The 20 Best Health Documentaries on Netflix to Watch Right Now

Updated 11/13/19

 

skynesher/Getty Images 

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.

01 of 20

The Magic Pill (2018)

The Magic Pill
Gravitas Ventures

In The Magic Pill, doctors, scientists, and chefs weigh in on one of 2018's most popular food trends: The ketogenic diet. Can the low-carb, high-fat diet really combat dietary related health problems?

Available on: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Vudu

02 of 20

In Defense of Food (2015)

In Defense of Food

 PBS

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.

03 of 20

Cowspiracy (2014)

Cowspiracy

Netflix 

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.

Available on: Netflix

04 of 20

Rotten (2018)

Rotten

 Netflix

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.

Available on: Netflix

05 of 20

What The Health (2017)

What the Health

 Netflix

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.

Available on: Google Play, Netflix, Vimeo, YouTube

06 of 20

Food, Inc (2009)

Food, Inc

 Magnolia Pictures

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.

07 of 20

Forks Over Knives (2011)

Forks Over Knives

Monica Beach Media

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.

08 of 20

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.

Available on: Netflix

09 of 20

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

10 of 20

Sustainable (2017)

Sustainable documentary movie poster

 Passion River Films

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.

11 of 20

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.

Available on: Netflix

12 of 20

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. Watch Explained to bolster your health knowledge in an accessible format.

Available on: Netflix

13 of 20

Brené Brown: The Call to Courage (2019)

Brené Brown: The Call to Courage

BreneBrown.com 

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.

Available on: Netflix

14 of 20

Heroin(e) (2017)

Heroin(e) documentary movie poster

 Netflix

This documentary shadows three women battling the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. Follow along an emotional journey in Heroin(e).

Available on: Netflix

15 of 20

Icarus (2017)

Icarus documentary movie poster

 Netflix

What began as a performance-enhancing experiment for a filmmaker/avid cyclist, and a Russian scientist became a watershed moment at the highest levels of international sports. Watch Icarus for the rise and fall of Russia's state-sponsored Olympic doping program.

Available on: Netflix

16 of 20

Unrest (2017)

Unrest documentary movie poster

 Jason Frank Rothenberg

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).

17 of 20

Heal (2017)

Heal documentary movie poster

The Orchard

Science and spirituality converge in a documentary that explores whether a prescription for a medical diagnosis might (or, should?) include a 'mind over matter' approach. Those interested in holistic health should watch Heal.

18 of 20

Sex & Love Around The World (2018)

Sex & Love Around The World documentary

Netflix 

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.

Available on: Netflix

19 of 20

The Mayo Clinic (2018)

The Mayo Clinic documentary movie poster

 PBS

A historical look at how one pioneer in Western healthcare has endured as a leader in the space. What can The Mayo Clinic teach us about the future of patient care?

Available on: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix

20 of 20

The Bleeding Edge (2018)

The Bleeding Edge documentary movie poster

 Netflix

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.

Available on: Netflix

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