If you can believe it, we’ve already reached the midyear mark, and we’re inching ever closer to midsummer as well. We don’t know about you, but this news is daunting given how far we are from reaching our 2016 health and wellness goals (our six-pack is still, like, totally happening though!). While all valid well-being advice generally boils down to three key tips (“eat whole foods,” “exercise regularly” and “get adequate sleep”), we think it might be helpful to put the jumper cables to our enthusiasm by diving deep into some of the buzziest health-related topics of the day. Here, seven must-read tomes if you’re looking for motivation to revisit your summer health goals ASAP.
The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington
In the modern world, sleep is incredibly difficult to prioritize. For many of us, it feels like an indulgence at best and a waste of time at worst. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, learned the hard way just how dangerous this mind-set can be, however, when she fainted from deprivation and broke her cheekbone as a result. In The Sleep Revolution, she explores the newest science behind sleep, explains what's going on in our brains while it's happening, takes on the sleeping-pill industry and provides expert, science-backed tips for optimizing the restorative power of sleep.
Read if: You're one of those people who boasts of only getting four hours of sleep most nights.
The Longevity Book by Cameron Diaz
When Cameron Diaz approached the big 4-0, she found the media attention around her birthday to be both ageist and sexist in nature. Rather than give in to the fear-based mentality our culture imposes on women of a certain age, Diaz decided to take control by researching and writing a book on the science behind aging. The Longevity Book uses science-backed findings to tout anti-aging methods that are holistic in nature and revolve around simple changes in things like diet, sleep and exercise. The book is, as a result, a breath of fresh air in a world constantly telling us to cling desperately to our youth, however unnatural the result.
Read if: Getting older is freaking you out, and the women of The Real Housewives are your current role models.
A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, MD
We're luckier than generations before us in that we know how connected our emotional and physical well-being are, and how nearly everything we experience health-wise is connected to our gut and ultimately to what we eat. After seeing an endless stream of women with the same symptoms of depression and other mood disorders, none of whom were properly taking care of themselves, Dr. Brogan began to realize that she could treat their emotional issues holistically. A Mind Of Your Own delves deep into the science behind what makes our brains tick and how the foods we eat affect its natural processes, and gives an easy-to-follow 30-day program for resetting our bodies and minds.
Read if: You want straightforward diet advice that will help manage your moods while also naturally and effectively improving your appearance and overall quality of life. We also like The Happiness Diet by Tyler Graham and Drew Ramsey, MD, for these purposes.
I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson
Sugar is not good for us, and we're all consuming far too much of it, mostly by way of processed foods. Wilson's book offers easy-to-digest scientific explanations for why sugar is making us sick, easy-to-execute tips for kicking a sugar addiction, sweet (but not sugar-sweetened) recipes and more.
Read if: Your 3pm snack of choice is a cupcake, or if you must eat something sugar-filled after every meal.
Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant
Sometimes it's difficult to trust non-credentialed proponents of non-Western medicine, but Cure author Jo Marchant has a PhD in genetics and microbiology, so her findings are actually backed by the scientific method. In her book, she explores the validated effects of meditation on disorders like depression and dementia, cites fascinating studies on the beneficial effects of a placebo (as they've been witnessed in fake surgeries) and outlines simple steps for rewiring our brains to improve our physical health.
Read if: You're interested in the science behind the mind-body connection.
Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell
Campbell also wrote The China Study, which revolutionized the way many people think about what they eat and gave a lot of compelling evidence in favor of plant-based diets. His newer effort expands on the science behind the whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet, while offering insight into the ways in which both government and industry prevent widespread diet transformation despite overwhelming evidence of its benefit.
Read if: You think facts like this will help you reach for whole foods over processed: "The vitamin C–like activity from 100 grams of whole apple was an astounding 263 times as potent as the same amount of the isolated chemical."
The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids by Ruby Roth
Hear us out on this one—not all of us are super into plant-based meals, so we figure it makes sense to mine what's being marketed to children, who are notoriously picky. The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids includes recipes such as "Party in a Cup" and "Puff Love Mochi," both of which sound a lot more exciting to us than a bowl of berries or some carrot sticks. We also think the book's brightly colored water recipes (which add things like beets, lemons and strawberries to everyday H20) are genius concoctions worthy of consumption at any age.
Read if: Even disguising your veggies the adult way doesn't work in terms of upping your daily whole-food intake.