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Best iPad Health Care Apps

With the right apps, your iPad can become a helpful tool for helping you live a better, healthier life.

Whether you want to learn the basics of fitness, keep track of your exercise routine, or count calories, there's an iPad app that can help. Here are our top iPad health app picks.

Calorie Counter (FatSecret, free, released May 7)

Many programs are available that offer to track eaten food and workout progress, but "Calorie Counter" is one of the best.  Not only does it break down specifically what calories come from each food, it helps you keep track of them in a dietary calendar, so you can see just where you went wrong.  You can also add new foods through a manual barcode input, in case the thousands of selections don’t quite cover what you’ve been eating.  Best of all, this program comes free of charge, a nice change of pace from the hundreds of dollars other weight loss clubs ask of you.  Take that, Jenny Craig!

RecipeReader HD (, free, released May 15)

Part of the challenge of a successful diet is finding the right foods for it.  "RecipeReader HD" gives you access to thousands of recipes, offering low-carb (and, in some cases, rewarding high-gluten) meals.  There are thousands of recipes and PDF’s available throughout this app, and you can even save select ones to access offline later, should you be in the kitchen prepping the meal, too busy to tap your iPad screen.  And like the Calorie Counter app, this one’s free of charge.  (You’ll still need to pay for the ingredients needed to make these meals, though.)

aSleep HD (Signs Studios, $1.99, released May 7)

Let’s say you’re having trouble sleeping at night.  It could be the stress, the discomfort of the bed and pillows, or just plain restlessness. Signs Studios’ "aSleep HD" app may be just the thing you need. This program features a number of modifications to help you get a good night’s rest, including several chromotherapy options, various sound effects to choose from (the one with the seagulls is surprisingly soothing), a night clock, and even a few snore elimination items, such as the “Snore Monitor” (to see how bad it is) and the “Snore Killer” (we’re still working on that one). It does cost $1.99, but that’s a small price to pay for a good night’s rest.

Relax & Rest Guided Meditations (Meditation Oasis, $.99, released April 1)

Let’s say you don’t really need a good night’s rest, but you need some form of meditation to set your mind straight.  Meditation Oasis has your ticket with "Relax & Rest Guided Meditations," an interesting program that breaks down into three separate sessions.  The first, Breath Awareness Guided Meditation, takes about five minutes.  The second, Deep Rest Guided Meditation, lasts 13 minutes.  The final one, Whole Body Guided Relaxation, stretches out to 24 minutes.  So there’s something for each level of your stress, and it’ll only set you back a buck.  The menus are real easy to use as well, because the last thing you need for a rest and relaxation program is an interface that’s stress inducing, right?

HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker (SwEng Corp., $4.99, released April 1)

Most of us aren’t doctors, so one of the last things we worry about is blood pressure.  But everyone should know if theirs is too high or not.  But what good are just numbers by themselves?  "HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker" is a perfect tool to help track your blood pressure records.  Now, it doesn’t actually track it in itself, but it takes your statistics (which you would get from a machine that checks your pressure, like the one at your local pharmacy) and compares them to where they need to be.  It also tracks resting heart rate and weight, so you can check on what needs improvement the next time around.  It’s a bit technical, but if you suffer from blood pressure-related issues, this is definitely the program to get.

U.S. Army Survival Guide (Double Dog Studios, $1.99, released April 9)

Last but definitely not least, we have the ultimate app for you outdoorsmen (or women) who need to rely on your pure survival instincts.  Granted, if you were doing that, you wouldn’t necessarily need an iPad, but whatever.  The U.S. Army Survival Guide breaks down various ways to get through some of the more terrifying scenarios, such as tropical survival, cold weather survival, and more.  As you go through this guide, you’ll learn how to make fires, how to tie specific ropes and knots, what kind of animals to avoid (poisonous snakes are huge on this list) and so on.  It’s only $1.99, and definitely worth investing in if you travel a lot.  Just make sure you don’t use your iPad for actual survival techniques – like fending off a bear.