The ubiquity of fitness-tracking technology in recent years has meant people are generally becoming more conscious about their health.
Increasing mainstream availability of sensors on wearables such as smartwatches – that are able to give us better feedback about what’s happening in our bodies – means more of us are discovering insights into our health and looking at how we can improve it. But with so many health-improving gizmos on the market, it’s not easy separating those that are truly beneficial from those that are nothing more than a gimmick.
With that, I’ve picked out the best health tech to improve your general wellbeing, and listed them via the area of your health they will improve. (If you’re looking for the best tech to track your fitness, head over to my Best Wearable Tech And Fitness Gadgets roundup.)
Lower blood pressure: Omron Evolv
Available for $89 (US) and £129 (UK), from Boots
The Omron Evolv is a clinically-validated wireless blood pressure monitor that is light enough to take anywhere with you, while also being super easy to use. The device lets you easily measure, record and share your blood pressure data with your family or doctor using an app. It is also really well designed, which I was pleasantly surprised about considering its function. Using an heart health algorithm, called Advanced Accuracy, the device measures more data points and eliminates interference from movement for more precise, clinically-accurate readings. It also lets you easily measure, record and share your blood pressure data with your family or doctor using the Omron Connect App.
Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the Evolv is one of my favourite health gadgets, mainly because it works so effortlessly while giving very accurate results, displayed simply in a well-designed app.
Lose weight: QardioBase
Available for $129.99 (US) and £129.22 (UK), from Amazon
Smart scales are by no means anything new, but the QardioBase scales takes weighing yourself to a whole new level. As well as weighing you, the connected scales will check your heart rate, water percentage, body fat, bone mass and muscle mass and keep a record of all this so you can compare your vitals over time. Accurately measures body weight, body composition (including body fat percentage, muscle, water and bone mass) and body mass index (BMI). Working with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Samsung S Health, the scales connect to the free Qardio App for iOS, Kindle, and Android, allowing users to share data easily and set goals and reminders to achieve goals.
Better yet, the smart scales can also distinguish your measurements from someone else’s, meaning everyone in your household can share them.
Cleaner lungs: Netatmo Healthy Home Coach
Available for $99.99 (US) and £89.99 (UK), from Amazon
If you live in a big city, chances are the air that you breathe on a daily basis could be doing damage to your health. All cities have pockets, with some areas that are worse than others. How would you know if this bad air, caused by pollution, is having an affect on the place you spend your most time: your home? This is where Netatmo’s Healthy Home Coach comes in. It detects air quality level, humidity, temperature and noise at home , and gives advice on how to create a healthier environment.
You can also connect multiple healthy home coaches to your smartphone to monitor several rooms.
Better Digestion: Philips Avance centrifugal Juicer
Available for $299.99 (US) and ££177.45 (UK), from Amazon
Fiber is one of the most important nutrients in helping us prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, some cancers, and also improve digestive health. However, many people don’t get enough fiber. One way of ensuring you do is with a simple to use juicer such as Philips’ Avance. The juicer has FiberBoost technology, which enables you to choose the texture of juice you prefer, selecting with the switch of a button from a refreshing clear juice to a more creamy juice with up to 50% more fiber.
It’s also super easy to clean, meaning you’re more likely to keep up the juicing and not hide the appliance in the back of your cupboard once the novelty wears off.
Healthier heart: AliveCor Kardia Band
Coming soon in the US and available for £199 (UK), from AliveCor
If you’ve already got yourself an Apple Watch but you’re particularly worried about your ticker and want to step the heart-rate monitoring level up a gear, then the Karida Band is a good choice.
It’s essentially a medical grade heart monitoring Apple Watch strap by Silicon Valley health tech company AliveCor, but what makes it special is its electrocardiogram (EKG) tech that is designed to pick up palpitations, shortness of breath and other reasons for concern which could increase the risk of a stroke. This is a must-buy for any Apple Watch user even slightly worried about their heart as it’s already been proven to pick up vital signs of heart-related problems in several users, even heart attacks.
