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The health and wellness industry is booming, with books covering any and every topic from diet and sleep to fertility and skincare. So if you’re looking to change your life completely or just make small modifications, we’ve got you covered.
The titles in our list are mostly non-scientific and aimed at readers who want to improve or maintain their physical and mental health. It includes books by psychologists, doctors, journalists and other experts who can help you to set goals and guide you towards a healthier lifestyle.
These books have all been highly rated by Mumsnet users (who’ve shared their own health journeys on our forums) for their clear information, useful tips and accessibility that prove that even small changes can make a big difference to your health.
Here are the 15 best health books to buy in 2022.
1. Best overall health book: 30 Day Kick Start Plan: 100 Delicious Recipes with Energy Boosting Workouts by Joe Wicks
Price: From £7 | Buy now from Amazon
“I've just started the 30 Day Kick Start plan and the food is good.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Dancewithyourballoon)
This book by the nation’s favourite PE teacher includes 100 healthy and delicious recipes as well as six brand-new HIIT workouts to get you feeling great inside and out.
It also contains advice and tips on staying hydrated, sleeping better and staying motivated so it’s a lot more than just another cookery book. Wicks’ ethos is about staying fit and energetic and is aimed at everyone, not just people who might be thinking about improving their diet.
There has been some criticism that the recipes are too meat-heavy, but vegetarian alternatives are offered for some of the dishes.
2. Best book about health and exercise: No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness by Michelle Segar
Price: From £9.99 | Buy now from Amazon
Exercising isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and it’s normal for motivation levels to ebb and flow. Michelle Segar has looked at the science behind this and created a four-point plan to make getting fit easier and more fun.
While this book might go into quite a bit of detail about the psychology of behaviour change, it’s not just written for professionals. Segar has included inspiring stories about how to maintain motivation and find the right type of exercise to suit you as an individual.
3. Best health and fitness book for women: Stronger by Poorna Bell
Price: From £5.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“Just watched Lorraine on TV and Ranvir interviewed Poorna Bell [about her] book Stronger. Poorna has just said something beautiful about girls/women and feeling strong in their bodies. I think girls need books like this - women need books that empower them.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Dancingtomusic)
Poorna Bell’s book explores both physical and mental strength as well as empowerment. She describes how she took up weightlifting after the sudden death of her husband and examines how we can all tap into our inner strength regardless of age, background or ability.
Stronger is described as part-memoir, part-manifesto as Bell challenges the notions of strength taught to women when they are girls, showing that you don’t have to have amazing sporting prowess to be strong and successful.
4. Best health book about running: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Price: From £4.74 | Buy now from Amazon
“Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I had no interest in running at the time but it completely hooked me.” (Rated by Mumsnet user NotImpossible)
The secret to happiness really could be in your feet in this popular book about the science and history of running. Starting with the question ‘Why does my foot hurt?’, writer-journalist Christopher McDougall studies the Mexican Tarahumara tribe who run long distances without needing any of the gadgets or kit we’ve become accustomed to nowadays.
McDougall decides to put his own body to the test by challenging himself to the race of a lifetime, journeying to the canyons to complete a 50-mile course. He also gives tips on form, diet and fitness for everyone, whether you’re a jog-round-the-block sort of a person or a long-distance enthusiast.
While the book may have proved life-changing for some, it has also left readers frustrated, with some finding the facts misleading and anecdotes exaggerated.
5. Best health and nutrition book: How Not To Die by Michael Greger and Gene Stone
Price: £4 | Buy now from Amazon
“You should read the How Not To Die book. It’s brilliant reading - factual without being boring and a plant-based diet has great case studies on assisting with autoimmune diseases.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user AperolWhore)
In How Not To Die, Michael Greger examines whether there’s a link between some of society’s most common diseases and the food we put into our bodies. His research shows that simple dietary choices can have a huge impact on our health and susceptibility to illness.
He describes which plant-based foods can dramatically reduce the risk of acquiring diseases such as heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer and diabetes or ease the symptoms for patients already diagnosed.
Greger also shares the top 12 foods we should all eat every day in order to stay as healthy as we can be.
