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Health

15 apps a day to keep the doctor away

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Despite October being the month of pumpkin spice lattes, mountains of candy from Halloween, and binge-watching Netflix as the season changes in New York, Global Citizen is focusing on Health this month. Yes, being healthy and staying healthy doesn’t have to be as scary as Jack Nicholson breaking through your bedroom door.


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And even better...technology is here to help you stay focused on keeping healthy this month, and hopefully the rest of this year.

Listen, both of us already know you’re on your smartphone. 6 billion people in the world have access to mobile phones, and another 100 million are expected to have access to a smartphone by 2020.


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With smartphones becoming almost a necessity to daily life, why not incorporate a few apps that you can actually benefit from! Take a break from the candy crush, the Snapchat, and the Instagram, and check out apps that can improve your life for years to come.

Plug in with these 15 apps to keep you healthy this month.

1. It’s that time of the month


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Hey ladies! Better to be safe than sorry, right? Who thought that tracking your menstrual cycle would be so much fun! With Clue, you can record information about your period, including level of pain, type of mood, sexual activity, what you’re craving and more. Mother Nature’s gift won’t have to be such a surprise next time.

*Cost: Free

**Personally tested

2. To get your Zzzs


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Quality sleep is essential for good health. Maybe you can tell just the next day when you don’t sleep well. You might feel unfocused, groggy, or that cold you were fighting off now caught up with you. Beyond that, lack of sleep can actually lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, memory loss, and even cancer. Yikes! Or maybe worrying about disease caused by lack of sleep is keeping you awake at night. Well fret no more. The app Sleep Cycle can help insomniacs manage sleep cycles, wake up at the right place, provide soothing sounds, for that deep REM sleep you’re dreaming of now.

*Cost: $0.99 (USD)

**Not personally tested yet

3. An “app” a day keeps the doctor away


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One of our personal favorites is an app called MyFitnessPal. It’s not your average diet tracking app. MyFitnessPal focuses on nutritional value of everything you eat and drink. It also let’s you set calorie goals to make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients for your body and the “suggested” calorie intake whether your goal is to gain, lose, or stay at the same weight. You can also add in exercise and even find out how many calories are burned from all types of activities like belly dancing, badminton, and rowing- it also has the more mundane such as walking, doing the dishes, and vacuuming.

*Cost: Free

**Personally tested

4. Hungry to track your nutritional needs?


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It’s challenging when you’re busy to take the time to cook healthy meals, and budget the cost of cooking healthier options. The price of healthy food costs on average $1.50 (USD) more a day in the US. That costs about the same amount as people living in extreme poverty make a day ($1.90 a day), and is definitely a lot for the 3 billion people who live on $2.50 or less a day. How does an app help with the cost of healthy food? On a personal level apps like MealBoard can track costs so you can budget for food, and plan the cooking. This app lets users track the price of foods in the grocery store of their choice and provides quick healthy recipes for all meals throughout the day.

*Cost: $3.99

**Not yet personally tested

5. Glass half-full?


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Who knew something so simple and obvious such as drinking a glass of water typically goes overlooked in our productive days? One of the very main reasons for dry skin, constipation, headaches etc. connects to your lack of hydration. The minimally designed blue and white  Waterlogged is an innovative app that gets down to business, allowing you to track your water intake every time you fill your glass!

*Cost: Free (In-app purchases)

**Not yet personally tested

6. Baby on Board?


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Expecting? Not sure where to start, or what to do? Although we admit, we’re not pregnancy experts (Side note from Leah on this point: 23 and can’t even keep a plant alive/barely remember to feed myself) we can suggest probably the best pregnancy app you’re going to find out there. Thanks to a friendly recommendation, we were directed to WebMD Pregnancy, which monitors every little detail up until your due date.The nifty app allows you to photograph your ever-growing baby bump, count the amount of times the baby kicks, and journal all the pivotal moments during pregnancy.

*Cost: Free

**Recommended by a very pregnant close source to Meghan

7. Bonus: Man and baby on board?


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Who said men can’t vicariously live through a pregnancy? After all, 90 percent of men experience at least one pregnancy-like symptom. Perhaps that’s why the creators at Who’s Your Daddy designed an app for men, written by men! The quirky app offers up a unique perspective on pregnancy with funny daily tips, weekly updates, and key dates for your busy calendar. Men can now participate further in the exhilarating nine month journey through their phones.

