The 15 Best Health Documentaries on Netflix to Watch Right Now

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While binge-watching Netflix might not be the healthiest thing to do, these must-watch health documentaries offer some perspective. Whether you're interested in making better food choices, looking for thought-provoking conversations about vulnerability, or learning about the healing power of the mind, these titles will challenge you to rethink what it means to be well. So, naturally, we've collected the best of Netflix's health documentaries to add to your watchlist today.

Below, dive into health on Netflix and learn how to take care of your body and mind with 15 of our favorite picks.

01 of 15

The Mind, Explained (2019)

The Mind, Explained

Netflix

Even in the trailer for this series, you'll be captivated: It begins by telling us that about 50 percent of the details in our memories change within a year, despite us still believing them to be 100 percent true. From memory to mental health, The Mind, Explained will dive deep into your brain to teach you how it really works. Watch this documentary series when you're looking for productive ways to understand your mind and help its natural processes work in favor of your health.

Available on: Netflix

02 of 15

Cowspiracy (2014)

Cowspiracy

Netflix 

Producer Leonardo DiCaprio's must-watch documentary Cowspiracy explores the viable solutions for increasing the sustainability of our food sources. The film covers the effects of factory farming on the planet, as well as environmentalists' responses to the issue. It's shocking, humorous, and eye-opening.

Available on: Netflix

03 of 15

Rotten (2018)

Rotten

Netflix

Rotten, a six-part food documentary series, uncovers the corruption, fraud, and waste behind the food industry. It's a must-watch, even if it is hard to watch. From the same film company behind Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown, you'll get an intimate look at where our food comes from based on science and facts.

Available on: Netflix

04 of 15

What the Health (2017)

What the Health

Netflix

As one of 2017's most talked-about documentaries (and a hotly-debated film, nonetheless), What the Health delves into the topic of preventing 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.

Available on: Netflix

05 of 15

(Un)Well (2020)

(Un)Well

Netflix

Holistic medicines and wellness treatments have long been an interest in the U.S., but which of these practices are beneficial—and are some actually detrimental? Essential oils, trendy diets, and various supplements only scratch the surface of this trillion-dollar industry. Explore the effects of the most common wellness treatments in modern society and decide for yourself.

Available on: Netflix

06 of 15

Ask the Doctor (2017)

Ask the Doctor

Netflix

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. Whether you're looking to learn about common conditions like allergies and trouble sleeping—or even more serious diagnoses—this series approaches medical issues from a scientific, and helpful, point of view.

Available on: Netflix

07 of 15

Period. End of Sentence. (2018)

Period. End of Sentence documentary movie poster

Netflix

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.

Available on: Netflix

08 of 15

Take Your Pills (2018)

Take Your Pills documentary movie poster

Netflix

How high is too high a price to pay for peak performance? Take Your Pills explores Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), a condition that Americans have become increasingly aware of in recent decades, but this documentary discusses how the medications used to treat it (particularly Adderall) can cause depression, cardiovascular risks, and even symptoms of psychosis.

Available on: Netflix

09 of 15

Explained (2018)

Explained docuseries

Netflix

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. When you want to bolster your health knowledge in an accessible format, Explained is the perfect place to start.

Available on: Netflix

10 of 15

Brené Brown: The Call to Courage (2019)

Brené Brown: The Call to Courage

Netflix

Vulnerability researcher Brené Brown (of The Power of Vulnerability 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 wholeheartedly.

Available on: Netflix

11 of 15

Heroin(e) (2017)

Heroin(e) documentary movie poster

Netflix

It's no secret that pharmaceutical companies have impacted the lives of Appalachians and rural Americans in a major way—and the opioid crisis continues to devastate families across the nation. Heroin(e) takes a deeper look into the daily life of three women (a fire chief, a judge, and a street missionary) battling the issue in their West Virginia community, often regarded as the center of the epidemic. This emotional journey will connect you with the crisis at its core and enlighten you to the struggles faced by residents.

Available on: Netflix

12 of 15

Icarus (2017)

Icarus documentary movie poster

Netflix

What began as a performance-enhancing experiment for a filmmaker/avid cyclist and a Russian scientist ended up becoming a watershed moment at the highest levels of international sports. Watch Icarus for a close-up look at the rise and fall of Russia's state-sponsored Olympic doping program. In a twist just as interesting as the film's premise, you'll also get a peek into the world of being a whistleblower on a national scale.

Available on: Netflix

13 of 15

The Bleeding Edge (2018)

The Bleeding Edge documentary movie poster

Netflix

The rush toward innovation comes with human casualties. The Bleeding Edge dives headfirst into the more sinister side of modern medicine's technological advancements. Since medical devices are so common in American society, you likely have a friend or family member who's had experience with them—like a standard hip replacement surgery, for example. But what happens when things go wrong? This documentary explores the unfortunate events that take place when money is prioritized over patient safety.

Available on: Netflix

14 of 15

The Truth About Alcohol (2016)

The Truth About Alcohol

Netflix

What happens inside our bodies when we drink alcohol? Learn the chemical processes that take place after indulging in your favorite drink, explained by real doctors working in the emergency room. If you've ever wondered whether a glass of red wine in the evening is really good for your heart, give this documentary a watch to learn the answers to all your questions and more. While a few statistics in the film may be disheartening if you enjoy vising the brewery or sipping a glass of whiskey from time to time, overall, you'll be pleased to learn how different types of alcohol affect your body—and drink happier (and healthier) because of it.

Available on: Netflix

15 of 15

Unrest (2017)

Unrest documentary movie poster

Jason Frank Rothenberg

Unrest is a real-life portrait of what happens when modern medicine doesn't believe your story (or doesn't have the tools to do so). Jennifer, a young Ph.D. student, travels through many Skype interviews by way of her bed, to which she is confined by her illness, in search of answers to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)—also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Available on: Netflix

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