One of the many great things about Netflix (other than Sacred Games) is that just with a little digging around, you can find extraordinary documentaries that you would never know about without us. Following is the list of health documentaries from all over the world that may change the way you think about food, medicine, and disease from the last decade. The ranking is in NO order of preference:
Period. End of Sentence (2018): The Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Short in February, 2019 – this documentary is about how women in a small town in India were stigmatized for the normal, healthy act of getting their period, while how a group of American high school students raised money to send them a sanitary-pad-making machine that changed their lives. Film Companion describes it as the same story as Akshay Kumar’s Padman, but from the lens of those, it should have been told: the women.
The Magic Pill (2017): This 89 min documentary directed by Robert Tate talks about the doctors, farmers, chefs and others who weigh in on the controversial ketogenic diet and its huge potential to eradicate common illness. It shows the importance of fat and how it should be embraced as a source of fuel. It raises a question for the people who followed the dietary guidelines as they were told – what to reduce and what to increase in their diet, but it did not change the statistics of heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
The C Word (2016): With the narration from the legendary Morgan Freeman comes a documentary about cancer. It has two narratives: one from Dr. David Servan-Schreiber who is a celebrated French neuroscientist and cancer revolutionary, and the other from film’s director, Meghan L. O’Hara. After successfully recovering from cancer their journey from diagnosis to wellness. Meghan and David join forces to expose systemic failings in our society, which reinforce the bad habits that predispose us to disease and also to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Forks Over Knives (2011): According to the research of two food scientists, the popularity of processed foods has led to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases. There is no doubt that the documentary has a bias towards a vegan diet, and they do seem to leave out facts for that very same reason. But, it follows experts as well as regular people who have transformed their health by eliminating animal products and byproducts.
Heal (2017): It has stories from spiritual leaders, physicians and those with chronic illness. They reveal the powerful connection between the human psyche and physical health. It has big names such as Dr Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson. This documentary would remind you of how amazing impact our inner thoughts, beliefs, and emotions truly have over our health.
Embrace (2016): It is a social impact documentary, which explores the issue of body image. It follows body image activist Taryn Brumfitt’s journey as she explores the global issue of body shaming, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies. The inspiration for ‘Embrace’ came about after the actor and director herself had posted an unconventional before-and-after image on the internet in 2013 which sparked the media frenzy. The image, which embraces body diversity, was seen by over 100 million people worldwide and led to hundreds of interviews and articles including this passion project.