21 Must-Read Health & Nutrition Books for 2021

Want to invest in your health and wellness? This master-list of 21 books has something for everyone. If you want to adopt a traditional diet, learn to ferment, figure out how to finally exercise consistently, and more, we’ve got a book for you.

New Releases

These books were published in the last year and offer fresh takes on classic nutrition issues and modern food dilemmas.

Paleo Fitness by Darryl Edwards with Brett Stewart & Jason Warner

Don’t get stuck in the idea that exercise has to be repetitive or boring. Darryl Edwards makes the case that movement should be natural and fun — a normal part of life just like it was for our Paleolithic ancestors. This guide will walk you through the process of rethinking fitness and how to make it a natural part of your life. (Bonus: Read our journal interview with Darryl Edwards for an insider’s look at his process.)

Food Fix by Mark Hyman

The food that we eat isn’t just about personal nutrition — it also plays a massive role in the health of the environment and planet as a whole. Mark Hyman, MD explains that many food and agriculture policies are corrupt and do not have a greater good in mind — for humans or the earth. The only way this will change is if we revitalize the way that we view the food system and personal nutrition as relates to the planet. This book is an eye-opening must-read.

Sacred Cow by Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf

“Beef is killing the planet.” This is a myth that is perpetrated by many in the agricultural industry. Yet evidence says otherwise, and Diana Rodgers, RD, and Robb Wolf together do a masterful job showing that there are solutions. With better diets, caring for animals in ethical ways, and promoting a healthier planet we can combat climate change and end animal mistreatment.

Regenerate by Sayer Ji

A new primer for health at a genetic level, Regenerate presents a complete guide for harnessing the power of epigenetics to prevent, fight, and reverse disease. Sayer Ji (founder of GreenMedInfo) makes the case that you’re not a slave to your genes. You can actually rewrite how they behave based on dietary and lifestyle changes. This is especially relevant for anyone worried about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or other chronic illness.

Wild Remedies by Rosalee de la Forêt & Emily Han

The earth is a potent source of natural medicine. Herbalists Rosalee de la Forêt and Emily Han walk you through how to use more than 20 natural herbs and plants and even how to grow or forage for them. In a time when health is more prized than ever, look to the earth for some of nature’s finest remedies. (Bonus: Read our interview with Rosalee de la Forêt on herbal medicine for viral infections.)

Dirty Genes by Ben Lynch

Recently re-released in paperback, Dirty Genes is a guide for understanding epigenetics and how the world around you and your diet can literally make or break your health. You’re not at the mercy of “bad genes,” you just need to know how to clean them up when they get dirty. A master of epigenetics and nutrigenomics, Ben Lynch, ND has written an easy-to-understand guide to a complicated and essential health topic.

Oldies-But-Goodies: Nutrition and Dietary Basics

While these books have been out for a few years or longer, they remain essential reading for anyone interested in nutrition, natural wellness, or optimizing health.

Primal Fat Burner by Nora Gedgaudas

If you want the benefits of a primal diet and the fat-for-fuel approach of a ketogenic diet, Nora Gedgaudas, a board-certified nutritionist and primal expert combines them in this practical, accessible book. With humor and clear writing that won’t leave you feeling confused, Primal Fat Burner will give you everything you need — including meal plans and recipes — to change your dietary life. (Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, FNTP, BCHN serves as a board member of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation).

The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain

While this book is 10 years old, it remains a staple for anyone who wants to understand the concept of the Paleolithic approach to eating. One of Dr. Cordain’s foundational principles is following the 85/15 principle, which allows for some leeway and lenience as you transform your modern diet to an ancestrally based one.

Why Stomach Acid Is Good for You by Jonathan V. Wright & Lane Lenard

Modern society is all about quick fixes to problems. This is reflected in our obsession with antacids and heartburn relief. But addressing and preventing acid reflux is done by supporting more stomach acid, not less. By optimizing your diet and how your body digests food, you’ll solve the chronic problem of heartburn. (Jonathan V. Wright, MD is an honorary board member of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.)

Paleo Principles by Sarah Ballantyne

This is a masterful guiding work for a Paleo diet. Whether you want to understand the science behind ancestral eating or how it could benefit your health, or you want access to recipes and done-for-you meal plans, this book has what you need. Known as The Paleo Mom in the ancestral community, Sarah Ballantyne, PhD is an expert communicator and apologist for the grain-free, dairy-free modern lifestyle.

