Laughter is the Best Medicine

Whether you want to escape from a bad day or a broken heart, laughter has been reported to have a number of health benefits. More and more studies show that laughter has both positive short-term and long-term effects on your well-being. A few short-term benefits include relieving stress, soothing tension, and improving your mood, whereas long-term effects include lowering blood pressure, mitigating depression, and boosting your immune system.

Certain effects of laughter also resemble exercise. A Vanderbilt University study found that laughing raises your energy expenditure and heart rate by 10 to 20 percent. Furthermore, one researcher reported that it took 10 minutes on a rowing machine to reach the same heart rate as just one minute of hearty laughter.

In other words, 10 to 15 minutes of daily laughter could burn the calorie-equivalent of roughly four pounds a year! But don’t give up your exercise routine just yet. Instead, try laughing while you’re working out for even better results. “Combining laughter and movement, like waving your arms, is a great way to boost your heart rate,” psychologist and laugh therapist Steve Wilson told WebMD.

If none of these reasons is enough for you to start chuckling yet, consider the impact that laughter has on your memory. Earlier this year, researchers at California’s Loma Linda University looked at the link between humor and mental agility, comparing groups of older adults that watched funny videos versus control groups that didn’t. They found that those who laughed - even for just 20 minutes - performed significantly better at learning and memory recall tests later on - in fact, about twice as well!

Health benefits aside, we could all use more laughter in our lives. What makes you laugh? Tell us for the chance to win a $100 gift card! Visit the Mango Health Facebook page and complete the following sentence: ”I laugh when….”

We look forward to reading your responses!

Mango Health on iOS 8

Have you upgraded your device to iOS 8? Make sure your Mango Health app stays up to date!

The latest Apple update requires your active permission to receive notifications. We know that for many of you, med reminders are one of the most important features of the Mango Health app. If you’d like us to keep sending you reminders to take your medicine, make sure you enable notifications from Mango Health.

If you’re upgrading to iOS 8 and you have scheduled meds, you may have already seen this pop-up window from Apple requesting approval:

Hit “OK”, and you’ll be able to continue receiving reminders as before. If you’ve accidentally hit “No,” but would like to enable notifications, not to worry! You should receive the following message in the app as a shortcut to turn notifications back on:

Tap the blue “Go to Device Settings” button to enter the Device Notification Center. Tap “Notifications” and then make sure “Allow Notifications” is on. This flow will look like this:

If you’re having any trouble with your notifications, please let us know! To get in touch, you can either email us at, or write to us inside the Mango Health app by tapping More, then Contact Us.

6 Health Resolutions for Fall

The start of fall can feel like the beginning of a “new year”—even if you haven’t been in school for decades! Take advantage of this feeling to make some mini resolutions to improve your health. These six simple steps will help you take care of you this season and beyond:

1. Spend time in the sun. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because your body needs UVA light to create it. Research links low vitamin D levels to everything from colds to cancer, but between 40% and 70% of American adults are deficient in this essential vitamin. It can be hard to get sun exposure with shorter days and busier schedules in the fall, so remember to get outside when you can. Take walks on your lunch break, meet a friend for a hike, or eat weekend brunch outside when weather permits.

2. Catch up on check ups. Are there appointments that you’re due for this year that you haven’t scheduled yet? Pick up the phone (or head to ZocDoc), and schedule them now! Not sure which specialist appointments or screening tests you need? Contact your general practitioner to find out. Also, it might make financial sense to have those appointments before the end of the year—if you haven’t already hit your health plan’s annual deductible, then squeeze in some more appointments before 2015 rolls around.

3. Get your shots. While you’re at it, find out if you’re due for a vaccination. Yes, adults need them too—check out the CDC’s vaccine recommendations. Many vaccines do not require appointments and are available at major pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, and Target, though you should call ahead to confirm.

4. Pamper your pearly whites. Taking care of your teeth regularly prevents pricey dental bills. Furthermore, tooth decay and gum disease has been linked to bigger health problems like atherosclerosis. So be sure to floss, brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush, and replace your toothpaste every 2-3 months—sooner if the bristles look frayed.

5. Sit less, move more. Sitting for long periods has been linked to health problems from like heart disease and insulin resistance. But you can counteract these chair-related risks by taking getting up and getting small bursts of activity throughout the day. Our recent blog post 'Move More, Sit Less, Feel Better, Live Longer' offers easy ideas on boosting daily activity.

6. Pay it forward. If you’re eligible to donate blood, visit a blood center or blood drive this fall. How else can you be a life-saving hero while staring at your iPhone for an hour? While you’re in heroic mode, consider joining a bone marrow registry—some day you could save the life of one of the fifteen people diagnosed with a blood cancer each hour. Visit Be the Match to check your eligibility and order a free registration kit.

