One of our favorite days here at Health IQ is World Book Day—not just because we promote health literacy, but also because reading is good for your mental health and happiness as well. Did you know reading for just six minutes a day can have a dramatic impact on your stress levels? Or that reading is a great way to help you wind down at night and catch some healthy zzz’s?

To celebrate World Book Day 2019, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for great healthy lifestyle reading. Whether you’re looking for a book to cut through the sometimes conflicting science of nutrition, searching for a way to boost your workout motivation, or interested in an in-depth scientific exploration of why we sleep and how it affects longevity, we’ve got you covered.

Chosen for their strong science, implementable tips, and engaging style, enjoy our editorial staff’s top picks for each of these categories:

1. Athletics – Keelyn Van Breda’s Pick

Our resident professional triathlete offered us her top pick for sports lovers: The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow.

For athletes looking for a great read that can also help boost motivation and inspiration during training, this book by a professional sports psychologist offers a comprehensive look at how to maximize your fitness potential and meet your training and race goals.

Research increasingly suggests that mental toughness is a huge factor for endurance athletes in particular, and this book is an invaluable tool to boosting this sometimes elusive skill.

This book also discusses the best ways to do pre and post-race analyses, how to visualize success, and how to receive appropriate support from coaches.

2. Sleep – Zack Jenkins’s Pick

As someone who has always sought out the best information on healthy habits stellar for mental as well as physical health, our marketing manager recommends Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Dr. Matthew Walker. As headlines about the often-overlooked relationship between sleep and longevity sweep the world of health news, this book provides a fantastic summary of how all the research comes together with plenty of implementable tips.

Written by the director of the sleep research lab at UC Berkeley, this book explores the ways that sleeping affects health. It also goes into fascinating detail about the breakthrough findings on the science of dreams and their relationship to mental and emotional health.

The author considers lack of sleep to be the most overlooked health epidemic in the United States, and offers compelling evidence for his case as well as practical tips for how to increase the quality of both REM and N-REM sleep—critical sleep phases necessary for different aspects of healthy functioning.

3. Healthy Living – Heather Robinson’s Pick

Our writing team’s healthy lifestyle recommendation for World Book Day is Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere.

Written from the perspective of a son who watched his mother develop dementia in her 60s, this book explores the relationship between food and dementia, but also delves into the science of boosting cognition through food in general and even into the science of weight loss through eating unprocessed foods.

People wondering about the benefits of a low-carb diet—and some great tips for how to implement one—will be especially interested in this book, which goes into detail about the science on how various low-carb diets affect brain health and weight loss.

4. Fitness – Jeanette Darrouzet-Nardi’s Pick

For people who are interested in getting fit but have had repeated struggles with sticking to a routine, our writing team recommends The Little Black Book Of Workout Motivation by Michael Matthews. This book offers clear and direct advice for forming healthy habits, backed by science from the psychology and fitness worlds.

It includes anecdotes about people who went from wrestling with weight loss to becoming regular runners and bodybuilders as well as workbook activities to help with the practicalities of starting a new routine. The book is full of explanations of the science of motivation that can help bust training plateaus.

Part self-help motivation and part practical workout tips, this is a great book for anyone who is trying to change patterns of procrastination, fear of failure, and getting into motion to get healthier.

5. Nutrition – Zack Flatto’s Pick

Our team’s World Book Day recommendation for the best recent book about nutrition is Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Dr. Catherine Shanahan. This science-based but engaging read explores the relationship between natural foods humans are evolved to eat and why our modern-day diets may not be designed to help our bodies thrive into old age.

As someone who wanted to understand the constantly shifting landscape of nutritional advice, Zack loved that this book is full of simple tips that cut through the latest diet crazes to get the heart of what a healthy diet looks like, as well as concise explanations for why traditional foods are the best ones to eat.
These World Book Day 2019 picks make for great summer reading for healthy lifestyle lovers and just might inspire a better diet or motivate a more ambitious workout plan. With so much in the news about how longevity is linked to happiness as well as healthy lifestyle choices, it only makes sense to boost your health literacy with a relaxing afternoon reading up on the latest cutting-edge health insights For even more science-backed tips for living a happier life, check out our featured blog post on happiness hacks for a healthier life.