great stress buster, helps to improve blood circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system to remove waste from the body. There are different types of massages to suit everyone, from relaxation to deep-tissue massage.
Steamed vegetables are great for you. They keep more of their nutrients as well as their original flavour than boiled ones, and you’re not adding any fats as with roasted or fried vegetables. You can get several different types of steamers, from dishes designed to steam veges in the microwave, to metal or plastic basket-shaped devices that sit in a saucepan. You can even get flash three-level electric steamers that can steam several different types of food at once.
If you know someone who wants to try meditation or needs to chill out, a relaxation CD could be the perfect gift. Some use only music, others incorporate soothing sounds. There are even some that are unique to New Zealand, such as Nature Sounds of New Zealand Aotearoa, which includes bird and water sounds.
If you’re concerned about the amount of time someone close to you spends in the sun, give them fake tan – a bronzed body without the risk of skin cancer! Fake tans these days are very natural-looking and if the instructions are followed carefully you shouldn’t end up with mottled orange skin.
Working out with a hula hoop is a good aerobic exercise that also strengthens the core muscles attached to your spine and pelvis. It tones the body and can improve your balance, stability and posture. As well as spinning it around your hips you can also use it to do stretches. A child’s hula hoop will do, but to see real benefits a weighted or “heavy” hoop is more effective.