Looking for a good book to read? Maybe you have some extra time during the holidays or need a gift idea for a friend or family member. Here are some suggestions related to nutrition, exercise, and health, all written by experts in a way that make them easy to read and understand. While some of these books have been around for a while, the information in them is just a relevant today as the day they were published. Together, these books provide the why and how of smart eating, sitting less, and moving more.
The Heart-Healthy Handbook by Barry Franklin and Simon Dixon (Healthy Learning, 2017).
If you have had a heart attack or are at risk for a heart attack in the future—which, by the way, is nearly everyone—this is the book for you! Written by expert exercise and nutrition professionals in a way that is easy-to-understand, this book explains the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease and related conditions. From descriptions of common tests to steps you can take to improve your heart health, this is a book you can put to use within the first few pages.
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink (Bantam, 2006).
While other books on this list focus on what to eat, this book offers a fascinating look at why we eat. Dr. Wansink utilizes his experience studying the environmental and psychological factors that make us eat to offer advice for resisting the many “tricks” that lead us to overconsume, from the size of your dinner plate to the candy dish on your desk.
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan (Penguin, 2008).
More than almost any other book, In Defense of Food has raised awareness about the environmental and health consequences of what we eat and established Mr. Pollan as a leader in changing the way we produce and consume our food. His simple advice, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” is supported by the evidence presented in the book, which explains why we should switch from our overly-processed diet for more natural foods. This book is an easy and informative read that will certainly make you think about what exactly it is you are eating.
Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World by Kelly Starrett, Juliet Starrett, and Glenn Cordoza (Victory Belt, 2016).
You probably already know that years of sitting at work, home, and in your car is bad for you. This book clearly explains why and how prolonged sitting affects your health, from diabetes and heart disease to muscle and joint pain. More importantly, this book includes simple exercises to help you undo the damage from sitting. On almost every page you will find something you can do to stretch, strengthen, and restore your muscles and joints.
SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey (Little, Brown and Company, 2008).
Exercise has well-known and proven benefits for the body, from improved health to enhancing fitness. Less well-known are the benefits exercise has on the brain. In this important book, Dr. Ratey explains the link between exercise and brain health. You will learn how mood, memory, attention, and learning are all improved with exercise and have new motivation to get out and get moving!