Gifts From the Heart For the Heartby Amy Hendel, P.A. Health Writer
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, but only one in five women believe that heart disease is their greatest threat. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease. The symptoms of heart disease can also be different in women compared to men. If there’s a special woman in your life, it’s worth selecting gifts that are useful or supportive if she has heart disease, or gifting items that lower the risk of heart disease.
Fun in the kitchen
Let’s face it — the women in our lives can spend an awful lot of time in the kitchen. So if the theme is cooking, then why not gift a kitchen gadget or group of gadgets, depending on your budget. A personalized pizza kit can mean healthy pizzas made at home, or the Betty Crocker Pizza Maker lets you make pizza on the counter. Spiralizers help to make veggie-based noodles and come in a variety of price points. Unique spatula sets like Squeegee make cooking super easy.
Let’s have a cooking experience
Stores like Sur La Table and houseware sections at some department stores offer cooking classes. You and that special woman in your life can take a cooking class together or you can gift a class or series. Some classes are geared to healthy cooking and offer techniques or ingredient swap outs that can help to support heart health. Mediterranean cooking is all the rage and very heart-supportive, so look for that theme when shopping for heart-healthy cookbooks. Check out a variety at Amazon.
A bounty of fruit, veggies, and more
There are fruit-of-the-month clubs that will send in-season fruits on a regular basis – choose the frequency based on your budget. Fruit bouquets offer the gift of heart-healthy antioxidants and fiber! You can also fill a beautiful reusable tote with a selection of berries and heirloom tomatoes, high-protein pasta, an insulated lunch bag, and some mini 70-percent cacao dark chocolate treats. Another version can include fruits and a variety of herbs and herbal teas.
Gift baskets tailored to heart health: Exercise
Why not build your own basket with items that encourage fun and heart health? For the outdoor exerciser, pack a basket with a small towel (personalized), pedometer, small bags of unprocessed nuts, a pair of polarized sunglasses, sunblock, and a water bottle. Or create one with some of these choices: a workout outfit or gift card for workout outfit, workout shoes, and a personalized playlist or iTunes gift card. Any of these singular gifts would inspire heart-healthy exercise!
More fitness-themed gift baskets
Weight training is so good for the heart. Consider weight-lifting gloves in pink or red, a set of light weights (3 and 5 lb. for beginners, heavier for more advanced), elastic tubes, which come in sets and levels of resistance, and a beginner DVD, or subscription to an online fitness program like BeachBody. A gym membership or gift certificate for some personal training sessions plus a cooling towel is another idea. Finally, a yoga mat, yoga towel, yoga DVD or book with yoga exercises is perfect for de-stressing and supporting heart health.
One last fitness gift that “inspires” heart health
Gifting a fitness tracker can mean you’re giving someone an aspirational gift — they exercise and want one but just won’t spend the bucks — or it can be an inspirational gift, compelling someone who has been toying with starting a formal walking or exercise program to get going. Tracking is fun and provides data that can be helpful to someone trying to improve heart health. Less expensive versions offer basic tracking but fit a tight budget. Some are even waterproof.
Creative gifts to help de-stress for heart health
Meditation can lower blood pressure so why not gift a book or DVD on meditation, or subscription to a meditation app? Ceramic and pottery classes offer a tranquil and creative afternoon. You can also gift her adult coloring books and colored pencils, or get her started with a beginner knitting or embroidery kit. Gardening is a wonderful outdoor activity that’s also heart-supportive — your gift can include seeds or plants, gloves, a sunhat, and a deep-seat kneeler tool pouch. There are ready-to-go garden sets, too.
Support a cause on her behalf or 'gift red'
The American Heart Association (AHA) is the premier organization raising heart-health awareness, so consider making a donation in her name. Donate Life America is a nonprofit linked to organ donations, including heart transplants. Donate to the Heart Foundation and honor the special woman in your life. If you prefer giving a personal gift, you can make a purchase from a retailer that supports AHA. Of course a dress, top, or fitness outfit in red will also connect “to the heart.”
Consider a wine theme
If she enjoys wine, consider gifting her a special bottle of red wine. Studies suggest moderate intake of wine is heart-healthy. Depending on your budget, there are also wine accessories you can gift singularly or as part of a wine-themed gift kit. Decorative bottle stoppers, a decanter, personalized glasses, a wine cooler or rack with a bottle of wine to start the collection are all gifts that can be bundled. Or consider assembling a picnic basket with any of these items.
Gifts that help with heart disease
If heart disease is already present, consider a personalized or heart-shaped pill box or pill counter. If she is struggling with congestive heart failure, a pillow or set of new pillows can offer immeasurable comfort. New pillow technology offers cooling features or the comfort of memory foam. Heart gel hot/cold packs can offer relief to someone who is bedridden or confined to sitting for long periods.
Give the gift of your time
If finances are tight or if you want to give some meaningful “experiences,” then create personal gift certificates that offer help around the house, driving this special person to appointments, the supermarket, or prepare a calendar with preplanned visits written in red hearts. Many activities like reading aloud, helping create a window herb box, or simply enjoying photo albums offer the best gift of all — the gift of time together.