Although it’s only recently started to gain momentum, bone broth has been around for centuries. A staple of the Paleo diet—a diet based on the foods consumed by hunter-gatherers from thousands of years ago, including meat, poultry, fish, and fruits and vegetables—this hearty broth has become a popular beverage in the U.S.
If the term “bone broth” is throwing you off, you may know it better as chicken or beef stock. It’s mostly a soup base made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of an animal (cow, chicken, turkey, duck, etc.) with seasoning in water for 12 to 24 hours, says Health Contributing Nutrition Editor, Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH.
As unappealing as it may sound, bone broth boasts good-for-your-skin collagen, which has oozed out of the joints and bones during the cooking process, adds New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. “It’s packed with nutrients that provide energy and help make your skin look smoother.” We have a wide range of bone broth benefits at Bone Broth
By now, you’ve heard some of the hype around bone broth, the trendy, savoury drink filling coffee cups and mugs. But this fad elixir isn’t all that new.
“Bone broth has been around for centuries,” says Sara Haas, R.D.N., a dietitian, chef, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Doctors of Chinese medicine have turned to it to strengthen kidneys and support the digestive system, and the English have sipped beef tea (read: a steeped mixture of cubed beef and water) since the Victorian era.
But what is bone broth, exactly? And is bone broth good for you, really?
What Is Bone Broth?
It’s pretty simple: Bone broth is an aromatic broth simmered with beef or poultry bones and vegetables.
And, nope, it isn’t exactly the same thing as stock. The difference between a broth and a stock lies mainly the amount of time it’s simmered. The longer the liquid cooks, the more nutrients and minerals leach from the bones. Broths are made by simmering the bones and some meat (typically that’s already been roasted) of an animal or fish for a long time, often more than 24 hours, versus a stock which can finish cooking in about three.
Why Is Bone Broth So Popular?
Bone broth advocates say it can relieve joint pain and osteoarthritis, detoxify the liver, aid in wound healing, prevent aging skin, support digestive health, balance hormones, increase energy, strengthen bones, improve quality of sleep, alleviate symptoms from certain autoimmune conditions, and boost immune function.
Praised for providing all these health benefits, bone broth also provides enormous profits.
The retail sales of shelf-stable bone broth products increased from $5.83 million in 2016 to $17.54 million in 2017. According to a report by Global Market Insights, Inc., analysts predict the global bone broth market will surpass $2.8 billion by 2024. Also, one of the foremost bone broth advocates, Dr. Josh Axe, recently raised $103 million from investors to expand his own bone broth business.
Bone broth has become very popular recently, especially among health-conscious individuals. This is because it’s believed to have many health benefits.
Although there is no published research on bone broth itself, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests drinking it may be very beneficial.
This article takes a closer look at the bone broth, how to make it and its potential benefits.
It could have health and skin benefits
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough research on drinking bone broth to nail down its specific health benefits. But it is rich in important amino acids and minerals, so gulping it down could fill nutritional gaps and may offer the improved gut, joint, and skin health, Sass says.
While bone broth may sound totally unappetizing to you, it’s easy to digest and to fill, which could help support weight loss. Plus, some of the amino acids in bone broth have been tied to benefits including better sleep, reduced inflammation, and healing of the digestive tract, Sass adds. Looking for bone broth benefits ? Look no further! Bone Broth has you covered.
Now, about that collagen: Because it’s rich in amino acids, bone broth promotes collagen production, meaning it could help keep your skin youthful-looking (buh-bye, wrinkles). Collagen and elastic tissue are found in the dermis, or middle layer, of the skin and give it its fullness and plumpness, explains Dr. Jaliman. Although our bodies make new collagen every day, after age 25, we lose more collagen than we produce—leading to the fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin in your 30s and beyond, she adds. But drinking bone broth may boost your skin’s collagen, helping to keep skin looking smooth and firm and reducing wrinkles. Looking for bone broth benefits ? Look no further! Bone Broth has you covered.
