7 Health Benefits of Bone Broth
Bone broth has long been recognised for its health benefits, and was traditionally given to sick people to build up their strength. It seems that we have always known bone broth was good for us, and according to modern science, there are actually several ways it can help to keep you healthy.
Bone Broth Contains Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Animal bones are rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, all of which, perhaps unsurprisingly, play a crucial role in maintaining healthy bones. The rich marrow inside the bones is particularly nutritious, containing vitamins A and K2, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and various minerals including zinc, iron, boron, manganese, and selenium.
The exact quantities of these nutrients will vary for different batches of broth, depending on the quantity of bones and other meat products that are added to the mixture, as well as the amount of time for which the broth is boiled. As a rule, however, broth is highly nutritious, and because the nutrients are suspended in water, they are easy for your body to absorb.
Bone Broth's Nutrients Have Been Shown to Improve Joint Health
Bone broth is also rich in gelatin, a protein that forms when the collagen present in bones and connective tissue is broken down by cooking. Gelatin contains proline and glycine, which the body uses to build healthy tendons and ligaments. According to one study, gelatin may aid the body in the production of its own collagen, helping to prevent injury and repair tissue damage.
Connective tissue, which is usually still attached to animal bones, also contains natural compounds called glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which can help ease joint pain and alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Bone Broth Keeps Your Collagen Strong
Animal bones also contain collagen, the protein that helps keep your skin plump and smooth. Collagen is an important protein, forming about 25 percent of your body mass, but from the age of about 20, the rate at which your body produces it slows down a little, year by year. This causes your skin to lose its elasticity, which may eventually lead to wrinkles. Some people believe that the collagen in bone broth can help top up your body’s own supply of collagen, but there is some controversy about this claim, as collagen is not very bioavailable, meaning that it isn't easily absorbed by the body when eaten or drunk. Some studies suggest that collagen supplements can help improve skin elasticity, but these tend to be small-scale experiments, and much more research is needed before we can say for sure.
Bone Broth May Support Weight Loss
Drinking bone broth makes you feel full, despite not containing many calories. Soups in general have been found to cause increased feelings of satiety after eating, and regular consumption can help reduce your risk of obesity. Bone broth is also a good source of protein, which can help to increase appetite control and maintain lean muscle mass.
Bone Broth May Benefit the Digestive System
As a liquid, broth is particularly easy to digest, making it easy for the body to absorb all those nutrients. But it can also help you to digest other foods as well. The gelatin present in broth binds to the liquids in your food, helping it to move easily through your digestive tract. There is early evidence to suggest that gelatin may help protect the mucus lining of your intestines, and it has also been known to cure ‘leaky gut’, a condition where the barrier between your gut and your bloodstream is impaired, allowing potentially harmful substances to leak into the bloodstream.
Bone Broth May Improve Sleep and Brain Function
Bone broth also contains an amino acid called glycine, which has been shown to improve sleep quality and help ward off fatigue, and may also be effective at improving the sleep patterns of insomnia sufferers. As well as promoting sleep, studies also found that glycine reduced tiredness during the daytime, thus improving memory and mental function in general.
Bone Broth May Help Fight Inflammation
The amino acid glycine has been shown to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect, while another amino acid called arginine, also present in bone broth, is thought to be especially useful for fighting chronic inflammation. Animal studies suggest that arginine may be able to reduce inflammation of the airways, easing the symptoms of asthma, and to help fight inflammation in obesity sufferers, but more human studies are needed to be sure.
To benefit fully from the health benefits of bone broth, and for a more palatable flavour, you should always remember to remove excess fat from your broth. As well as being nutrient rich, bone marrow is fairly high in fat, which can make your bone broth less healthy, and give it a greasy taste. Our handy how-to guide talks you through three quick and easy ways to skim the fat from your broth, making it as clear and healthy and delicious as possible.