While binge-watching Netflix might not be the healthiest thing to do, these must-watch health documentaries offer some much-needed perspective, including everything from making better food choices to thought-provoking conversations about vulnerability, and the healing power of the mind. Ahead, we've collected 20 health documentaries to watch on Netflix right now—they'll challenge you to rethink what it means to be well today.
Here are our picks for the best health documentaries on Netflix.
In Defense of Food (2015)
Based on the book by journalist Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food delves into the effects Western-influenced diets have had on the health of the world. Pollan makes the case for eating more plants, and meat, in moderation.
Producer Leonardo DiCaprio's must-watch documentary Cowspiracy explores the viable solutions for increasing the sustainability of our food sources. It's shocking, humorous, and eye-opening.
Rotten, a six-part documentary series, uncovers the corruption, fraud, and waste behind the food industry. It's a must-watch, even if it is hard to watch.
What The Health (2017)
As one of 2017's most talked-about documentaries, What the Health delves into the topic of how to prevent chronic diseases by avoiding meat and processed foods. With billions of dollars on the line in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries, these truths are challenging some of the industry's top organizations.
Food, Inc (2009)
This academy award–nominated documentary lifts the veil on America's corporate-controlled food industry. You'll think twice about anything you eat that's grown, produced, or manufactured in the U.S after watching Food, Inc.
Forks Over Knives (2011)
In Forks Over Knives, researchers make the compelling argument that a plant-based diet can help control or, in some cases, even reverse many of the degenerative diseases on the rise today. This documentary take a hard look at our animal-forward and processed foods diet.
Ask the Doctor (2017)
This informative documentary hosted by three friendly doctors investigates health myths and puts new treatments to the test. Ask the Doctor is essentially a more reliable version of WebMD come to life.
Period. End of Sentence. (2018)
The 26-minute documentary short illuminates the stigma of menstruation in rural India. Period. End of Sentence follows a community of women making sanitary pads on a new machine that, along with female hygiene, helps create financial independence.
Sustainable highlights the economic and environmental casualties of Big Agriculture and the people working to feed generations to come, responsibly. Chef Rick Bayless, farmers, and others look at history to discuss how the sustainable food movement came to be.
Take Your Pills (2018)
How high is too high a price to pay for peak performance? Take Your Pills explores.
Vox Media and Netflix pair up for a docuseries about a range of topics, including why diets fail, the world's water crisis, and how to extend the human lifespan. Watch Explained to bolster your health knowledge in an accessible format.
Brené Brown: The Call to Courage (2019)
Vulnerability researcher Brené Brown (of that TED Talk) walks us through the invisible forces rooted in our sense of self—shame, scarcity, and the role bravery can play in living a happier, more fulfilling life. Watch Brené Brown: The Call to Courage to learn what it means to live wholehearted.
This documentary shadows three women battling the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. Follow along an emotional journey in Heroin(e).
Unrest is a real-life portrait of what happens when modern medicine doesn't (or have tools to) believe your story. Jennifer, a young PhD student, travels through many Skype interviews by way of her bed, which her illness has confined her to, in search of answers to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
Sex & Love Around The World (2018)
Journalist Christiane Amanpour visits six cities to learn how cultures around the globe (including Tokyo, Beirut, and Accra) celebrate love, intimacy, and sex. Sex & Love Around The World offers multiple perspectives that will challenge viewers to reframe their own approach to desire.
The Bleeding Edge (2018)
The rush toward innovation comes with human casualties. The Bleeding Edge dives head first into the more sinister side of modern medicine's technological advancements.