Bone Broth Alleviates The Common Cold And Bronchitis
There’s a solid scientific reason that we reach for chicken soup during cold and flu season. In 2000, a study was published in Chest, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, which studied chicken soup (bone broth) and found that it does indeed aid in alleviating symptoms of the common cold, by clearing mucus, opening respiratory pathways, and providing easily digested nutrition.
In addition, according to medical doctor and UCLA professor Irwin Ziment, chicken soup naturally contains the amino acid cysteine, which chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine.
Bone Broth Fights Inflammation
Studies show that many of the amino acids in bone broth (such as cysteine, histidine, and glycine) reduce inflammation, and L-glutamine specifically reduces gut inflammation. Additionally, the same Chest article from October 2000 mentioned above concluded that chicken soup’s anti-inflammatory benefits may be one reason it is so helpful with relieving symptoms of the common cold.
Bone Broth Strengthens Bones And Teeth
A study on the necessary nutrients for bone health found that the process of bone-formation requires “an adequate and constant supply of nutrients” as follows: calcium, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, potassium, zinc, manganese, copper, boron, iron, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and the B vitamins.
Bone broth with vegetables and meat or fish provides a good source of all of these vitamins and minerals.
Bone Broth Promotes Weight Loss
While more studies of gut bacteria and weight loss need to be conducted, research has shown that obese people have more of a certain type of bacteria called Firmicutes and less of another type called Bacteroidetes in their digestive tracts. The higher proportion of Firmicutes is believed to lead to a higher amount of calories extracted from food. Therefore, a higher ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes has become one of the markers of obesity.
Bone broth is a good source of L-glutamine, an essential amino acid (a building block of protein) necessary for the body and gut health. L-glutamine was found in studies to reduce the Firmicutes in the gut and, therefore, aid in weight loss.
Many studies had also looked at whether consuming soup before a meal promoted weight loss due to a lower amount of calories eaten during the meal itself. In a study published in the November 2007 issue of Appetite (an international research journal specializing in behavioural nutrition and the cultural, sensory, and physiological influences on choices and intakes of foods and drinks), researchers conducted the study again. They went a step further to see if eating a meal with liquid would have the same effect as soup.
The finding was that ingesting soup did indeed reduce caloric intake at the next meal and that only soup—not food consumed with water—had this beneficial effect.
It Can Cure Your Cold
At some point in your life, you probably had a bowl of chicken noodle soup while sick. It might have even helped you feel better.
Some older research studied the ability of a chicken stock to ease common cold symptoms. And many people say bone broth has (or should have) a similar effect.
While there are no published studies about bone broth and illness in peer-reviewed medical journals, a few have looked at the effects of chicken soup.
A 2000 study in the journal Chest found that chicken soup could prevent white blood cells from migrating — thus preventing the worsening of upper respiratory infection symptoms.
But it also found that the vegetables in the soup — not the chicken alone — offered inhibitory effects when it came to battling infections. The researchers concluded that chicken soup likely contained multiple substances with medicinal properties.
Would vegetable soup have been just as effective? Or more effective? We don’t know. But it seems clear that the vegetables, at a minimum, played an important part.
The other chicken soup study, published in 1978, concluded that hot chicken soup was superior to cold liquids in the management of upper respiratory infections, namely in loosening nasal mucous. This sounds impressive — but then again, it’s entirely possible we could say the same thing about any hot liquid, including vegetable broth (perhaps even hot water).
Bone broth may warm your belly, but there’s no evidence that it will cure your cold. If there are immune-boosting effects, they could come from the vegetables used in its preparation.
It Can Detoxify Your Liver
Bone broth contains the amino acid glycine. There are a few animal studies that suggest glycine supplements can benefit the liver of alcoholic rats, but none have looked at the impact of bone broth on human livers.
It’s doubtful that any single nutrient has the power to detoxify the liver by itself. The best way to protect your liver, and to protect your body from toxins, is by eating a diet that’s high in the entire array of phytonutrients found in whole plant foods.
