WVU doc shares healthy holiday gift ideas

Dr. Dana King

The holiday shopping season is underway. Don’t fret! Here are some gift ideas from Dana King, MD, chair of WVU Medicine Family Medicine, that should be pretty easy to find and won’t break your budget. More importantly, they’ll encourage your family members and friends to maintain or improve their overall health.

Fruit Basket – Yes, we all like cookies, fudge and cake during the holidays. But a healthier option – and one that can still provide a sweet fix – is fruit. Studies show that eating plenty of fruits (and vegetables) is strongly linked to controlling blood pressure, preventing heart attacks and stroke, and maintaining eye health. Fruit is packed with antioxidants, like Vitamin C and carotenoids, as well as fiber and folate. So pick up a pre-made fruit basket or make one yourself.

Activity Tracker – Do you know someone who wants to get fit? Activity-tracking devices make a great gift. In addition to counting steps, they calculate calories burned. Some even track your heart rate and measure sleep quality. While activity trackers are not totally accurate, they serve as a strong motivator to keep moving.

Massage – If you really want to make an impression on a loved one, purchase him/her a gift certificate for a massage or a massage device that can be used at home. A massage serves as a stress-reliever and soothes aching muscles. It can clear the mind and provide a general feeling of relaxation.

Magazine Subscription – A subscription to a health or wellness magazine is the gift that keeps on giving all year long. Some of the popular magazines of this type, according to Amazon.com, include Prevent, Health and Yoga Journal.  

Blood Pressure Monitor – If you know someone who has high blood pressure, consider purchasing him/her a blood pressure monitor. Using a home monitor can play an important role in controlling high blood pressure. It enables patients and their doctors to track the effectiveness of blood pressure medications and may improve blood pressure control by increasing patient adherence to therapy.

Gourmet Goodies – Buy a large basket at a local retail store and fill it with one or more of the following heart-healthy items: tea, popcorn, specialty vinegars, salsas, mustards or nuts. Build a theme around the items you include.

“By encouraging others to make healthy lifestyle choices, you’re impacting their quality of life,” said Dr. King. “Be a role model for those you love. Be physically active every day, make healthy food choices, manage stress and get enough sleep.

“It’s also important to know your risk for certain conditions,” he continued. “By getting regular screenings, you can reduce your risk of disease and increase your odds for health and longevity.”

For questions or to make an appointment, call 855-WVU-CARE /  Visit WVUMedicine.org for more about services.