Bone broth nutrition is one of the main reason why bone broth is being recommended by many food bloggers and wellness sites. This abundance of several beneficial nutrients has many made many people and most bone broth devotee liken it to green tea, however, only a few of bone broth devotees know all the bone broth benefits and information regarding bone broth nutrition.
There are many reasons why people drink bone broth and some consider it as comforting as the morning tea or coffee while others take it as the main course of their diet. Before taking the broth, you should at least know the nutritional value and the truth about the benefits of drinking broths.
In this article, we will take you thereby providing the most accurate information on the benefits of drinking bone broth. We will also emphasize on the nutrients that give the broth its incredible healing powers.
What is Bone Broth?
When you combine bones, water, spices, vegetables, and herbs, you end up with bone broth. Now, that is an abridged definition of what bone broth really is. Bone broth is similar to bone stock, but the two are not the same.
Bone broth is made by combining bones, water, spices, vegetables and herb and simmering the combination for about 12 – 48 hours. The long cooking time liberates beneficial nutrients from the bones into the broth.
Bone Broth Nutrition
Although any kind of bone broth contains a lot of nutrients which is why it is considered a nutrient-rich gold mine, the number of nutrients in every bone broth varies. The type of bone used, the cooking method, cooking time and the number of additional ingredients (herbs, vegetables, and spices) used are major factors that determine the nutritional content of a bone broth.
Overall, there are some nutrients that be found in all bone broths regardless of the factors listed above. These nutrients are among the most important nutrients and the main reason why many people are ditching the coffee and taking to bone broth.
Collagen is one of the many beneficial nutrients you can find in a well-cooked bone broth. The nutrient is one of the 28 types of proteins that make up the building blocks on the human body. However, collagen isn’t just any protein, it is one of the most important types and makes up about 30% of the protein in your body.
Collagen is the main component of various connectives tissues like cartilage, ligaments, and tendons which is why those with joints pains or swollen joints are advised to take collagen-rich supplements as it would help diminish the severity of the pain.
Gelatin is a bone broth nutrition derived from collagen when the latter undergoes hydrolysis. It is often referred to as hydrolyzed collagen. Gelatin is gummy when moist and is responsible for the Jelly-like consistency of the broth once it has cooled.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are a group of complex carbohydrates that supports and maintain collagen. They are also involved in the support of the connective tissues as they attach to proteins in order to form proteoglycans. Proteoglycans are essential components of connective tissues and the synovial fluid which keeps the joints lubricated. Proteoglycans also act as anticoagulants (prolongs the clotting of blood).
Glutamine is known to be the most abundant amino acid in the blood and one of the few amino acids that directly affect brain neurons. The amino acid is a source of fuel for many important cells in the body including the immune cells, liver, kidney, and the cells of the pancreas involved in insulin production.
Glycine is a proteinogenic amino acid needed to produce antioxidant glutathione. It is the main amino acid in collagen and it has various important functions in the health of the tendons, blood vessels, cartilage, and ligaments. The amino acid also acts as a neurotransmitter with its main points of operation in the nervous system and peripheral tissues.
Proline is another amino acid that is derived from collagen, however, it makes less than 17% of collagen. Proline is essential for the structure and stability of collagen. The amino acid regulates an important process in the body which is involved with the discarding of defective cells. This process is known as Apoptosis and it is very important if the body is to function normally.
Bone is a major source of several minerals including phosphorus, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, sodium, manganese, potassium, and zinc. But not everyone will be able to get all these nutrients from their broth. To liberate these minerals you would have to cook the broth for a long period of time. Before cooking, add a small amount of apple cider vinegar as it helps to liberate the minerals into the broth.
Bone Broth Benefits
Bones and Joints
Bone broth is the right source for every raw material needed for building healthy bones. Most of these raw materials include calcium, amino acids, and phosphorus. When it comes to the joints, bone broth contains a helpful nutrient (Glycosaminoglycans) which makes up the integral parts of the synovial fluid. This fluid is responsible for the lubrication of joints which allows one bone to slide over part of another without obstruction or pain.
Bone broth contains many more nutrients including gelatin which are important to the joints as the consumption of gelatin increases the amount of collagen and protects the joints from unnecessary stress. Several studies have also shown that the consumption of collagen could help improve joint comfort. Collagen also works by restoring cartilage and maintaining healthy bones.
Bone broth for gut health is a popular search term these days since the broth is acclaimed to improve gut health and help with issues like leaky gut.
The truth is that bone broth has incredible healing powers that would work wonders on the gut. This is because of the many beneficial nutrients it possesses. One of such nutrients is gelatin which is beneficial in restoring the gut lining that keeps gut microbes away from the intestinal barrier. It also promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
Several studies have also proven that the collagen promotes healthy digestive function as the nutrient builds the tissue that lines the gastrointestinal tract and the colon.
Several other nutrients like glutamine have been proven to aid in the healing of the intestinal barrier in both humans and animals. This is why bone broth is recommended for conditions like leaky gut.