It’s also helpful to steer clear of absorbing toxic heavy metals in the first place. And that brings us to what may be the most significant problematic fact about bone broth.
It may protect the joints
Bone broth is a source of gelatin, which may break down into collagen in the body. This is especially important in the joints.
Cartilage in the joints tends to wear down or shrink through continual use. This can add more stress to the joints, which may become damaged as a result of the added pressure.
A 2017 review that appears in the journal Sports Medicine Suggests that both laboratory and animal studies show that gelatin supplementation increases the amount of collagen in the tissues. This may help protect the joints from unnecessary stress.
Consuming bone broth may be a good way to add gelatin to the diet, which may help protect these joints.
It may help fight osteoarthritis
The compounds present in bone broth help maintain the joints, and they may also help people who already have osteoarthritis.
A 2016 study in the Nutrition Journal looked at the effects of type 2 collagen in people who had osteoarthritis symptoms in their knees. The collagen came from the connective tissue of chickens.
Its results show that collagen can improve knee joint symptoms, such as pain, stiffness, and poorer physical function, in people with osteoarthritis.
Consuming bone broth may be an easy way to deliver the same type of collagen, along with other helpful nutrients, to the body.
It may help reduce inflammation and heal the gut
Some amino acids present within bone broth may also be helpful for digestion. An amino acid called glutamine seems very promising.
As a 2017 study in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care notes, glutamine supplementation helps heal the intestinal barrier in human and animal models.
This may help with conditions such as the leaky gut, which irritates the mucosal lining in the intestines and interferes with the body’s ability to digest food.
As a 2017 study in the journal Nutrients says, people with inflammatory bowel disease tend to have lower levels of some amino acids in their bodies. For these people, getting additional amino acids into their diets may help with some symptoms of the condition.
Drinking bone broth daily may be a simple way to get anti-inflammatory amino acids into the body.
It may aid sleep
The amino acids in bone broth may also promote better sleep in some people. A 2015 study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology reports that the amino acid glycine is a safe therapeutic option to improve sleep.
People who take glycine before going to sleep may feel that they sleep better and have less fatigue during the following day. For these people, drinking bone broth with a simple dinner may help provide this glycine.
It Contains Many Important Vitamins and Minerals
In general, bone broth is very nutritious.
However, the nutrient content does depend on the ingredients you use, as each brings something different to the table.
Animal bones are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other trace minerals — the same minerals needed to build and strengthen your own bones.
Fishbones also contains iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid function and metabolism.
Connective tissue gives you glucosamine and chondroitin, natural compounds found in cartilage that are known to support joint health.
Marrow provides vitamin A, vitamin K2, minerals like zinc, iron, boron, manganese and selenium, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
All of these animal parts also contain the protein collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked and yields several important amino acids.
As the ingredients simmer, their nutrients are released into the water in a form your body can easily absorb. Bone Broth has a wide range of best bone broth benefits in Melbourne
Many people don’t get enough of these nutrients in their diet, so drinking bone broth is a good way to get more.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know the exact amount of each nutrient contained in the broth because every batch of bones is so different.
Keep your collagen strong
According to Daniel Auer, a holistic medicine doctor based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the real benefit of bone broth is the low-and-slow cooking process, which breaks down the bones and connective tissues of the meat. As you sip the broth, you take in collagen (a building block of cells found everywhere from your skin and bones to your brain), and gelatin (a form of collagen that aids digestion)—both of which he says are incredibly healing. Experts are torn on whether you can gain the skin-firming, joint-strengthening benefits of collagen by ingesting it. Still, studies have shown an improvement in skin’s elasticity and fine lines from collagen supplements. (Learn more about whether you should be adding collagen to your diet.) Bone Broth has a wide range of best bone broth benefits in Melbourne
Can’t You Get Collagen From Plants?