Cleaner lungs: Wair smart scarf
Combining textile with tech can have heaps of health benefits, it seems. Take this smart scarf, for instance which claims to be the world’s first anti-pollution scarf. Called Wair, it keeps your lungs cleaner without compromising on fashion. Developed by a French start-up named Clausette.cc, it’s especially beneficial for cyclists, or those that live in a cold city where air pollution is a big concern. In addition to filtering harmful pollutants, the fashionable wraparound is connected to an app that provides real time air quality updates.
Measure fever: Withings Thermo
Available for $99.95 (US) and £89.95 (UK), from withings
Just when you thought they couldn’t make anything else connected, Withings goes and makes a connected thermometer, allowing you to keep track of that fever. And like the Body Cardio scales, the digital thermometer links to your Withings account via the app and keeps tabs on your temperature over time. With 16 infrared sensors taking 4,000 measurements, it’s accuracy is a game changer for anyone who often falls ill.
Better nutrition: Huel Complete Food
Available for £45 (UK) for 28 meals, from Huel
Okay so it’s not strictly a health “gadget”, but plenty of technology went into making Huel a thing. Offering a nutritionally complete meal in powdered form, Huel can be dissolved into water to give you all the 26 essential nutrients needed to live a healthy balanced lifestyle on a daily basis.
How? It’s made from real food such as milled down oats which are high in fibre, releasing energy slowly to prevent snacking in-between meals. Due to the ingredients list of Huel, the company says you could theoretically live off it 100 per cent of the time. I say theoretically because I can promise the severe cravings for real food would make this easy to do.
Injury recovery: FireFly
Available from $35 (US) and £27 (UK), at FireFly
Firefly is a wearable that helps accelerate sports recovery after exercise and minor injury. It’s portable, has no leads or wires, and is worn behind the knee. Once attached, it delivers painless electrical impulses to gently activate the muscles of the lower leg to increase blood circulation.
Used by athletes at all levels, such as British Olympic triathlete Vicky Holland, FireFly is clinically proven to aid sports recovery, with benefits including the reduction of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after exercise, aiding the recovery from a sprain or strain and reducing swelling.
Walking aid: Dring SmartCane
Available from September 2017
Set to be one of 2017’s biggest head-turners is a device you’d not normally associate with bleeding-edge technology: a walking stick. Designed by old-school walking stick company Fayet, the SmartCane has been given a twenty first century injection with French firm Nov’in’s Dring tech, an intelligent alert system. With an accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS inside the stick, any falls can be detected and an alert with the user’s location is automatically sent to get help.
Fertility monitoring: Ava
Available for $250 (US) and £199 (UK), from Ava
Ava is a fertility monitoring bracelet founded in Switzerland by data scientists, experts in wearable technology, and women’s health researchers all with the aim of bringing innovation to women’s reproductive health. The bracelet is able to precisely detect a woman’s entire fertile window in real time, so they can better plan their monthly cycle.
Sleep better: ResMed S+
Available for $50 (US) and £129.95 (UK), from Amazon
The S+ is touted as “the world’s first non-contact, fully comprehensive sleep tracking system”. It features patent-protected SleepSensor technology that tracks, analyzes and improves sleep at home without the need for a wearable, electrodes or mattress strips.
Sitting beside the bed like any old alarm clock, the S+ uses out-of-the-ordinary calibrated respiratory and bio-motion sensors to measure and analyse sleep stages, recording of the movements caused by the expansion and relaxation of the chest with breathing as well as body movements such as position changes, arm twitches and shrugs.
The system connects to a free iOS and Android app to record the quality of your night’s sleep and a Smart Alarm system allows users to set a window for the device to wake them up naturally when they are in light sleep, so they’ll feel more refreshed. A great health gadget if you have trouble getting up on a morning.
Lee is a freelance journalist specializing in technology, health and fitness innovation. Follow him on Twitter @llebeel and read more of his articles at his Forbes profile page.