*Cost: $2.99

**Not personally tested

8. Ohhhmmmmmm


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Time to find that inner zen that was missing last month. Maybe it’s time to explore guided meditation. I’m not saying to start eating Kashi bars, become a Yogi, and whisper ‘Namaste” every other sentence. However, there are great meditation apps that can assist with reducing pain, increasing productivity, and creating an overall equilibrium of mind-body-soul. Did you know that Meditation also helps with getting a good night’s sleep? It’s reported that  75% of insomniacs who started a daily meditation program were able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed. After a long day, I (Leah speaking here) usually turn to Calm, where I can pick from a series of various mediation types, like full body scans, calming anxiety, feeling compassion and more. In addition, Calm allows me to select relaxing soundscapes ranging from rippling water currents to light rain fall, so by the time bedtime rolls around I feel...well...Calm.

*Cost: Free (In-App Purchases available)

**Personally tested

9. Check yo self and manage disease


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There are apps for everything today. Being a hypochondriac is not healthy, but it doesn’t have to be as expensive as before the days of smartphones because today you can check whether you have diseases such as malaria, or manage diabetes all with the touch of a button (or a screen). Apps like GlucoseBuddy can help the 29 million people currently living with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels, insulin, and carbohydrate levels.   

*Cost: Free (In-app purchases)

**Not personally tested

11. Be your “breast” self


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October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month which means it may be a good time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Studies already show that 1 in 8 women can expect to develop breast cancer over the course of an their lifetime. Wouldn’t it be awesome if all women were able to catch early warning signs? Boarding For Breast Cancer (B4BC), which was named top breast cancer app of 2015, is an easy to navigate app that lets women set up reminders to perform regular self examinations and tells them what to look for during them.

*Cost: Free

**Personally tested

12. Smile!


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Sometimes you just want to go to bed and skip the whole, “Brusha, brusha, brusha” thing. But dental hygiene is important too. Keeping your teeth healthy and strong  (and breath fresh) is essential to being able to get the nutrients you need. No matter what age you are it’s not all that fun to brush your teeth. But this app, YuckMouth turns boring toothbrushing into a fun interactive game for kids (and adults).

*Cost: Free

*Not yet personally tested

13. Eh...say what?


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I remember in high school several of my classmates had a ringtone on their cellphones with a frequency so high that any teacher over the age of forty could not hear it. Do you know why my teacher couldn’t hear the ringtone while the rest of the class reacted like a dog to that high-pitch whistle? It’s because as you go to all the amazing fun concerts and festivals, or live in loud places, sound takes a toll on your eardrums. The ability to hear decreases as humans age. So if you’re worried you or a family member or friend is having trouble hearing you can save time and money by using an app to test your hearing. Action on Hearing Loss’s app HearingLoss is a tool for privately checking your hearing levels to see if you have hearing loss or damage.

*Cost: Free

**Not personally tested (yet)

14. What to do when you’re feeling blue


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Being happy is a big part of being healthy. That’s why mental health is just as important to creating a better society as physical health. Humans sometimes need reminders to be happy too, or help from friends, but you can get assistance from an app too.  

It’s hard to understand mental health issues like depression. But, 350 million people have depression worldwide according to WHO.  There are now apps that can help manage and improve symptoms of depression. MoodTools is an app that can track your moods, and show patterns in mood changes over time. There’s even technology in the works that can detect your mood and suggest you sing a song, or wear a certain color to make you feel happier, or change the color of your car lights to let other drivers know you’re stressed. Seriously, this might help with road rage!

*Cost: Free

**Not yet personally tested

15. Bonus: Healthy app for the planet


Track your carbon footprint to keep the planet healthy with CarbonGobbler. The app from GreenHatters helps users cut down on energy usage and track the amount of carbon they use from travel, electricity and consumption and engage with family and friends using the app too.


There you have it! Fifteen apps to download into your newer, healthier, fitter life this October. As the two of us have said, staying healthy shouldn’t have to end like a horror movie. So next time you feel down in the dumps, not getting enough ZZZ’s, or lacking enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, you can turn to these easy (mostly free) lifehacking apps to ensure a healthier happier you.

You can also go to TAKE ACTION NOW and TWEET to help promote health awareness worldwide.