Now that the holidays are behind us – and we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – it’s time to get back on track. The increased alcohol and sugar we ate during the holidays has likely created some inflammation within our gut, and it takes some time to diminish. We need to help it along by eating a wide range of vegetables, fiber, clean protein, and healthy fats…
With all of this in mind, bone broth is powerful bonus to your daily repertoire. Bone broth is known to:
- Boost immunity
- Balance hormones
- Heal gut issues by sealing the mucosal layer of the intestines
- Aid in liver detoxification
- Improve digestive health by inhibiting cytokines to reduce inflammation
- Strengthen bones
- Give you more youthful skin (without the Botox)
What exactly is bone broth, and how is it different than stock?
Bone broth is made with bones from pork, chicken, or beef that have a small amount of meat adhering to the bones. The bones are simmered for long periods of time (8-24 hours), with the purpose of benefiting from the gelatin from the collagen-rich joints in the bones. At the end of cooking, the bones should crumble in your fingers – so you know that you’ve removed all the trace minerals from within the bones.
Stocks are also made with bones that contain a small amount of meat. Stock, however, is roasted for a shorter period of time (3-4 hours) and therefore, is not as nutrient dense as broth.
Why should I eat bone broth?
The bones from meat and chicken contain 50% minerals, 28% collagen, and 22%water. These minerals and collagen are gold for your healing process because they contain important nutrients and provide a host of health benefits. These nutrients include:
1.Collagen – The most abundant protein in the human body, it is found throughout our body in the joints, bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. Thus, the collagen found in bone broth is going to build and repair your ligaments, joints, tendons, etc. I tell the athletes I work with to consider consuming 1 cup of bone broth a day to heal from their intense workouts. This beats any sports drink or power bar you buy at the store.
During the cooking process, the bones release glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. Do these sound familiar? They are found in many nutritional supplements to stimulate new growth of healthy collagen. Collagen also aids in reducing inflammation and pain, and builds stronger bones.
It is also found in our hair, nails and skin. It helps to maintain skin elasticity and youthful firmness. It plays a key role in skin cell turnover, which is important because our collagen production decreases as we age. This is much better than Botox!
Collagen is also known to restore glutathione, which is instrumental in protecting against oxidative stress in our cells.
2.Glycine – The main amino acid in collagen is glycine. It is a non-essential
amino acid, which means our body can synthesize it – and that you do not need to get it from dietary sources. However, it is only synthesized with the amino acid serine at 3 grams per day, which is not enough for our daily needs. Our body requires 10 grams per day for basic metabolic processes, so we do need to get it from external means. Sometimes glycine is referred to as a “conditional amino acid” instead of non-essential. Bone broth contains about 27 grams of glycine per 100 grams of protein.
Not only can glycine be utilized by our bodies to make collagen, it also helps detoxify the liver by removing the build up of methionine. Think about the toxins we are exposed to (on a daily basis) that the liver has to process: air, food, water, skin care products, and household cleaning products…
Methionine is an essential amino acid found in egg whites, fish, beef, and chicken breasts. It helps metabolize the food we eat, acts as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage, and helps produce the amino acid cysteine, which then gets converted to glutathione – “the master of all antioxidants” according to Weston A. Price Foundation. In essence, methionine is good in the correct doses, but we typically have diets high in methionine without our knowledge. High levels of methionine can lead to high homocysteine levels, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and fractures. It is, then, helpful to consume glycine with your methionine rich foods to keep things in check.
Glycine also aids digestion by enhancing gastric acid secretion. The body’s ability to digest proteins is imperative for the maintenance of good health! Without the proper acid secretion in the stomach, your body is not able to absorb nutrients properly – which can lead to many deficiencies.
3.Gelatin – Gelatin is actually produced when you cook the bones and the collagen breaks down. It is made up of the amino acids, arginine, glycine, glutamine, and proline. It is the wobbly substance that sits on top of the pot when your broth has cooled down. This wobbly stuff is what you use as thickener in recipes for gummies, soups, gravy, and custards.
Gelatin found in broth aids in digestion – and heals and seals the gut. This is a must for anyone with digestive issues such as IBS, Celiac disease, leaky gut, or any autoimmunity issue. It has been shown to heal the gut by restoring a healthy mucosal lining, thus improving digestion.
The amino acid glycine is also found in gelatin. Glycine is a powerful anti-inflammatory to help improve joint pain, improve sleep quality, support a healthy nervous system, build collagen, and strengthen the intestinal lining. (1)
Bone broth has many uses:
- Improved Immunity – Chicken soup has been the timeless remedy for sickness. Now that it is cold outside, we may all be more susceptible to getting sick – and we could all use some immune building, fortifying foods. Much of our immune system is in our gut – and broth aids in supporting gut health by reducing inflammation. So, bone broth is a perfect solution to improving your health. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride wrote a book (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) on the importance of gut health and the issues that can arise when it’s not working properly: ADHD, ADD, autism, depression, schizophrenia etc.
- A Healthy Sports Recovery Drink – Bone broth has been used by all star athletes, including Kobe Bryant and other members of the LA Lakers, because it helps replace electrolytes after intense workouts and aids in post workout recovery. (2) It also is high in sodium, so if you have lost salt during your workout from sweat – and need to replace it to prevent cramping – this is an option for you. It has been used by Ironman triathletes for years. It is served at run stations along the course because it is so easy for the body to digest, and is a key way for them to maintain their fluid balance. One 4-ounce serving of bone broth contains 200mg of sodium on average, which is three times more sodium than a packet of GU gel.
- Helps Improve Sleep, Memory, and Cognition – The amino acids found in bone broth act like inhibitory neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals that help us sleep, think clearly, remember information, and make decisions. The electrolytes, magnesium, potassium, and sodium are also important for muscle, nerve, and cognitive function according to Dr. Axe.
Who Would Benefit From Bone Broth?
- People with digestive disorders – for example: leaky gut, IBS, Celiac disease, IBD, etc.
- Anyone with an autoimmunity issue – Hashimoto’s Disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Alopecia, Multiple sclerosis, etc.
- Anyone who suffers from bloated stomach, gas, or constipation
- Athletes of all levels
- Anyone with low immune function, who gets sick often, or has asthma or recurring respiratory issues.
While these are just a few suggestions, I actually think that anyone and everyone would highly benefit from bone broth. You can make your own, or explore pre-made brands… Just make sure you’re getting the good stuff, packed with all of the important nutrients listed above. Try it out and see how you feel!