The anti-inflammatory and gut-healing effects of glutamine, collagen, gelatin and many other beneficial nutrients found in bone broth also have a positive impact on the immune system. They work together to strengthen the immune system thereby reducing the susceptibility of the body to diseases.
Detoxification has become extremely important as there has been a sharp increase in the number of toxins, additives, and chemicals consumed by the human body. The continuous consumption of these harmful substances makes it more difficult for the body to effectively detoxify itself. This is where drinking bone broth becomes helpful as it contains a number of nutrients that helps detoxify the digestive system by promoting the liver’s ability to remove toxins and other harmful chemicals.
Potassium and glycine are some of the important nutrients in bone broth that support liver detoxification, however, it is not the bones in the broth that contains these helpful nutrients. These nutrients are mostly found in the vegetables, herbs, and spices added to the broth which is why they should not be excluded from your broth. Several other nutrients like glutathione help to lower oxidative stress and eliminate fat-soluble compounds like lead and mercury.
Overall, nutrients like glycine, glutathione, and proline perform various functions that promote detoxification and kidney health. They help to protect the cells of the liver against hypoxia, reduce oxidative stress, and promote apoptosis.
Mood and Sleep
Bone broth has the ability to make you feel better and improve your sleep by promoting mental calmness and reducing anxiety. The main nutrient responsible for this is glycine which acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Several studies have also shown that people who take glycine before sleep generally sleep better and feel more energized.
Glycine is another important nutrient that affects bone health. It protects against neuronal death after ischemic stroke and may be involved in the development of the brain in the womb.
Other nutrients like calcium are vital for nerve conduction such that deficiencies in the nutrient lead to depression, insomnia, and hyperactivity.
Bone broth contains several beneficial nutrients that promote eye health. The main nutrient involved is the Glycosaminoglycans, This nutrient performs a number of functions like supporting the development of neural pathways in the retina, promoting the transparency of the cornea and stimulating the proliferation of the epithelial cells that line the cornea.
Glycine is also essential to eye health and has been shown to inhibit the development of cataract in rats.
Glycosaminoglycans and collagen have been shown to be important nutrients that promote skin health. Collagen has been used severally to promote tissue regeneration and heal wounds, while other nutrients like gelatin are able to protect the skin from UV-induced skin damage. Glycosaminoglycans help promote skin hydration by increasing the presence of retinoic acid. It also promotes skin cell proliferation, cell turnover and wound repair.
Bone broth boosts performance and muscle repair by promoting the synthesis of hemoglobin and myoglobin – these are responsible for the transportation of oxygen throughout the muscle tissue. The main nutrient in bone broth responsible for this is glycine. It also increases creatine levels thus causing an increase in anaerobic exercise capacity.
Several studies have shown that other nutrients like proline would play a role in enhancing muscle protein synthesis. Another nutrient, phosphorus is very important as it is required for the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the chemical form of energy in the body. Deficiency in this nutrient leads to reduced muscle performance and several other health conditions.
How To Get Bone Broth
Bone broth is being sold by many stores and e-commerce platforms in the US. Popular options include Kettle and Fire, Brodo, and Epic Provisions. Sites like Brodo have physical stores in New York but if you live far from their stores, you can order online and have it delivered to you.
Unfortunately, these sites charge high fees for home delivery especially if you are buying in small quantities. If you want to save cost on delivery you can try out e-commerce sites like Amazon.
Buying bone broth is not the only way to get bone broth, you can also make bone broth at home by following the basic bone broth recipe below
Homemade Bone Broth Recipe
For this recipe, you can use any kind of bone you want, however, the most popular bone options are chicken and beef. If you are going for chicken, ensure you get the feet and neck and as for beef, go for oxtails and short ribs.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Vegetables, spices, and herbs (celery, carrot, onions, oregano, parsley, etc)
You can choose to roast the bones to improve the flavor or go ahead with raw bones, however, make sure the bones have a good amount of meat on them. Bare bones tend to leave a sour taste which could make it difficult to consume.
- Take out a large pot and place the bones in it. Fill the pot with water till the bones are completely submerged then add a good amount of apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Add all the vegetables, spices and herbs that you like (the examples listed above are optional but will improve the flavor of the broth). Make sure the water covers all the ingredients then start cooking.
- Heat the mixture till it comes to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Scoop off any foam that forms at the top with a big spoon. Make sure the lid is open and keep scooping for the first hour.
- Close the lid and allow the broth to simmer for about 24 hours. (if you are using fish bones, it should be ready in 8 hours)
- When done, strain the broth through a sieve and pour the liquid into large containers.
- Allow it to cool for sometime before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer. The broth can last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and for several months in the freezer.
- When ready to serve, reheat the broth to the desired temperature and add any seasoning or spices you like to boost the taste.
With these many benefits, it is easy to see why many people would spend 48 hours preparing their bone broth. If you don’t have the time to make your own bone broth you can always try out the bone broth brands listed above as they make the perfect bone broth.