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Bone broth is a clear soup made from animal bones still containing connective tissue and some meat. Although it’s simply made by simmering animal bones in water, it’s also available pre-made and packaged in most grocery stores. If you’re not familiar with bone broth it may sound an awful lot like soup stock, and although they’re similar in composition, they’re prepared differently; the differences in preparation give them distinct tastes and nutrient profiles. Bone broth has had a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Despite its origins dating back more than 2,500 years ago, it became trendy in 2015 with the popularity of the Paleo Diet, which is based on eating as it’s likely early humans ate (proteins, fruits, vegetables, and grains). One of the many reasons bone broth has remained in the spotlight despite the Paleo trend being replaced by the Keto trend is because it’s rich in many beneficial nutrients. Read on to learn some of the reasons you should include bone broth in your diet.
Important Note: Each of the health benefits claimed herein is supported by the most current research at the time of this publication.
Loaded With Nutrients
The three main bone components used in making bone broth are the bone itself, bone marrow, and connective tissue; each contains a distinct, powerful nutrient profile. From the bone itself, the broth is infused with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. The bone marrow is a rich source of vitamins A, B2, B12, and E in addition to omega-3 and -6 fatty acids; the marrow is also rich in calcium, selenium, and zinc. Lastly, the connective tissue is full of glucosamine and chondroitin, structural components that are good for joint health. Together, these three components are an abundant source of collagen; when cooked, collagen reduces to gelatin which in turn is packed with amino acids.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Bone broth is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, each of which provides incredible health benefits.
Good for Healthy Digestion
Besides all of the wonderful nutrients you consume in bone broth, one of its greatest benefits is that it’s good for digestive health. Notably, bone broth’s gelatin content helps to bind the digestive tract’s water content; this is important to the free movement of food through the tract. Moreover, in animal studies, gelatin has been shown to protect the digestive tract’s mucosal lining, though human studies are needed on this point. Additionally, an amino acid in gelatin called glutamine is essential to the healthy function of the intestinal wall. Finally, regular consumption of bone broth is associated with a reduced risk for and remediation of the symptoms of gastrointestinal conditions such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. The nutrients in bone broth positively affect many functions of the digestive system.
Packed With Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Two of the most powerful amino acids found in bone broth are glycine and arginine. Both have anti-inflammatory effects, but arginine is exceptionally good for chronic inflammation. It’s so powerful that one animal study concluded that an oral dose of arginine reduced airway inflammation in asthmatic rats. A similar animal study showed oral arginine to be useful in reducing inflammation in subjects with obesity. Management of inflammation is important to reducing your risk for chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and some cancer types. Foods, such as bone broth, that are rich in anti-inflammatory properties are essential to optimal health.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Bone broth is rich in anti-inflammatory properties like glycine and arginine, which reduce a major precursor to some chronic illnesses.
May Improve Joint Health
Some of the nutrients contained in bone broth are beneficial to joint health. Most significantly, collagen, which is found in the bones, tendons, and ligaments, is reduced to gelatin during the cooking process. The resultant gelatin contains important amino acids that are essential to joint health. Specifically, the collagen in bone broth is rich in proline and glycine; these acids are used by your body to build up connective tissue, especially tendons, which connect your muscles to your bones. Furthermore, bone broth is also abundant in glucosamine and chondroitin, natural compounds that reduce joint pain and mitigate symptoms of arthritis.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Several insightful studies conclude that the amino acids in bone broth are beneficial to joint health and soothe symptoms of arthritis.
Supportive of Weight Loss
Bone broth is supportive of weight loss goals because it contains just 31 calories per 1-cup serving as well as 5 grams of protein, only 3 grams of fat, and just over 1 gram of carbohydrates. What’s more, bone broth’s high protein content helps with appetite control and maintaining muscle mass. Furthermore, drinking bone broth, as with other soup broths, is associated with enduring satiety which prevents unnecessary calorie intake throughout the day. Lastly, scientific studies indicate that adequate collagen intake, commensurate with resistance training, increases muscle mass and improves weight loss.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Bone broth’s low calorie and fat content combined with its high protein count make it the perfect addition to your weight-loss diet.
The glycine in bone broth which is derived from its gelatin content is thought to induce relaxation. In fact, several scientific studies have connected glycine to improved sleep. Moreover, research indicates that ingesting 3 grams of glycine before bed improves sleep quality for individuals who typically experience fitful sleep; subjects fell asleep faster and experienced fewer instances of disturbed sleep. Lastly, this same study concluded that glycine reduced daytime lethargy.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Several studies support the claim that bone broth’s glycine content is linked to improved sleep.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
Improves Hair, Skin, & Nails
General Consensus: 3.5/5 and here is why. While it’s true that the collagen derived from bone broth’s gelatin is good for hair, skin, and nails, a single serving of bone broth per day is not enough to reap this benefit.
Contains Anti-Aging Properties
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. Glycine and proline, both of which are found in bone broth, build collagen; collagen is linked to anti-aging. However, there aren’t any studies linking bone broth specifically to anti-aging.