6. Best book about health and dieting: The Diet Myth by Professor Tim Spector
Price: From £4.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“Read The Diet Myth by Professor Tim Spector. It helps to clear your mind of all the bull*** we’re collectively fed around food, and helps with understanding why our bodies need certain things for health and function etc. And that includes cheese!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Ofnoteandnightmares)
Most of us have been on a diet, or wanted to change our eating habits, at some point in our lives. Professor Tim Spector has taken a look at why most diets fail and how bodies react differently to the food we eat. He claims this is down to the trillions of microbes inside our guts which are crucial to our overall health. He says the use of antibiotics and consumption of processed foods has led to a deterioration in the benefits of these microbes.
Prof Spector explains his theory by using fascinating facts about how these microbes react to foods such as carbs, proteins and additives. He also uses witty anecdotes along the way to explain why certain diets are destined to fail.
One criticism of this book is that the science has become a little outdated. But The Diet Myth doesn’t claim to give concrete answers. Instead, it offers readers ideas to consider about their personal health and habits.
7. Best health book about weight loss: The Obesity Code by Dr Jason Fung
Price: From £9.49 | Buy now from Amazon
“I read this book and it blew my mind. Why didn't I know about [it] earlier?” (Rated by Mumsnet user smackbangwhollop)
The huge global rise of obesity is the focus of this book, with Dr Jason Fung asking what we can do to reduce the risks to our health. The kidney disease specialist examines whether it’s our metabolism or social environment that contributes to weight gain and poor health.
He claims that controlling your hormones, and in particular your insulin levels, will help you to achieve your weight goals. He also explains how intermittent fasting can break the cycle of insulin resistance and prevent weight gain.
Books about diet and weight loss can be divisive so it’s important to take any advice with a pinch of salt. Always seek professional medical advice if you have concerns about your health.
8. Best book about holistic therapy and self-healing: How To Do The Work by Dr Nicole LePera
Price: From £7.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have recently read it and found it SO revelatory - both in terms of helping me to understand why I react to some things in the way I do, and what is driving other people.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user SimonedeBeauvoirscat)
Calling herself The Holistic Psychologist, clinical psychologist Dr Nicole LePera has created a manifesto for self-care and living a happy and healthy life. She gives people who may have suffered negative experiences or trauma tools to change destructive behaviour and empower themselves. These tools include setting boundaries in your relationships, seeking therapy for trauma and learning how to help your body and mind cope with the effects of trauma.
Dr LePera has a huge Instagram following and some readers have said that much of its content is already available for free on her social media platforms.
9. Best health book about fertility: Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
Price: £18.69 | Buy now from Amazon
“I read a great book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility and found it absolutely brilliant to read and so interesting also.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user 3luckystars)
Whether you’re aiming to increase your fertility or trying not to get pregnant, this book is said to help women gain control over their sexual and gynaecological health. It contains chapters covering topics such as the menstrual cycle, balancing hormones and protecting your future fertility. Toni Weschler also introduces her concept called the Fertility Awareness Method which involves an all-natural approach to birth control and planned pregnancy.
Readers have said that they found this book accessible and easy to read. As well as containing beautiful illustrations, the latest edition also has a 16-page colour insert which reflects the book’s key concepts.
10. Best book about making healthy habits: Atomic Habits by James Clear
Price: From £3.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“Try downloading Atomic Habits by James Clear. It's really good at explaining this and has excellent tips on how to make those good habits stick.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Disfordarkchocolate)
With a number of rave reviews, the premise of Atomic Habits is that small changes to your lifestyle and daily routine can have huge outcomes.
Clear gives actionable examples of small decisions, or ‘atomic habits’, that could make you happier, more productive and more motivated in your day-to-day life. But what seems to make this book such a hit with readers is his clear explanation of the psychology behind why we have ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ habits and how it’s never too late to change our behaviour.
Atomic Habits shows that you don’t have to make huge changes to your life to see positive results.
11. Best book for health in your home: The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well by Meik Wiking
Price: From £5.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I found a copy of this at the book exchange at the GPs - lovely! Not naturally a winter person but very inspired by this.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user VeryFoolishFay)
With Denmark often being named as one of the happiest countries in the world, it might be worth us all taking a leaf out of this book about their strategy for living well. The Collins Dictionary included ‘hygge’ (pronounced hue-gah) for the first time in 2016 and defined it as ‘the practice of creating cosy, congenial environments that promote emotional wellbeing.’
