18 Of Our Favorite Health And Science Books And Podcasts: Topics From Mindless Eating To Memory Loss

The writers at Medical Daily have read books on everything from infectious disease breakthroughs to the evolution of the human diet. All this research has given us a library's worth of books to reference for our readers. Each of us have selected a roundup of our favorite books and podcasts that shine a light on the topics we focus our research on each day.

Read up, and enjoy our collection of non-fiction favorites!

MD’s Top Book Picks:

1.  The Body Keeps the Score  by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

Recommended by: Kelly Rush

This trauma expert has spent over 30 years working with survivors and their families to help them navigate the difficult aftermath of military combat, molestation, growing up with alcoholics, and domestic violence. van der Kolk shows how to reactivate areas of the brain responsible for pleasure, engagement, control, and trust to help survivors live a healthier, reclaimed life.

2.  In Defense of Food  by Michael Pollan

Recommended by: Dana Dovey

America has become transfixed on diets and the new health hack, but we’re unhealthier than we’ve ever been. Pollan shows readers how diet should be a product of nature and not science by helping to integrate more nutrients and less confusion. With western society’s obesity crisis in full swing, learning how to eat by making better food choices will improve life while lowering the rates of disease.

3. The Memory Illusion  by Dr. Julie Shaw

Recommended by: Ed Cara

Memory is a key and central part of our lives, making it imperative to understand what is real and what is not. Dr. Shaw goes over examples of people with false memories and other times the brain betrays itself, and forces the reader to reevaluate how they identify themselves.

4. The Female Brain  by Dr. Louann Brizendine

Recommended by: Lizette Borreli

Go inside and explore the female mind with neurology expert Dr. Brizendine to better understand how women think and communicate, what they value, and who they love.  By using scientific research, readers will learn about the unique body, brain, and behavior connection women have and how it has remained perplexing to both genders throughout history.

5.  Mindless Eating  by Brian Wansink

Recommended by: Samantha Olson

Have you ever wondered why you’re hungrier in your living room or how the dim lights make you want to keep going back for another bite of chocolate cake at the end of a restaurant meal? Food psychologist Brian Wansink will show readers how the size of your plate can influence your appetite and what will happen to your portion control when you eat with close friends. Learn how to trick the brain into eating less by avoiding food cues, effortlessly.

6.  Retox  by Lauren Imparato

Recommended by: Kelsey Drain

For the stressed out reader with hopes of fighting back pains, headaches, hangovers, and sleep depression, health expert Lauren Imparato turns yoga into an efficient discipline based on Tibetan philosophy. Her one-two punch with psychology and nutrition gives the readers a meditation overhaul for those looking for a comprehensive health and wellness strategy.

7.   Infested  by Brooke Borel

Recommended by: Ed Cara

Bed bugs are two words that can make any traveler or apartment renter nervous, especially in cities. They hide in nooks and crannies and have become a prevalent problem throughout the world, but how did their omnipresence come to be over the last 50 years? Borel explores how infestations and insect behaviors impact human lives and flourish through global travel.

8.  Brain on Fire  by Susannah Cahalan

Recommended by: Samantha Olson

After a 24-year-old journalist wakes up in a hospital room strapped to her bed, she discovers an unrecognized version of herself, including psychosis, violence, and seizures. Manhattan’s best neurologists work tirelessly to figure out her sudden and mysterious brain disorder. With limited time, experts, along with her family member, work to get her back to her old self before she’s condemned to a psychiatric ward and a lifetime of institutionalization.

9.  The Language Instinct  by Steven Pinker

Recommended by: Dana Dovey

Language is an ingrained communication tool invented by humans, but how do children at such young ages learn to use it? Words shape our mind, rewiring the way in which we process and relay information. Pinker speaks with world-renowned language experts to explore the innards of our written and verbal communication, how it all began and how it has evolved today.

10.   What Do Women Want?  by Daniel Bergner

Recommended by: Lizette Borreli

Are women the less monogamous gender, or is it men? Who is the aggressor in bed and what do multiple partners mean for society? Bergner dives deep into the latest scientific research on female lust, triggers, fantasies, the body-mind connection, and what goes awry when a woman loses desire. While sex is one of the most intriguing evolutionary topics to explore, it is rife with myths, which is what Bergner’s research hopes to debunk.

11.  Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA  by Mary McKenna

Recommended by: Ed Cara

MRSA is one of the most resilient pathogens lurking everywhere – in hospitals, schools, farms, and even our homes. McKenna takes readers through the story of its beginnings, how it spreads, and the true danger it poses to the world currently and in the future. By looking into the lives of MRSA victims, how it overtakes the body of healthy children within hours, McKenna reveals the deplorable devastation one superbug can unleash on humanity.

12.   Amazing Grace  by Jonathan Kozol

Recommended by: Samantha Olson

South Bronx is the poorest urban neighborhood in the United States, which is exactly why education expert Kozol immerses himself into a world of overcrowded schools; dysfunctional hospitals; rat-infested homes; and families with generations of depression, anxiety, drug-related violence, and AIDS. But in the midst of what seems to be a ravaged community, Kozol introduces us to the children and all of their courage, despite their tumultuous environment. 

Medical Daily's Books Science and health book recommendations, collected by the writers at Medical Daily. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

MD’s Top Podcast Picks:

13.  Science Friday

Recommended by: Ed Cara

Every Friday, NPR hosts explore news and entertainment stories with a science and health lens. The non-profit organization’s goals for the long-standing podcast is to increase the public’s access to science and educational resources to seamlessly teach with intrigue. What’s the link between art and neuroscience? How will robots impact our lives in the future? And will we ever be able to clone a woolly mammoth?

14. 10% Happier with Dan Harris

Recommended by: Kelsey Drain

Have you ever wanted to learn how to meditate but don’t have the time or patience to read a book? After ABC newsman Dan Harris had a panic attack live on Good Morning America, he began a journey into meditation and it changed his life around for the better enough to make him want to write a book, then start a podcast all about how to balance ambition with a calm demeanor.

15.  Only Human

Recommended by: Samantha Olson

Host Mary Harris brings listeners health and science experts on topics that affect our lives and what makes us human. Whether she’s interviewing a doctor addicted to painkillers, women suffering from depression or bipolar disorder, parents whose son wants to be their daughter instead, and a wide range of humans, they’re stories we can all relate to because it’s what makes us all one and the same.

16.  Memory and Forgetting

Recommended by: Kelly Rush

Science writers at Radiolab explore the world of memories - both how they’re made and how they’re lost and forgotten. Guests, including Oliver Sacks, discuss their memory loss while experts, such as neuroscientist Joe LeDoux, shine some light into the brain’s memory systems by reviewing studies and recent research.

17.  No Meat Athlete Radio

Recommended by: Kelsey Drain

For the physically active individual who wants to boost their energy levels, boost performance and weight loss, while reducing their impact on the planet – this podcast was made for you. Incorporating a plant-based diet that provides enough energy to stay active can be easy, especially when listening to some of the best endurance athletes in the world and hear how they fuel up for a workout.

18. TED Radio Hour

Recommended by: Samantha Olson

NPR host Guy Raz takes listeners through a journey of science, health, technology, and innovative ideas. Raz interviews dynamic TED speakers as they discuss a specific topic. Excerpts from the original TEDTalks are woven throughout the podcast to give listeners a taste for the talk and insight into the speaker’s new ways of thinking.  

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