Technology can be your friend and ally to reaching just about every health goal you can think of … from weight loss and healthy eating to pregnancy and even finding a clean public potty for your little one (really!), if you have access to the Internet or a Smart phone, the health world is your oyster!
There are far too many online health tools and apps to use all of them (there are currently 40,000 and counting), so we’ve narrowed down the list for you to some we think you’ll find especially useful. Give them a try – you may be surprised to see that they make creating and maintaining your healthy lifestyle a cinch.
In fact, 40 percent of doctors agree that mobile health technologies like fitness and healthy eating apps will help cut down on needed office visits. Eighty percent of doctors actually use such apps themselves!1
Healthy Eating, Fitness and Weight Loss Tools
1. MyFitnessPal.com: This free online site and mobile app allows you to keep track of the food you eat and the activity you complete using an online food diary and activity log.
2. FitnessBuilder: Access to more than 750 workouts, 5,600 exercise images and videos, plus a live personal trainer, to help you customize a workout routine and reach your workout goals. Appropriate for all fitness levels, from beginner to advanced.
3. MyFood-A-Pedia: A mobile tool from the U.S. Department of Agriculture designed to provide you with quick access to nutrition information for over 1,000 foods. MyFood-a-Pedia includes calorie amounts, contribution of a food to the five food groups, and number of “extra” calories in a food from solid fats, added sugars, and alcohol.
4. The Eatery: This handy app lets you snap photos of your food, then provides a big-picture breakdown of your eating habits. Along with identifying your dietary strengths and weaknesses, the app will give you ideas about the best ways to start making healthy changes.
5. Healthy Grocery Recommendations, Personal Nutrition, & Food Scanner: Take this app with you to the grocery store, scan the label on a food and quickly see whether it is a good match for you, nutritionally as well as based on allergies.
6. Fooducate: This app also lets you scan barcodes on food packages, then gives you a quick readout of whether a food contains a lot of sugar, has whole grains or controversial additives, and other handy tips to help you make healthy food choices. Foods are also “graded” to help you easily evaluate and compare choices.
7. Instant Heart Rate: If you want to keep tabs on your heart rate during your workout, this app lets you do so with your smartphone, without any external hardware. Independently tested by nurses, MDs, EMTs and fitness coaches.
8. My Dietary Supplements: From the National Institutes of Health, MyDS enables you to keep track of dietary supplements and other products you use on a daily basis. Also includes accurate and up-to-date fact sheets about dietary supplements, developed by the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Health, Disease and Wellness
9. WebMD App: Check your symptoms with this mobile symptom checker, find medically reviewed information about medical conditions, search for information about drugs, supplements and vitamins, and get a handy guide to first aid essentials right at your fingertips. There’s also a pill identification tool and local health listings to find nearby physicians, hospitals and pharmacies.
10. Mayo Clinic Meditation: Developed by Mayo Clinic, this clinically validated meditation program will help you feel more focused and relaxed throughout your day.
11. Sleep Cycle: This app is a “bio-alarm clock” that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you when you are in your lightest sleep phase. Waking during this phase is supposed to help you feel more rested, the way you would if you awoke naturally without an alarm clock.
12. Macaw: Turn your smartphone into your own personal health monitor with Macaw, an app that can be paired and synced with pedometers and digital scales to help you keep tabs on your health goals. Also includes a personal health profile that allows you to check and set your activity and nutrition levels, and a list of activities to complete to help you get fit and healthy.
13. Self-Hypnosis for Complete Relaxation: A Canadian app designed to take you away from stress and anxiety and help you enter a deeply relaxed and positive state in just 15 minutes.
14. Breathe2Relax: A portable stress-management tool from the U.S. Department of Defense, this app provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body and instructions and practice exercises to help users learn diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease your body’s stress response and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management.
15. QuitSTART: An app from the National Cancer Institute designed to help you quit smoking, QuitSTART can help you track your cravings and moods, monitor your progress toward achieving smoke-free milestones, identify your smoking triggers, and upload personalized reminders to use during challenging times to help you successfully become and stay smoke-free.
Healthy Home, Pregnancy and Parenting
16. Baby Bump Pregnancy Pro: Get weekly updates on baby’s development, a parents’ forum, journal and weight tracking, a kick counter, a photo slideshow for belly photos and even a contraction tracker that allows you to let your family know when you’re going into labor with this “all-in-one” pregnancy app.
17. Peaceful Nursery App: Tips for creating a safe, green, organic chemical-free nursery, including a comprehensive shopping list to identify safe plastics, baby shampoos and more.
18. Fish4Health: A Purdue University scientist developed this app to help people determine which commercial fish are safe to eat to optimize intake of healthy fats while minimizing intake of pollutants like mercury and PCBs. Especially useful for pregnant or nursing women, women who may become pregnant and young children.
19. SitorSquat: If you need to find a bathroom for your little one (or for you), this app lets you search for, view and rate bathrooms when you’re on the go! While everyone likes a clean public restroom, this is especially useful for parents with little ones.
20. WebMD Baby: This iPhone app helps keep you informed to keep your baby healthy. It gives you access to hundreds of articles and videos developed by WebMD doctors, lets you manage schedules for sleeping, feeding and growth, and also enables you to take pictures, record videos and create a baby book.
21. LactMed: Part of the National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network, LactMed is a database of drugs and other chemicals to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. It includes information on the levels of such substances in breast milk and infant blood, and the possible adverse effects in the nursing infant. Suggested therapeutic alternatives are provided to those drugs where appropriate.
1. Mashable Tech March 12, 2012.