Best Books on Health: 35 Books on Healthy Eating, Fitness and Sleep (2020)

Best Health Books

Best Health Books

I thought creating a list of the best books on health would be easy.

I was wrong.

You see health is a difficult topic. Where does mind become matter? Health become sickness? Prevention become cure?

The atomist in me wants neat little boxes. The realist knows that ain’t possible.

But you gotta start somewhere right?

So, here’s what I’ve aimed for: a list of the best non-academic books for healthy people who want to maintain and/or improve their physical health and vitality.

(Did you know? Health & Vitality is the most fundamental area on F2M‘s Wheel of Life.)

The result is mix of best books on healthy eating, best books on fitness and best books on sleep. There’s also a handful of books on preventing cancer and heart disease because including them just seemed to feel right. 🤷‍♂️🤗

If you only have time for a few, I’d suggest starting with:

But otherwise, feel free to browse through the list like a menu, go with your gut and tuck into whatever you see that excites you.

P.s., I LOVE book recommendations. If there’s something you think should be on here, leave a comment and I’ll consider it for the next version of the list!

F2M’s 35 Best Books On Physical Health & Vitality

NOTE: Like all my book recommendations, this list is ranked by a combination of what’s most loved (Goodreads rating) and what’s most popular (Goodreads review count). Unlike other lists, I haven’t taken first publication date into account.

  1. Being Mortal (2014), Atul Gawande
    Medicine and What Matters in the End
    282 pages. Rated 4.5 over 117,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  2. Why We Sleep (2017), Matthew Walker
    Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
    368 pages. Rated 4.4 over 43,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  3. The Body Keeps the Score (2014), Bessel A. van der Kolk
    Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
    443 pages. Rated 4.6 over 24,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  4. Born to Run (2009), Christopher McDougall
    A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    287 pages. Rated 4.3 over 156,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  5. How Not to Die (2015), Michael Greger (Summary)
    Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
    A deeply researched and compelling primer on the promise and importance of whole food plant based nutrition in preventing and reversing disease – by medical doctor and nutrition expert, Michael Greger.
    576 pages. Rated 4.5 over 17,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  6. The Emperor of All Maladies (2010), Siddhartha Mukherjee
    A Biography of Cancer
    571 pages. Rated 4.3 over 73,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  7. The Obesity Code (2016), Jason Fung
    Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss
    328 pages. Rated 4.4 over 14,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  8. The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006), Michael Pollan
    A Natural History of Four Meals
    450 pages. Rated 4.2 over 173,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  9. Starting Strength (2005), Mark Rippetoe
    Basic Barbell Training
    320 pages. Rated 4.4 over 8,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  10. The Body (2019), Bill Bryson
    A Guide for Occupants
    450 pages. Rated 4.3 over 13,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  11. The Complete Guide to Fasting (2016), Jason Fung
    Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting
    304 pages. Rated 4.4 over 7,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  12. The China Study (2001), T. Colin Campbell
    The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health
    417 pages. Rated 4.2 over 24,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  13. In Defense of Food (2008), Michael Pollan
    An Eater’s Manifesto
    205 pages. Rated 4.1 over 98,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  14. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding (1985), Arnold Schwarzenegger
    The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised
    832 pages. Rated 4.4 over 3,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  15. Becoming a Supple Leopard (2013), Kelly Starrett
    The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
    400 pages. Rated 4.4 over 4,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  16. Food Inc. (2009), Karl Weber
    A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It
    338 pages. Rated 4.2 over 15,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  17. The Botany of Desire (2001), Michael Pollan
    A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
    304 pages. Rated 4.1 over 45,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  18. Intuitive Eating (1995), Evelyn Tribole
    A Revolutionary Program That Works
    304 pages. Rated 4.2 over 6,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  19. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (2007), Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.
    The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure
    320 pages. Rated 4.4 over 3,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  20. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (2007), Barbara Kingsolver
    A Year of Food Life
    383 pages. Rated 4.0 over 96,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  21. It Starts with Food (2012), Dallas Hartwig
    Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
    320 pages. Rated 4.1 over 21,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  22. Good Calories, Bad Calories (2004), Gary Taubes
    Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease
    601 pages. Rated 4.2 over 8,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  23. Nourishing Traditions (1995), Sally Fallon
    The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
    674 pages. Rated 4.2 over 12,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  24. The Story of the Human Body (2013), Daniel E. Lieberman
    Evolution, Health, and Disease
    480 pages. Rated 4.2 over 5,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  25. Bigger Leaner Stronger (2011), Michael Matthews
    The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body
    356 pages. Rated 4.2 over 6,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  26. The Food Revolution (2001), John Robbins
    How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World
    449 pages. Rated 4.3 over 3,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  27. Lies My Doctor Told Me (2017), Ken D. Berry
    Medical Myths That Can Harm Your Health
    198 pages. Rated 4.5 over 1,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  28. Eat to Live (2003), Joel Fuhrman
    The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss
    292 pages. Rated 4.1 over 13,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  29. Gut (2014), Giulia Enders
    The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ
    273 pages. Rated 4.0 over 27,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  30. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (1939), Weston A. Price
    A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects
    524 pages. Rated 4.4 over 1,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  31. Strength Training Anatomy (1998), Frédéric Delavier
    144 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  32. Spark (2008), John J. Ratey
    The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
    304 pages. Rated 4.1 over 10,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  33. Why We Get Fat (2010), Gary Taubes
    And What to Do About It
    272 pages. Rated 4.1 over 18,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  34. Deep Nutrition (2008), Catherine Shanahan
    Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food
    336 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  35. Food Rules (2008), Michael Pollan
    An Eater’s Manual
    152 pages. Rated 4.0 over 38,200 reviews on Goodreads.

II. Best Books Of All Time

These are the overall best books to read (by type).

III. Best Nonfiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best nonfiction books to read (by topic).

IV. Best Fiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best fiction books to read (by genre).

Or, you can read all my book recommendations.
Arthur is a productivity coach and writer who helps top young execs and entrepreneurs be more productive, find more balance and live more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →
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Sri Charan Naga
Sri Charan Naga
2 months ago

Also ‘Fat Chance‘ by Robert Lustig is a good book