No. Plants are a great source of vitamins and minerals that can help stimulate your body to produce its collagen, but no known plant food offers type II collagen, the form that offers all of the benefits listed above.
One thing to consider about bone broth that sets it apart from plant foods: Even if you do eat a variety of plants that contain collagen-boosting nutrients, if you have a weakened digestive system, you may not fully absorb them. On the other hand, the collagen in bone broth is incredibly easy to absorb, even for those with compromised digestive systems.
A Serious Concern with Bone Broth
It’s well known that lead exposure can be seriously harmful to humans. It’s been shown to have adverse effects on nearly every organ system in the body—symptoms of chronic exposure range from memory loss and constipation to impotence and depression. The data suggests that there is no such thing as a “safe” level of exposure to lead.
Lead can build up in body fat and attach itself irreversibly to neurons. This is especially dangerous for children as it increases the risk of behavioural problems, hyperactivity, impaired growth and hearing, anemia, and lower IQ, even at low levels.
Now, here’s the thing: Lead and other heavy metals build up in the bones. And that’s not just true of human bones.
Boiling animal bones for a long period of time turns out to be a great way to leach lead out of them — even if the animal bones come from organically fed animals.
In a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Medical Hypotheses, researchers looked at broth made from organic chicken bones. They found that the broth had lead concentrations that were up to a 10-fold increase compared to the water before the bones were added to it. The samples came from organic, free-range chickens.
Today, many health enthusiasts are drinking bone broth by the case, hoping to detoxify their liver of heavy metals. Sadly, in the process, they could be inadvertently exposing themselves to dangerous levels of lead and possibly other heavy metals.
Chicken Bone Broth Benefits
- Contains collagen – Organic chicken bones (especially feet!) add extra collagen to your broth.
- Chicken is a natural protein source, and the same goes for chicken bones. Kettle & Fire bone broth contains 10 grams of protein per serving.
- Support gut health – chicken bone broth contains amino acids like glycine and glutamine that help keep your gut working properly, which aids in digestion and keeps your immune system in check.
Beef Bone Broth Benefits
- Contains bone marrow – Bone broth made from 100% grass-fed cattle and simmered over long cook times extracts bone marrow that contains nutrients your body will love.
- Contains amino acids – Similar to chicken bone broth, the nutrients extracted from beef bones contain amino acids like glycine and glutamine that aids digestion and promotes gut health.
- Support gut health – chicken bone broth contains amino acids like glycine and glutamine that help keep your gut working properly, which aids in digestion and keeps your immune system in check.
How to Use Bone Broth?
If the idea of drinking it out of your favourite coffee mug feels a little odd, don’t worry: There are plenty of other ways to eat, drink, and use bone broth.
- Drink it straight up. Pour it into a thermos and sip it on its own or as part of your lunch.
- Use it to make grains. When cooking your favourite ancient grain, such as quinoa or farro, use bone broth instead of water for added flavour and all the health benefits
- Freeze for later use. Pour bone broth into ice cube trays and freeze. You’ll have individually portioned broth at the ready.
- Make soup. This is a tried-and-true way to use bone broth. Start from scratch (when possible) or use store-bought bone broth as the base for any soup or stew. (Try these bone broth soup recipes or these low-carb keto soups.)
- Make a bone broth smoothie bowl. Yes, you read that right. Bone broth smoothie bowls are a thing. Check out our Melbourne best bone broth benefits here.
Bone broth contains readily available nutrients and minerals that may help keep the body working at its best. How much of any nutrient will be in each individual batch is difficult to predict.
There may be additional benefits to the bone broth that research is still to uncover. For now, bone broth is a highly nutritious drink that may support the body and many of its functions.
Bone broth contains many important nutrients, some of which are known to have incredible health benefits.
However, the research on bone broth itself is still emerging. Check out our Melbourne best bone broth benefits here.
What is known for sure is that bone broth is highly nutritious, and it’s possible that adding it to your diet may provide a whole host of health benefits.