The 12 gifts of

– Part 1

A three-part series for the festive season

Treat yourself or a special someone with the gift of wellness this festive season. In this three-part series, we’ve brought together expert-approved ideas that are good for the mind and body.

Let’s kick off with Part 1 of our gift guide, meaning healthy fats, fresh herbs, moreish nuts and a dash of movement. Cheers!

A small glass bowl containing extra virgin olive oil. The bowl is accompanied by a sprig from an olive tree.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

A classy gift, packed with goodness! According to Jean Hailes naturopath Sandra Villella, EVOO is high in healthy (monounsaturated) fats. It’s also one of the most beneficial anti-inflammatory foods in the Mediterranean diet. Plus, it offers valuable antioxidants. “Antioxidants help fight potential cell damage,” says Sandra.

Go for Australian-produced EVOOs that are dark green, not pale and watery, and enjoy up to four tablespoons daily in salads and cooking, she adds.

Three rustic plant pots containing herbs. The herbs are rosemary, thyme and basil.

Potted herbs

The options are endless when it comes to herbs. If you’re looking for ones that are gentle on the stomach, Sandra recommends aromatic, or pleasant-smelling herbs, such as dill, basil, lemon balm, mint and rosemary. They “have a calming action on digestion”, she says.

Add a nice touch by gifting your herbs with a herb-rich recipe, such as Sandra’s Dill pesto or Eggplant and Mediterranean salad.

Five jars, each containing a type of nut. The nuts are walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds and cashews.


Good things come in small packages and nuts are no exception. According to Sandra, nuts are a source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, they’re heart-friendly when enjoyed in moderation, plus they “help us to stay full longer”. An ideal serve of nuts, she says, is 30-50 grams per day.

On their own, they’re delicious, but to take things up a notch, try making these Homemade spiced nuts.

A blue skipping rope with grey foam handles.


Keeping active benefits your heart, bones, joints, weight, mental health and independence as you age making it a “wonderful gift”, according to Professor Flavia Cicuttini, head of Monash University’s musculoskeletal unit.

Her tip for the perfect movement-related gift is to “think about something the person is likely to continue to use”. Think new walking shoes, a movement tracker or a voucher for exercise classes with friends. 

Want more inspiration?

We've unveiled Part 2 of The 12 gifts of wellness. Jean Hailes psychologist Gillian Needleman has the perfect gift to de-stress, plus Sandra shares more edible gift ideas. Explore Part 2.

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Words by Kate Cross.

Published December 2022

This article is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your medical practitioner.

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australian Government.

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