In the past year bone broth—the result of simmering animal bones with herbs and vegetables for anywhere between 20 minutes and 20 hours—has been lauded as a superfood, promoted as a Hollywood diet and linked to benefits like better gut health and stronger joints. Now, research out of Spain is proving at least some of those claims are true.
Inverse reported Jan. 16 that Leticia Mora-Soler, PhD, and her team at the Valencia Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology confirmed at least two cardioprotective peptides in dry-cured ham bones survive the cooking and digestion process to benefit consumers’ health.
Researchers in Spain report promising signs that broth from dry-cured ham bones might help protect the heart. We have a wide range of best beef bone broth at Bone Broth
Many Spanish dishes include bone broth. So Mora had a good idea of how to make it. She turned her lab into a kitchen and concocted a broth with only water and dry-cured ham bones. Most cooks flavour bone broth with vegetables. But Mora wasn’t looking for flavour. She was searching for protein bits known as peptides that had been released by the bones.
The long process of cooking broth breaks bone proteins into those peptides, which are short chains of amino acids. There are many different types of peptides. Some can help the body’s cardiovascular system, that heart and blood-transporting network. Such peptides can help block certain natural chemicals called enzymes that can increase blood pressure. When Mora finished cooking her broth, she analysed what chemicals it now contained. The “interesting results,” she says, showed the heart-healthy peptides were there.
Some heart conditions are hereditary such as Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is the thickening of the heart tissue causing blockages. However, only 1% of the UK population suffer from a hereditary heart condition, and 7.4 million people are living with a heart condition, which means that over 6 million people are suffering from poor heart health and could do/have done something about it. In the UK, heart diseases are the main cause of death within males, so taking care of heart health is hugely important.
Some of the heart conditions you may know about are high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol can build up around the heart, blocking the arteries and causing an obstruction. It’s important to see a doctor if you believe you have a heart condition. A doctor will be able to prescribe medication to help you manage the condition. However, drugs are not a cure. They should be an interim solution while you work on natural ways to improve your heart health.
Causes of heart disease
Some of the most common causes of heart disease are being overweight, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and having a poor diet. As previously mentioned, other causes can relate to genes, but a majority of people who have heart problems are caused by diet and lifestyle.
Do saturated fats harm the heart?
Heart disease has been listed as the number one killer in western cultures today. Saturated fats and high cholesterol have been blamed for this. So many deaths are labelled cardiac as doctors are required by law to put a cause of death, even if it is simply “old age”. In these situations, the heart tends to take the fall. People recorded as dying from cardiac disease have often lived just as long as other people, as long as they should.
Historically the belief that the connection between heart attacks and the amount of cholesterol circulating through the body began from a study in Framingham in 1948. They found the fat in our diets and cholesterol in our blood were responsible for the build-up of plaque in arteries that caused heart disease. So the obvious solution was to lower the intake of fatty foods which will lower cholesterol.
This theory was further pushed by Ancel Keys in 1958 with his study on the Mediterranean diet. He found that there was a correlation between saturated fat in the diet and that it was the cause of heart disease. Cholesterol is actually a hormone produced naturally inside the body. It is a vital substance. High amounts of HDL are important for heart health. Dietary fats can raise good cholesterol, while carbohydrates can raise LDL or bad cholesterol.
Just because food contains fat, doesn’t mean it is unhealthy. It does not mean it is bad for your heart. The development of a low-fat diet to cure a heart attack plague was incorrect. Today we know HDL (the good cholesterol) is raised when we eat certain fats, the very opposite suggestion of Ancel Keys and the Framingham study. In 2013 the largest study on heart health was conducted by Cambridge and Harvard where it was revealed that “It’s complicated in the sense that some foods with high saturated fats seem very consistently to reduce heart disease.” We have been taking medical advice from research that was conducted 70 years ago and is now being proven as incorrect.
A recent study combined 21 unique studies over 14 years and showed there was no relationship between the intake of saturated fat and heart disease. Another study showed the same results where mortality was twice as high with those that had been admitted with low cholesterol. The debates continue, and further investigation is required on the cholesterol hypothesis, but tides are turning to show that eating saturated fat does NOT cause heart disease.
Recently, WHO and FAO published reports concluding there was “no satisfactory or reliable evidence to support the idea that saturated fats cause heart disease”.
Could bone broth boost heart health?
Recently, bone broth has enjoyed a boost in popularity. To add to its new-found fame, a recent study concludes that it could have benefits for heart health, too.
Bone broth is a soup containing brewed bones and connective tissue. Looking for beef bone broth? Look no further! Bone Broth has you covered.
Slowly cooking the bones in vinegar releases some of the nutrients that a person might otherwise discard with the rest of the carcass.
According to some quarters, drinking bone broth carries a multitude of benefits.
From reducing inflammation to improving sleep, bone broth can seemingly do no wrong.
Although some are hailing bone broths as “the new coffee,” there is little evidence to support its benefits.
It is true that bone broth delivers nutrients, including amino acids and minerals, but not in any higher quantities than might be found in many other foods.
Bone broth contains collagen, leading some supporters to claim that bone broth improves skin health and joint function. However, the collagen that we consume never reaches the skin or joints because it is broken down into amino acids by the digestive system.
The authors of the most recent study into bone broth published their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. They focused on the amino acids and peptides that the bone and connective tissue produce as they break down.
