by Dr. Tanya Reynolds, DC
on Jun 2nd, 2017
The Benefits of Bone Broth
One of today’s hottest health trends is actually a centuries-old tradition.
Ancient cultures have long understood the many health benefits of bone broth—that it is a rich source of immunity-boosting nutrients delivered in an affordable, easy-to-prepare form. And chefs throughout history have used bone broth to enhance the depth of flavor in a recipe.
But nowadays people with high-performance lifestyles have started adding protein-rich bone broth to their health and fitness regimes—so much so, that tons has been written on the subject and broth cafes are springing up around the nation. So why all the sudden hype over something that’s been around since humans started cooking over fire? Let’s start by explaining exactly what bone broth is.
The Difference Between Broth, Stock and Bone Broth
While the words broth and stock are often used interchangeably, the methods of preparation and cooking times lead to some pretty significant differences. Broth—which is what you typically find on the shelves of your supermarket—is made from mostly meat, but can contain some bones. Think of boiling an entire chicken. The whole process typically takes less than two hours and the resulting broth is light in flavor and thin in texture.
Stock, on the other hand, is made from bones, which may have a bit of meat on them, that have been roasted and then boiled for a longer period of time. Stocks have a richer flavor because of the roasting process and thus are better for flavoring recipes.
Bone broth is a bit of a misnomer then, because it is actually a “stock” made from roasting and cooking bones for anywhere from eight to twenty four hours. The longer cooking process produces gelatin from the collagen-rich joints but also releases trace minerals and amino acids. In bone broth, these nutrients are rendered highly absorbable and easy to digest. The most beneficial of these nutrients are outlined below.
Gelatin helps strengthen hair and nails, and body builders have been using it for decades to help improve joint health and reduce inflammation. Bone broth also provides the amino acids—glycine and proline—needed for collagen production. Collagen keeps our skin smooth and firm and reduces wrinkles, so providing the building blocks for this important protein ensures that our bodies are able to create enough of it.
Gelatin also supports digestive health and is believed to help sufferers of leaky gut and similar disorders heal their intestines and better absorb nutrients. This occurs in part because gelatin enhances gastric acid secretion and restores a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach. Gelatin also absorbs water and helps keep fluid in the digestive tract, promoting good intestinal transit and healthy bowel movements. Furthermore, gelatin helps detoxify the body because of the amino acid glycine, which assists the liver with its housecleaning duties (more on glycine below).
The simplest of all the amino acids, glycine is produced by the body and is therefore not considered essential. Building our own amino acids is much less efficient than consuming them from foods, however, and scientists believe we can’t make glycine efficiently enough to keep up with our body’s demand in the absence of dietary sources. Consuming bone broth is one of the most effective ways to add more of this amino acid to our diets.
Glycine is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other naturally occurring chemicals within the body, which are in turn used for blood sugar regulation, digestion, proper functioning of the nervous system and wound healing. Glycine also enhances muscle repair and growth by increasing levels of creatine and regulating Human Growth Hormone secretion from the pituitary gland. (1)
Besides helping the body to make collagen, proline is often recommended for its benefits to the heart, because it enables the blood vessel walls to release cholesterol buildups into your blood stream, decreasing the size of potential blockages. Proline also helps your body break down proteins for use in creating new, healthy muscle cells.
So while meat and dairy are both able to provide us with the above vitally important nutrients, you just can’t beat the quantity or absorbability of them in bone broth. To make bone broth at home, check out this recipe (http://nourishedkitchen.com/roast-chicken-stock/). And this article (http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/common-mistakes-bone-broth) has tips and tricks on making it taste great every time.
If making bone broth from scratch is too much to add to your busy schedule, I recommend this high quality, all-natural bone broth protein (add affiliate link), free of common allergens and GMOs.