Jewish Journal

Health apps appeal to a variety of Jewish needs

Whether you are interested in bringing more Judaism into your daily yoga practice or you are concerned about the halachic acceptability of tattooing for cancer radiation therapy, a number of Jewish-minded smartphone apps are available to help you on your journey toward better health.

Kabbalah Yoga: Ambitious Beginner

If you’ve heard about the health benefits of yoga but aren’t sure where to begin, this app is for you. With easy-to-follow videos that incorporate kabbalah and meditation into introductory yogic practices, it brings the physical and emotional benefits of yoga within reach. The app ($4.99) also includes a workout journal so you can mark your physical and spiritual progress. Those who practice yoga regularly report lower levels of stress and better sleep. And for people with thinning bones, even introductory-level yoga is considered a weight-bearing activity that can help build bone density.

Nishmat: Jewish Women’s Health

The intersection of women’s health and halachic law sometimes can be a tricky and potentially embarrassing topic to broach with medical professionals outside the religious community. With this free, easy-to-navigate app, women of all ages can find answers to even the most difficult personal health questions. The app clarifies Jewish law on topics like contraception, gynecological exams, infertility, lactation, obstetrics and oncology, without belittling or ignoring the most complicated issues a woman might face, including the use of medical tattooing for radiation treatment. While the app was created to help health professionals understand how best to treat their patients, it also has been a useful tool for women seeking to understand how their medical treatment can affect their body, and how they can engage with their partner during and after treatment.

Gene Screen

With a focus on Diaspora Ashkenazi Jews, Gene Screen is a free interactive app that allows users to understand the basics of population genetics, as well as the most common genetic diseases they might be susceptible to. Learn about recessive and dominant genes, play with drag-and-drop Punnett squares, and compare the prevalence of specific genetic diseases between the Ashkenazic population of the United States and the general U.S. population. The iOS-only app also links to a variety of websites that delve into details about genetics and offer genetic testing, including sites such as the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases.

NutriGuide

This app allows the user to personalize a kosher meal and grocery plan that can be of assistance in reaching health goals while also allowing the user to remain religiously observant. First, users set up a personal profile with their current height, weight, activity level and desired weight. They then can create a tailor-made diet framework to help them pursue a specific dietary goal, whether it be lowering sugar or salt intake, becoming vegetarian or avoiding food allergens. The free app also has a feature that allows users to scan bar codes on items at the grocery store, which delivers nutrition information about the products and whether they contain ingredients the user should be avoiding.