Potential heart benefits
The scientists found that peptides — predominantly derived from hemoglobin and collagen — could block the enzymes related to heart disease, even after cooking and digestion.
Peptides are amino acids that have beneficial effects on the heart. Studies showed that during digestion, proteins found in roasted bones breakdown into peptides. These are smaller components of amino acids contain a property which is unique from the original proteins.
Additionally, they measured the presence of other peptides; many of these were chains of just two or three amino acids, making them more likely to be able to travel through the intestinal wall and be active in the body. The authors conclude:
“These results suggest that dry-cured ham bones [used in] stews and broths could have a positive impact on cardiovascular health and a possible reduction of high blood pressure for consumers.”
However, as the authors note, measuring these peptides under artificial conditions is not the same as assessing their impact on living organisms. Scientists will need to do much more work before they can confirm the heart benefits of bone broth.
Understanding the chemistry of foods is only one small step toward realising their impact on health. These findings might further boost bone broth’s popularity, but the trend will probably be over before conclusive evidence rolls in.
Protects The Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States (16). That’s why eating foods that improve your heart health is a surefire way to extend your lifespan. And bone broth is one of these foods.
Studies indicate that glycine found in bone broth can significantly reduce the severity of heart attacks.
Glycine also counters the negative effects of methionine—found in meats and eggs.
When your diet is high in methionine-rich food, it can significantly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and vitamin B deficiencies.
My point is, you can suffer from the effects of too much methionine if you don’t get enough glycine.
Prevent heart disease
High blood pressure affects 16million people in the UK, Blood Pressure UK statistics reveal. And 103million in the US have the condition, according to the American Heart Association.
Hypertension raises the risk of heart disease or stroke by three times, with 62,000 people in the UK alone dying every year from poorly-controlled blood pressure.
To better understand the effects of broth on hypertension, bones were taken from white-bread pigs culled to make Spanish dry-cured ham.
These bones were prepared by ‘simulating Mediterranean household cooking’, which involved samples being cooked at 100°C (212°F) for 20 minutes or an hour, while others remained ‘raw’ and acted as controls.
Sequences of amino acids – known as peptides – were then extracted from the collagen released by the bones and put through a simulated human gut in the lab.
‘The purpose of this work was to determine the presence of bioactive peptides with potential cardiovascular health benefits derived from dry-cured ham byproducts,’ Dr Mora said.
‘As well as their stability under different acid conditions and heating simulating traditional cooking in Mediterranean households.
‘Furthermore, lab-simulated digestion was used to mimic what happens to these peptides in the human gut and to assess if gastrointestinal digestion can assist in the generation of bioactive peptides.’ Bone Broth has a wide range of best beef bone broth in Melbourne
Results suggest some of the peptides could lower blood pressure by blocking enzymes that drive hypertension, with certain enzymes being reduced by up to 50 per cent.
And other peptides may degrade hormones that drive high blood pressure and have even been linked to type 2 diabetes.
More peptides were active when boiled for just 20 minutes but simmering for an hour was more potent than the peptides in the uncooked control bones. Heating peptides are thought to break them into fragments that are better able to survive the harsh conditions of the gut. ‘Simmering animal bones in water releases collagen and other proteins into the broth that may have health benefits,’ Dr Mora said.
The researchers believe consuming bone broth ‘habitually’ could have a ‘positive impact on cardiovascular health and a possible reduction of high blood pressure’. But they added further studies are required to identify the exact peptide sequences that help to lower blood pressure.
This comes after Gwyneth Paltrow’s health-promoting website Goop recently published her own recipe for broth made from a chicken carcass.
What does it mean if I have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many won’t realise it.
The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked. Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
As a general guide:
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
- A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as:
- heart disease
- heart attacks
- heart failure
- peripheral arterial disease
- aortic aneurysms
- kidney disease
- vascular dementia
Improve heart health drinking bone broth
Working with health professionals, you could potentially regain your full health by making some simple changes to your lifestyle.
Your heart is a muscle. This means that you can improve the strength of your heart with exercise. Even a little light exercise a day can make a big difference, but even exercise can be tough and unappealing, especially if you are overweight, which is why diet is something that you can change immediately. Check out our Melbourne best beef bone broth here.
Switching to a whole foods diet is extremely important. The goodness of natural foods will help to ensure your body is getting a range of nutrients and minerals it needs. There’s a good chance you are suffering from chronic inflammation too, so including broth into your diet could help reduce inflammation, particularly of the gut. It is widely believed that bone broth contains anti-inflammatory proteins. Inflammation in the gut inhibits the function of enzymes, and this means that the breakdown of some foods become harder, causing intolerances. Furthermore, gut problems also present themselves with an imbalance of the gut microbiome, so taking an approach to healing the gut and then boosting your gut flora could be beneficial.
Drinking broth daily can help to reduce inflammation in the gut. It is also believed it can help with respiratory problems, as well as joint care, cell damage and more. An ancient form of cooking, a good broth has been around for years, but it’s only now that we are starting to discover broth’s powerful modalities.
Bone broth also contains potassium, which can help counter “fatigue, muscle weakness, and balance fluid in the cells,” notes Kimszal. It is also a necessary nutrient for blood pressure balance and good heart health. Because of these benefits, potassium is beneficial to those that work out a lot, especially activities that work up a sweat like hot yoga and running.
Like most health fads, take bone broth supposed magical elixir qualities with a grain of salt. Drinking salty animal broth may taste good, but it’s not a magic potion.