1. Bone and Joint Health: If you subscribe to the theory of like heals like, then it’s no surprise that bone broth is good for our own bones and joints. Bone broth is high in collagen, a protein naturally found in animal cartilage, which helps us repair our own cartilage that wears down over time with age and injuries. Nutrients like GAGS (glycosaminoglycans), a family of carbohydrates found in bones and connective tissue also help to ease joint pain and contribute to overall joint health and repair.
Commonly seen in the sports and weight lifting world, supplements like chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are just isolated nutrients from the larger collagen structure. These expensive supplements are often recommended to those who experience joint pain. However, one study compared the effectiveness of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine vs whole collagen and found that the collagen was actually more effective, indicating that there may be something in the whole food that the supplements miss. Yet another reminder that whole foods are more than the sum of their parts!
2. Gut Health: Bone broth is a key player in gut health, especially for those suffering from digestive disorders. The high glycine levels in broth can help increase stomach acid secretion, while glutamine, another amino acid, helps to repair the lining of the intestines. Gelatin has been shown to support healthy gut bacteria growth and control intestinal inflammation. Bone broth is also very health supportive to those with digestive distress because it is easily digested, with it’s nutrients easily available for absorption through the intestinal lining. This can come as a big relief to those suffering from the effects of chemo or radiation induced nausea, those with severe food allergies and people with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.
3. Protein: Surprisingly, bones are made up of 50% protein by volume, and even more once you factor in all the connective tissue and joint matter attached to them. All of this is melted down into the broth during the slow simmer process, making bone broth a protein rich food source. This can be especially great for people on high protein diets due to intense exercise and training programs, or helpful for people who are trying to reduce their meat consumption, while still maintaining healthy levels of protein intake.
4. Minerals: Minerals found in the bones, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, as well as minerals imparted from vegetables, seaweed and sea salt, all contribute to the high mineral content of bone broth. These minerals are also more bioavailable, meaning easier for your body to absorb and use, than minerals bound up in food that you might not be fully digesting. All of this makes bone broth an obvious choice when we’re feeling run down or sick, just when we need a boost of minerals to help our bodies recover from an immune system attack or a stressful day.
5. Immune System: Speaking of the immune system, broth is also helpful in supporting the healthy functioning of our bodies immune response. By way of supporting gut health, bone broth can help lessen the amount of inflammation and food allergy triggers that distract the immune system and cause imbalanced inflammatory responses in the first place. Bone broth, with it’s soothing effects on the nervous system, can also help us get deeper sleep, which is directly related to proper and effective immune system responses. A healthy body starts with a good nights sleep!
6. Detox: Bone broth is also helpful in detoxing the body and lowering our oxidative stress (responsible for early aging!), which is needed now more than ever with the overwhelming amount of environmental toxins we come in contact with on a daily basis. From car exhaust, to water pollutants, to plastics and pesticides in processed foods, who couldn’t use help detoxing? Glycine, glutathione and an array of minerals helps improve liver function, the organ most responsible for processing and removing harmful substances from our bodies.
7. Beauty: Lastly, benefits to hair, skin and nails are worth mentioning. Underneath our skin is a layer of collagen that helps give our skin it’s youthful texture and tone. This collagen breaks down over time, contributing to signs of aging such as wrinkles and cellulite. Getting healthy amounts of collagen in your diet can improve the hydration, appearance and elasticity of our skin for years to come, as well as supporting the growth of hair and nails.
Happy broth drinking!