The Everything Guide to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Aimee McNew

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month, and sadly, thyroid disease impacts more than 14 million Americans. Hashimoto’s is the most common autoimmune disorder in the world. This book returns to the basics of a whole-foods diet rooted in ancient principles and provides a real-life plan for how to transform your lifestyle into one of healing. Written by a nutritionist, it includes 200 recipes and several meal plans to simplify your daily routine. (Aimee McNew, MNT is a staff member of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.)

How to Eat and Cook

Whether you are learning to cook for the first time or are a seasoned pro, these cookbooks and recipe guides will next-level your nutrition.

Local Dirt by Andrea Bemis

This cookbook focuses on the beauty and value of local, seasonal eating. If you’re interested in living like our ancestors, where foods were eaten fresh from the harvest and everyone had intimate knowledge of just where their food came from, this guide is for you. Even if the concept of seasonal eating seems complex or impossible to finagle in your own life, it’s an excellent read to get you thinking about ways that you can benefit from eating foods that are harvested in season.

The Whole Smiths Real Food Everyday by Michelle Smith

Regardless of the type of diet you follow (Paleo, primal, gluten-free, and others), this cookbook has recipes for you. Broken down by type of recipe, including convenient and delicious ways to make use of leftovers, this book is a perfect fresh infusion of recipe ideas for any time of year.

Slow Cooked Paleo by Bailey Fischer

If one of your biggest hurdles to eating a whole foods, nutrient-dense lifestyle is that you don’t have time to cook, this cookbook is here to save the day. With 75 recipes designed for your slow cooker, you can fix it and forget it, and your mouthwatering meals will be ready to eat when you are.

The Primal Gourmet by Ronny Joseph Lvovski

Whether you’re doing a Whole30 or not, this recipe collection is perfect for anyone who wants to eat healthier and consume less sugar, processed foods, and empty calories. Whether you are dairy-free, gluten-free, or have other dietary needs, this recipe collection will catapult your cooking to the next level.

Keto for Life by Mark Sisson

Mark Sisson is one of the long-time leaders in the ancestral foods movement and he’s back with another book, this one detailing the benefits of a ketogenic diet for longevity and health. With everything you need to know about benefits and reasons why, plus recipes, this is your ketogenic one-stop-shop.

The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi & David Zilber

Fermented foods are nature’s probiotics. They support healthy immunity, keep inflammation in check, and promote general wellbeing. But modern society has lost the art and knowledge of fermentation, and these foods have become few and far between on our daily plates. This book is a master’s guide for learning to ferment in every classic way, with 100 recipes and photo illustrations to make sure you get everything just right.

How to Live

Living for health is about more than just food, although as you’ll see, food is an integral part of it. These books cover important health issues, like Alzheimer’s, sustainable eating, and even the important and oft-forgotten oral microbiome.

The End of Alzheimer’s by Dale Bredesen

Alzheimer’s isn’t an inevitability as Dale Bredesen, MD explains in this groundbreaking work. Showing that Alzheimer’s is not just a single disease, but rather a collective metabolic breakdown, Dr. Bredesen outlines a protocol that supports prevention and reversal — proven now with hundreds of patients who’ve gone through the protocol.

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz

In a society that says fat will kill you and that butter and cheese are rich indulgences, learning to embrace the health benefits of fat can be a life-saving endeavor. Journalist Nina Teicholz makes a compelling case for a return to the dietary traditions of our grandparents and to stop fearing the fat.

The Dental Diet by Steven Lin

How do we so easily separate oral health from the rest of our body? This book explores the essential connection that your mouth has to your body’s overall wellness. With information and a meal plan to rebalance your mouth’s microbiome, Dr. Steven Lin, DDS will change your entire perspective about the purpose of your pearly whites. (The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation was named in honor of Weston A. Price, DDS, who also made the vital connection between oral health, diet, and physical wellbeing. For a deep dive into his original, groundbreaking study, read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.)

Vegetarian Myth: Food Justice and Sustainability by Lierre Keith

Too many people believe that if they love the planet, they cannot eat meat. That’s exactly what agricultural monopolies want you to believe. In this part-memoir, part-manifesto, Lierre Keith explores the ways that sustainable farming is actually more planet-friendly than modern, chemically overloaded agriculture. If you want to learn more about the effects that community and respect for the land can have on people and the planet, this is the book to read.

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