Wishing you a happy, healthy fall!

Image credit: 'Gourds' by Flickr user @a2gemma under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

Join Mango Health at events this fall

Are you interested in mHealth, medication management, and patient engagement? Mango Health Co-founder and CEO Jason Oberfest has been invited to speak at a number of events this fall. Below is a full schedule - we hope you can join us!

1. Health 2.0 and the AARP’s Health Interactive @50+
San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA
Thursday, September 4, 2014

A partnership between Health 2.0 and the AARP, Health Interactive@50+ will feature a mix of engaging conversations with industry innovators, live product demonstrations, and educational workshops on emerging technology. Join Mango Health’s CEO Jason Oberfest for a demo on the Chronic Condition Management panel, alongside Bettrlife, iHealth, and Independa. For more information on the national three-day Ideas@50+ event, visit the AARP’s full event schedule.

2. The Stanford Medicine X Conference 2014
Stanford Medicine X, Stanford, CA
September 4-7, 2014

At the forefront of health and technology research, Stanford University’s Medicine X is a catalyst for advancing the practice of medicine, improving health, and empowering patients to be active participants in their own care. Along with Dr. Bonnie 360, Syapse, and Practice Fusion, Mango Health’s CEO Jason Oberfest will be speaking on the panel, "Closed versus open health data - where are the business models?"

3. The American Heart Association Health Tech Forum
Driskill Hotel, Austin, TX
September 29-30, 2014

The American Heart Association Health Tech Forum is designed to inspire collaboration between clinical and technology leaders, with the ultimate goal of measurably improving health outcomes. Join our CEO Jason Oberfest as he discusses health technology with other leaders from a variety of industry organizations.

4. Point of Care and Mobile Health Diagnostics Summit
Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston, MA
November 5-7, 2014

On Thursday, November 6, Mango’s CEO Jason Oberfest will be speaking on the interactive panel, Managing the Last Mile of Healthcare Implementation through Technology, with the organizations Partners Healthcare Center for Connected Health, Careticker, and Pixie Scientific. The discussion will focus on new ways of providing more clinically effective and cost-efficient care for patients.

One last thing - we’ve submitted to speak at SXSW Interactive 2015 with ThriveOn, Rock Health, and Wellframe on the panel, Radical Healthcare. Please take a moment to vote here if you like what you see.

Hope to see you this fall!

Move More, Sit Less, Feel Better, Live Longer

Recent research has turned traditional fitness advice on its head. For years we’ve been told that the body needs three or four workouts each week to maintain good health, but new studies suggest that those scheduled workouts have less impact on your health than how much you move—and sit—throughout the day.

Sitting down seems like a safe and harmless activity, but studies keep piling up indicating that too much sitting is downright dangerous. This Washington Post infographic details the many health risks of parking it in a chair for too long. Long periods of sitting have been linked to hypertension, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, muscle degeneration, and even cancer.

But enough bad news—the positive message emerging from this research is that getting up and moving around throughout the day can combat the negative impact of sitting. Better yet, you don’t even need a gym membership or special clothes. A few do-able ways to sit less:

Stand or walk around whenever you talk on the phone. And when you have an in-person meeting that doesn’t require computer work, ask if the other person is up for a “working walk” instead.

Walk to buy lunch instead of ordering in. Sure it requires more time away from your desk, but research done at the University of Illinois found that people who take breaks from work are able to focus better when they return—so both your body and your job will benefit.

Perform simple exercises on the hour. Whenever you notice that the clock has turned a new hour, do a few heel lifts, lunges, or squats. Okay, this could feel embarrassing if you work in a big open office, but try it—you might inspire some of your coworkers to move more too.

Take the long way. Whether you’re walking to the printer, to a meeting, or outside to grab a coffee, skip the short cuts and take a route that allows you to get an extra minute or two of movement in.

Move in front of the tube. We would never tell you not to binge watch your favorite Netflix series. But instead of parking it on the sofa for hours, get up every one in a while and stretch, walk in place, do some jumping jacks.

How do you and your friends move more? Let us know on Facebook!

Important Lessons from Your Wise Dads

To celebrate Father’s Day we asked you to give a shout out to your dad on Facebook and to share a lesson he taught you that’s been important in your life. We loved reading your tributes to your fathers and stepfathers. Here are some of the lessons from your dads that help you take care of yourself—we’re reprinting them here because we all could learn a thing or two from these wise dads.

