Bone Broth: Health Elixir or Not?

Do you keep a big pot of bone broth or stock simmering on your stove top?  Do you fill your kitchen with the enchanting aroma of broth or chicken soup?

Sounds good, right?

A cup of hot broth provides a good “warmth factor.”  Bone broth keeps you amply hydrated and well nourished, when prepared through simple old-school, traditional cooking methods (as in real foods).  Bone broth consists of many valuable minerals and a hefty dose of high-quality protein due to its rich amino acid profile.

Here are some additional benefit claims associated with drinking this “mineral-rich health elixir”:

  1. Good for gut health.  Two key components of bone broth help heal and protect the lining of the digestive tract.  These components are protein-rich gelatin (“cooked collagen”) and glutamine, an important amino acid.  A healthy, well-protected mucosal lining aids in the body’s absorption of key nutrients.
  2. Boosts immunity.  Much of our immune system is intimately linked to the health of our gut.  Therefore, if the gut is healthy, our immune system is stronger.
  3. Did you know that chicken soup provides a boosting effect to our white blood cells (our infection-fighters)?  It stimulates antioxidant activity in the body, namely the action of glutathione, considered a “master antioxidant.”

Better joint health, increased bone density and healthier hair, skin AND nails!

  1. The glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in broth can stimulate new collagen growth to help repair damaged joints.  An anti-inflammatory effect is the result of an abundance of the pro-cartilage amino acids glycine and proline.  This is good news for arthritis sufferers.

(Did you know that collagen makes up HALF of the protein in our bodies?!)

  1. Minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus (that are leached out of the animal bones) are readily absorbed by the body providing increased bioavailability and are critical to bone growth and repair.
  2. Bone broth offers plenty of hyaluronic acid (a powerful humectant) and gelatin (aka “cooked collagen”).  Both are key players in promoting less wrinkled skin, shiny hair and strong nails.
  3. Promotes relaxation and sleep.  Try a cup of broth before bed as both magnesium and glycine can have a very calming effect, promoting muscle relaxation and deeper, more restorative sleep.
  4. Think of bone broth as a more affordable whole food supplement.  It’s easier to afford a daily cup of broth instead of taking handfuls of expensive supplements and protein powders.

So is bone broth all it’s cracked up to be?

If you’re looking for a healthy food trend, here are some things to remember:

Bone broth is not a cure-all.  It’s not going to help you lose weight or protect you from inflammation, for example.  More research is needed to back up these claims.

A lot depends on how bone broth is made.  For one thing, research the source of the animal bones used (not always easy to do), and try to use pasture-raised and organic sources.

There is research that backs up positive health claims from drinking chicken soup.  So you may want to drink that and steer clear of using beef, lamb or pork bones.  It’s purported that in some cases, there may be a higher concentration of lead contamination in these meats.

If you try bone broth, consider limiting your consumption to once or twice a week.

Not all bone broths are created equal in terms of natural gut healing ability and all the other benefits we’ve mentioned.  Store-bought Tetra Pak broths are made in such a way that they do not contain the same nutrients that we discussed earlier.  Often, they contain loads of salt, fillers and MSG (usually labeled as yeast extract).

Personally, I don’t eat meat.  My suggestion is do some research.  Drinking bone broth is a current health trend.  Read more about both the pros and cons of drinking it.  Form your own opinion, then please let us know your thoughts about drinking it and what you think of the potential benefits or negatives, associated with this broth.  As always, we love to hear from you!

Categories: Blog, Food, and Nutrition.

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