10 Handy Health & Lifestyle Apps
As mobile phone technology has become increasingly more versatile and sophisticated, developers and app creators have found more and more ways to use mobile phones in everyday life. A phone is no longer simply used for making calls and texting your friends, but is now a nifty gadget for all aspects of your life. You can play games with your phone, monitor your sleep patterns and even find your nearest coffee shop. However, mobile devices are now becoming useful tools that help you to stay healthy and make positive changes to your lifestyle. Here are 10 apps that can help you to improve how you live your life.
1. Superfood HD
A ‘superfood’ is a way of describing food that has a high nutrient content, that may provide some health benefits or that have few to no negative attributes. The Superfood HD app is designed to help you recognise which foods in your supermarket are ‘super’ and how to integrate them into your daily diet. The app gives nutritional information about each food and provides a clear, high quality image to help you recognise it. The app also has hundreds of tasty recipe ideas that incorporate different super foods.
2. Swap It, Don't Stop It
An app for those in Australia who want to make small changes to their lifestyle that can be of positive benefit. The app was developed by the Australian government and works on the premise of encouraging you to ‘swap’ small actions or things that you eat for more healthy options. The ‘Swap-its’ offered by the app include walking up the escalator instead of standing and swapping white bread for wholegrain. The app also has the functionality to find activities that are on offer near you. A useful app that increases awareness of what you do every day and what you can change.
The Vodafone Foundation is an organisation that utilises communications technologies to mobilise social change and improve people’s lives. One of their projects is the iGLU app. This app allows people with Celiac disease to scan the barcodes on food at home or while they are shopping and find out its nutritional information. The app can help people to recognise which types of food are suitable for them to eat and can help them to find foods that they may not have realised that they could eat.
4. Restaurant Nutrition
Following a diet and counting calories can be difficult, especially if you go out to eat at a restaurant as you often cannot know the nutritional information of the meal you are eating. The Restaurant Nutrition app allows users to find out information about food and meals available in over 250 restaurants. This is useful app, but at present only has information about American restaurant chains. Hopefully in the future the app will expand to include information for different countries.
5. Instant Heart Rate Monitor
It may be surprising to find out that you can use your smartphone’s camera to do more than just take pictures. The Instant Heart Rate Monitor app can utilise your camera’s flash to take a reading of your pulse. When you hold your finger over the camera it uses the flash to take a reading of skin colour changes and from that is able to calculate your heart rate. This technology is also used to check stress levels in apps like Stress Doctor & Stress Check.
6. Eat, Chew, Rest
A slightly more off-the-wall smartphone app is ‘Eat, Chew, Rest’ which aims to help you to slow down your eating habits and enjoy your food more. The app utilises visual cues that tell you when to chew and how long for – in the hopes that you will spend more time enjoying the flavour of your food. The ‘rest’ cue signals when you should stop eating and talk to the people you are eating with. A slightly odd app but it does make you re-evaluate your eating habits.
If counting calories isn’t your bag, then Thryve might be for you. Instead of focusing rigidly on how many calories each bite of food contains, this app concentrates on how the food makes you feel and how diet is balanced. Through the app you take a picture of your meal and enter information about it and how happy the meal made you. The app will then give your meal and score and give suggestions on which food groups you should eat more of for a balanced diet.
8. My Quit Coach
This app is a useful motivational tool for people looking to give up smoking. The My Quit Coach app from Livestrong helps you to track your progress, and gives tips and sets goals to help you achieve your aims. You can also choose whether you want to quit straight away or whether you want to do it more gradually. My Quit Coach lets you personalise your quitting plan so that it works for you and you are more likely to succeed.
It can be frustrating when you find a tasty recipe that you want to try but it includes a certain ingredient that you cannot eat due to allergies or dietary restrictions. The Substitutions app provides useful tips and suggestions for replacement ingredients. It has a range of substitutions from gluten-free to vegetarian, vegan and dairy. It even has recommendations for substitute herbs and spices.
Finally, the GlucoseBuddy app is a useful gizmo for those with diabetes to track their food intake, carbohydrate consumption and glucose levels. Ideal for when you are out and about as the vast majority of people will have their phone on them when they go out. The app creates graphs of the different measured levels that many users find helpful when they need to show their doctor a representation.