“My dad taught me that it’s my duty to myself to do what it takes to be happy. When I was down on myself about what I wanted to do with my life, when I doubted myself the most, my dad would always encourage me to follow my passions, do what I love, do anything to make me happy. And keep doing it!”

“When my mother was pregnant, a fortune teller told my family I would be a boy - it was a traditional Chinese custom. When I turned out to be a girl, it didn’t stop my dad from teaching me the proper way to build a sawhorse, the best way to solve varying calculus problems, or letting me put nail polish on him.”

“He would take me out to go driving, tried to teach me how to drive, taught me how to cook. He taught me how to expect more of myself and not to settle for less but to set my expectations higher.”

“My dad gave me an awesome work ethic. This man served his country for 32 years and never missed a day of work!”

“My dad taught me not to be afraid of a challenge—a great trait in life and especially as my husband and I have embarked on multiple home renovations over the past decade! We’re closing in on the end of our kitchen renovation and my dad and I are laying the tile together—a great way to spend the week before Father’s Day!”

“He taught me never to dwell on the past. Your past may shape you, but it does not define you. This simple advice has helped me get through many things in life!”

These are just a few of the inspiring anecdotes our community shared—to see the rest, visit the Mango Health Facebook page.

How to Stay Hydrated (and Why It’s So Important)

You’ve probably heard that your body is mostly water, and it’s true—approximately 60 percent. Staying hydrated is essential to good health, because your body requires water to carry nutrients around, remove toxins, and perform pretty much every vital function.

Even though you know it’s important (especially now that summer weather is finally here) it’s not always easy to drink enough water. To help you take care of yourself we’ve put together some key advice on getting enough H2O:

1) That go-to “drink eight eight-ounces glasses of water a day” advice is a good guiding principal, but you may not know that there’s no hard evidence behind that specific figure. If you exercise heavily, live in a hot climate, or are taking certain medications you may need more water than that.

2) Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink—by the time you’re actively thirsty you’re already slightly dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include a dry mouth, dark urine, a headache, and muscle cramps. But before you notice those symptoms, mild dehydration can make you fatigued. Think of that: The remedy for low energy spells might be as simple as more H2O.

3) Keep a water bottle with you (by your desk at work, in your car, in your bag) so that regular hydration takes minimal effort. Consider slipping a few slices of lemon or cucumber in your water if the extra flavor makes you more likely to drink enough.

4) Try using your medication reminders as hydration reminders—when you take your medications or supplements, drink a full glass of water rather than just a few gulps, unless the instructions on your medications advise otherwise. Also, be sure you know whether or not it’s okay to take your medicine with liquids other than water because drinks like fruit juice and milk can interact with medications.

5) When you exercise, drink water before, during, and after your workout. Drinking water beforehand will help you feel better and boost performance during your workout, and drinking afterwards will replace the water you lost through sweat.

6) If you take care of somebody else, like a child, an elderly relative, or a pet remember to offer them water frequently on warm days. Often, children and the elderly don’t realize that they’re thirsty.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, well-hydrated summer!

Mother’s Day Love

Mothers are known for taking care of their families, but not always taking care of themselves. In honor of Mother’s Day we asked our Facebook fans to name the “mama figure” who takes care of them—be it your mom or another person in your life who deserves a little recognition for always looking out for others. You replied with over one hundred shout outs to and heartfelt appreciations of your moms, mothers-in-law, sisters, wives, daughters, and even some men in your lives. To see what everyone shared, please visit our Facebook page at

We loved reading all of the love you shared, and have one more Mother’s Day request: Encourage the mama types in your life to take care of themselves as well as they take care of you!

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Mango Health!

Mango Insight of the Week

With the start of the new year we’re going to begin sharing some interesting information about the Mango Health community. Each week we’ll release a stat or piece of data that provides unique insight into how people are interacting with medications and supplements, and how they’re feeling as they do it. These insights will come from anonymous, aggregate data from across our user base. We’ll be tweeting these insights every Thursday, so follow us on Twitter to stay up on our latest:

Separating the Best Apps from the Rest

“There’s an app for that”? These days, “There are ten apps for that” sounds more accurate because there’s a dizzying selection of apps available. In the health and medical space the sheer number of apps is becoming a problem—it’s hard for people to determine which apps are safe, helpful, and easy to use. We feel that it’s important for experts to separate the best from the rest, so we were happy to learn that U.S. insurance leader Cigna has done just that. Last week Cigna launched a curated app store, and Mango Health was chosen, along with HealthTap, as one of just two medical apps in the program. Apps selected to participate were run through a detailed review process that included checks of privacy and security standards, quality of content, good use of behavioral science, and underlying technology. It’s a great initiative and we’re excited to be included! You can visit the Cigna Go You marketplace at