image

LIFE

Gifts that promote a healthier lifestyle

Jewellery and watches may be on many Christmas wish lists, but check out these gifts thatcan help promote a healthier lifestyle, writes Sasha Gonzales

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 December, 2013, 6:22pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 December, 2013, 6:27pm

This Christmas, inspire your loved ones towards a healthier lifestyle with these gift ideas, as recommended by health and fitness experts.

Manuka honey

Recommended by Leonica Kei, director and senior trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Trichological Centre, Singapore Manuka honey makes the perfect holiday gift. Made only from the nectar of the manuka flower in New Zealand, it is said to have strong antibacterial properties.

Choose one with a UMF (unique manuka factor) of at least 16. UMF is a measure of antibacterial strength, so the higher the number, the more effective it is.

I started taking manuka honey about 10 years ago, and since then, I've rarely fallen ill and feel much healthier and stronger. It's worked wonders for my children, too. They used to catch the flu whenever we travelled during the winter holidays, but since taking manuka honey - usually a spoonful before bedtime - they have not caught the bug. Ora Manuka honey 20+UMF, 250 grams, A$65, oramanukahoney.com.au

Fitness cue

Recommended by Li Si Yang, personal trainer, journeytofitness.com So many of us live a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies fall out of alignment because we're unaware of our poor posture and habits throughout the day. Over time, our flexibility decreases, as does our strength. This, I believe, is the cause of many health problems later in life.

What this fun and portable product does is help people be more mindful of their movement while working out. Made mostly of natural wood, it will help improve posture, increase flexibility, boost mind-muscle connection, lengthen and stretch tight muscles, and strengthen dormant muscles that have been neglected and are weak. The patented grooves detect any imbalances and get both sides of the body to work symmetrically. It offers a gentle cue to maintain good posture and to activate the right muscles. Fitness Cue, US$299.95 (includes a free foam roller), fitnesscue.com

Food processor

Recommended by Daphne Wu, registered dietitian and PhD researcher A food processor is handy to have in the kitchen. You'll be surprised how it can help make your meals healthier.

For example, instead of buying ground meat, which is often costly and fatty, you can just buy a slab of lean meat and grind it down yourself.

It is also useful for pulverising nuts and seeds, which can then be sprinkled over your cereal for extra fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. You'll have fresher ground nuts and seeds than if you were to buy pre-ground, packaged varieties. Philips Viva Collection food processor HR7761/00, HK$748, philips.com.hk

BPA-free water bottle

Recommended by Dr Winnie Mui, general practitioner, Doctor Laura Bramley & Partners in Central Your loved ones will appreciate a reusable, BPA-free bottle. BPA refers to bisphenol A, a chemical that is used in the manufacture of plastics and that may have negative effects on human health.

Staying hydrated throughout the day is important for your skin and body.

Besides, if you carry your own beverages around, you won't have to spend money on the bottled or canned stuff, and you'll save on waste, too. It's simply a more eco-friendly option. Klean Kanteen Classic stainless steel bottle with loop cap (in assorted colours), US$18.95, racingtheplanet.com

Step counter

Recommended by Dr Hans Schrader, executive medical director, Matilda International Hospital Few working people in Hong Kong have time to exercise regularly, but we can all walk. By using a step counter or pedometer, your loved ones can just aim for 10,000 steps a day and they will be on their way to preventing heart disease and improving their personal well-being. Oregon Scientific slimfit 3-D pedometer, HK$268, hk.oregonscientific.com

Superfoods

Recommended by Graeme Bradshaw, naturopath and homeopath, and founding director of Integrated Medicine Institute Superfoods make great healthy gifts because they are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Renewal Greens by Innate Response is a plant-based "greens drink" that is chock-full of vitamins. It boosts endurance during exercise, is beneficial for cardiovascular health because of its high level of antioxidants, and has an alkalising effect on the joints and kidneys. Restorative and revitalising, it can also help protect against the visible signs of ageing. Innate Response Renewal Greens, HK$395, from IMI, 13/F Kailey Tower, 16 Stanley St, Central

Stress-relieving remedy

Recommended by Dr Benita Perch, naturopathic physician, Integrated Medicine Institute Christmas and New Year can be a stressful time for many of us. If you know anyone who is on the brink of burning out, you may want to give them something that will help them stay calm during the crazy season.

Serenity Formula is a herbal supplement that can bring the body back to balance. During highly stressful periods, our adrenal glands become exhausted, and this formula helps to restore their function, and thus promotes vigour, vitality and strength of the mind and body. Each capsule contains herbal extracts, including lavender and Siberian ginseng. Natural Factors Stress Relax Serenity Formula, HK$219, from IMI

Bread maker

Recommended by Debbie Tong, health education manager, Matilda International Hospital When you really care about someone, you want only the best for them, and that includes their health, too.

A bread-maker is perfect for creating fresh, tasty loaves that are free from preservatives and other additives that you'll find in some store-bought bread varieties.

It's so simple to use. Just place all the ingredients in the machine and press the button to get the bread-making process started. Oats, flax seeds or dried fruits can be added to make the loaves healthier and more delicious.

Taking control of one's diet is a sensible first step towards enjoying a better quality of life. Breville The Custom Loaf Pro bread maker, A$349.95 (HK$2,400), breville.com.au

life@scmp.com