Personalized Medicine

10 apps that help you stay healthy

Chris Morris, special to

Health trackers in the palm of your hand

Cultura | Edwin Jimenez | Getty Images

There are a lot of things in the modern world that conspire to work against our health goals. Today $5 pizzas are abundant. We spend our days sitting down, chained to a desk. Heck, we don't even stand up and cross the room when we want to change the channel on the TV.

Thankfully, there are some advances that do try to help you out. The app revolution has brought about a number of new ways to keep tabs on your lifestyle, with the ultimate goal of improving your health — or at least assisting you in your effort to maintain your current state.

Here are 10 apps that are working in your favor.

— By Chris Morris, special to
Posted 07 November 2015

ShopWell (free)

Source: YottaMark, Inc.

It can be hard to tell what's in a lot of the foods we buy. The ShopWell app helps you create healthier shopping lists and lets you quickly scan bar codes to see what's good and what's bad (nutritionally) about a packaged food. Rather than just echoing the list of calories and vitamins on the box, it lets you know if, for example, the food is a good source of calcium or vitamin A, whether it has added sugar and if it uses whole grains. It will also suggest foods tailored to your needs.

(Available on iOS and Android)

Diabetes Risk Checker ($.99)

Source: Click Innovate Ltd

Worried your dietary habits might put you at risk for Type 2 diabetes? This app uses an algorithm developed by doctors and academics in the U.K. to estimate your risk over the next 10 years by answering a series of questions about your gender, ethnicity, smoking status and more.

(Available on iOS and Android)

Zombies, Run! (free)

Source: Six to Start

Running isn't always fun, but this app manages to make it something you look forward to — even if you hate exercise. It's part audio adventure, part simulation game, with a story that unfolds between the songs you listen to as you exercise. The game comes with enough story recordings to keep you going for more than 200 runs and is bundled with quality fitness-tracking tools.

(Available on iOS and Android)

Carrot Fit ($2.99)

Source: Grailr LLC

The idea of a sadistic, taunting fitness app might not seem appealing until you actually experience Carrot Fit. The A.I. will mock you, but it does so in such ridiculous fashion that it's funny, making you want to exercise more. Plus, it's pretty hard to pass on an exercise called Celebrity Face Punches, a high-intensity boxing-themed workout, no matter how hard it is. It's a snarky boot camp in your pocket.

(Available on iOS)

HealthyOut (free)

Source: Rise Labs, Inc.

We eat out a lot in our society, but determining which meals on the menu are good for you can be tricky. HealthyOut does some of the heavy lifting, suggesting meals — and not just salads — that have lower calories, fewer carbs or less fat. It can also suggest meals that tie in with your diet, whether it's Paleo, Atkins, Zone or South Beach.

(Available on iOS and Android)

Diabetes Pal (free)

Source: TelCare

Keeping up with your diabetes can be hard. This statistics system lets you track your blood glucose levels along with several other vitals, including blood pressure, weight and activity. It automatically syncs with Telcare's blood glucose monitor, but it also accepts manual entries in an easy-to-read log system.

(Available on iOS and Android)

Health Mate (free)

Source: Withings

Developed by French consumer electronics company Withings, this is an all-purpose health app, helping you to lose weight, keep an eye on blood pressure and even sleep better. Either sync your Withings device to it or manually enter your data, and the app will help you set goals and gently push you to focus on them, with tips and supporting messages.

(Available on iOS and Android)

Medisafe (free)

Source: MediSafe Inc.

If your health conditions require you to take several daily medications or you have a loved one who does, this app makes it easier to keep track. Meds are shown in a chart, which outlines when they need to be taken. When the patient has done so, a simple tap will mark the area accordingly.

There are tones to remind you when it's time to take more meds. And you can set the app up to alert a circle of caretakers, who will be notified if the patient seemingly skips a dose.

(Available on iOS and Android)

Noom Coach (free, with optional monthly subscription)

Source: Noom Inc.

Losing weight is easier with a coach watching out for you. Noom Coach gives you a plan to follow to lose weight, then adjusts the workout plan if you deviate from it. Logging food is easy, and there's a community of users that help support one another in their goals. Users who upgrade also get access to a human personal coach to assist them.

(Available on iOS and Android)

HealthTap (Price: Free)

Source: HealthTap

House calls aren't what they used to be, but they still exist. HealthTap lets you get personalized, helpful answers from one of 73,000 doctors via your phone's video chat feature—asking about test results, whether that rash requires a trip to their office, and even talking with psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. The app's free, but (unlimited) consultations will cost you $99 per month plus $10 for every additional family member).

(Available on iOS and Android)