10 Apps for a Healthier, Happier, More Helpful Life

Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.
apps
So many apps, so many bettered lives! (Photo: Reuters Pictures).

TakePart HQ's daily mission is to bring you the stories of people, places and events that inspire and compel change. We also know that life is complicated. We're all busy people, and it can be hard to make changes to lead a happier, healthier and more helpful life. Good thing there's an app for that.

Actually, there are at least 10 of them. So here are 10 iPad and iPhone apps that help you practice what your conscience preaches:

locavore1. Locavore ($2.99)

We love reading from the gospel of organic, local, sustainable food here at TakePart. Heck, our bosses made an Oscar-nominated documentary about all the disgusting and disturbing things that go on in the U.S. food industry. Locavore helps you find the healthiest, tastiest and freshest produce near you. It automatically detects which state you're in, tells you what's in season, and helps you find farmers markets near your location.

findgreen2. Find Green (Free)

Find sustainable and green businesses in a variety of industries. More than 56,000 businesses in every major U.S. market are green. Get turn-by-turn directions from your current location and see user reviews from green travelers who have already visited.

seafood_watch3. Seafood Watch (Free)

Make sustainable seafood choices wherever you're dining. This app from the Monterey Bay Aquarium (the folks who put out the sustainable seafood lists) keeps up-to-date regional guides loaded on your phone. The app will tell you what's safest to eat in the region where you're dining, and even sorts seafood by sustainability. Grabbing sushi with friends? The Seafood Watch app lists fish by their Japanese and English names.

the_extraordinaries4. The Extraordinaries (Free)

Stuck on a train, waiting in an airport, or killing time in the dentist's waiting room? Use those dead moments to help a worthy cause. Welcome to microvolunteering. The folks behind the Extraordinaries believe anyone, in just a few minutes, can be extraordinary for a cause, organization or group they're passionate about. The Extraordinaries app connects users to nonprofits that need only a few minutes of your time. 

givework5. Give Work (Free)

Got a minute? Then the folks at Give Work think you can help a refugee half a world away make a living. How does it work? Large corporations will upload seemingly mundane tasks, like verifying images or evaluating tweets to a database. A refugee working in a Kenyan data center will carry out the task (freeing up the company's employees to perform higher-level assignments). But the refugees don't get paid until a third party verifies their work. That's where you come in. Once you click that the task has been carried out, payment goes out. And you will have killed a few minutes doing something good, instead of popping fake bubble wrap.

showertime6. ShowerTime ($1.99)

Love long showers but hate the thought of wasting all that money and water? Here's an app to train you to become a lean, mean, quick-showering machine. ShowerTime listens to the sound of your shower running, gives you a loud signal when it is time to start rinsing, and another when it's time to shut off the water. The app will also total the amount of water you've used, and its cost. 

causeworld7. CauseWorld (Free)

Help your favorite causes just by walking into a store. That's the idea behind CauseWorld. Each time you enter your favorite retail outlet, from Borders to Target, and "check in" on the app, you earn one karma point. Collect enough karma points, and you can donate them to a favorite charity. For example, the app's sponsors will help Feeding America provide one meal to a hungry person in exchange for 14 karmas. With 100 karmas, Children's Safe Drinking Water will provde 50 days of clean water to a child in the developing world.

good_guide8. GoodGuide (Free)

Find sustainable, healthy and safe products while you shop. Simply scan an item's barcode, and the GoodGuide will search its database of more than 65,000 products to tell you its rating based on health factors, social responsibility, and green cred. 

fooducate9. Fooducate (Free)

Even if you're an avid label reader, sorting through 27 different types of granola bars in the grocery aisle can be mind boggling. Ever wished that someone would just tell you what to eat? That's the idea behind Fooducate, a new iPhone app that highlights what you really need to know about edibles at the store. The app will alert you to high amounts of sugar, controversial additives such as artificial food colorings, and misleading claims. You can make informed choices without wading through polysyllabic jargon.

npca10. National Parks Guide (Free)

The National Parks have their very own iPhone app, thanks to the National Parks Conservation Association. The interactive guide to 50 parks from Yosemite to Cape Cod National Seashore identifies all the wildlife you can expect to encounter on a visit. In addition, there are links for maps, campsite reservations, and important information like fees and hours of operation.

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