Viewers of the TV show Motherland may also remember the character Amanda’s shop called Hygge Tygge. While Amanda may not have quite got to grips with the real meaning of hygge, Meik Wiking definitely has.
His book includes beautiful photographs, recipes and ideas for how to create an atmosphere in your home that is both calm and comforting. This is a handbook you can dip in and out of and that would also make a great gift for friends and family members who might need some extra joy in their lives.
12. Best book about health and sleep: Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
Price: From £3.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I really enjoyed Matthew Walker's book Why We Sleep.” (Rated by Mumsnet user MerylSqueak)
It’s safe to say that sleep is one of the top topics discussed by Mumsnet users and, of course, that’s because most of us feel like we’re not getting enough of it! Professor Matthew Walker has written a fascinating guide on what sleep is, why it’s important and how we can all get more of those precious zzzs.
He’s studied not only humans but also other animals to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. He examines the impact caffeine and alcohol has on our sleep and how our sleep requirements change as we age, and looks at how a lack of sleep can be linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity and diabetes.
Readers have complained that this book goes into too much detail and some have said it has actually had a negative effect on their sleeping habits. Some argue that the book was so prescriptive that if you couldn’t follow its recommendations then you could end up feeling like a failure or doomed to sleep badly forever.
13. Best health book about breathing: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
Price: From £5.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I read the book Breath by James Nestor and am trying to implement some of those ideas.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user Allthebubbles)
We breathe in and out around 22,000 times a day but how often do you actually stop and think about what you’re doing? James Nestor believes humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly and that this is having a detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing.
He demonstrates that even making small changes to the way we inhale and exhale can rejuvenate our internal organs, help with our fitness and reduce health issues such as stress, snoring, allergies and asthma. He uses studies and ancient practises to back up his argument in this fascinating book which is a blend of both storytelling and facts.
14. Best health book about eating for a longer life: The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 by Dan Buettner
Price: From £11.99 | Buy now from Amazon
Dan Buettner is a longevity guru who has studied the world’s healthiest, oldest and happiest people. His research has taken him to Costa Rica, Greece, Japan, California and Italy where there are the highest proportions of centenarians (people aged 100 and over).
His book delves into why these societies live for so much longer and gathers together 100 delicious recipes to improve the health of those of us not living alongside the age-defying 100-year-olds in his so-called ‘Blue Zones’.
This colourful book includes mouthwatering photos of Buettner’s dishes plus other tips such as what time of day is best to eat and optimum portion sizes. While his recipes aren’t all vegetarian, one of his key recommendations is to eat more plant-based meals.
15. Best health book about skincare: Feed Your Face by Dr Jessica Wu
Price: From £3.99 | Buy now from Amazon
In Feed Your Face Dr Jessica Wu goes beneath the (skin’s) surface to look at the link between our diet and complexion. The ‘dermatologist to the stars’ claims her 28-day nutrition plan will transform your skin from the inside out.
She includes patient testimonials, celebrity anecdotes and tips for separating fact from fiction when it comes to caring for your face.
Criticisms of the book from readers include the fact that a lot of the tips and information aren’t original and that the 28-day diet plan is repetitive and a bit dull.
What is the best health book to buy in 2022?
We think Joe Wicks’ 30 Day Kick Start Plan is the best health book to buy this year. His recipes are simple and easy to follow and he gives tips and advice without being condescending. The inclusion of six workouts is a great complement to the recipes and will help motivate readers to improve their diet and fitness.
Life is busy enough right now so having a daily plan to follow takes the stress out of thinking about healthy meals, so we’re sure you’ll be carrying on the good habits you learn long after the 30 days are up.
Other titles on this list are great for specific issues such as weight loss or better sleep, but we believe Wicks’ book is the best for improving your general health and wellbeing without getting bogged down by science.
How we chose our recommendations
We studied reviews of books about health and wellbeing on the Mumsnet forums to find out which books users had bought and rated highly – and which they weren't impressed by.
We collated all that information and then looked at other consumer reviews to see which were the bestsellers and which received rave reviews after purchase.
We then cross-referenced all that information to find the health books that had won the most accolades and recommendations across the board to come up with our top picks to suit all lifestyles and health goals.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one. We spend hours researching and scrutinising review websites to see which products come out on top after being tested and used by real customers.