Bone broth is one of those food trends. It has been around for decades but gaining some attention recently. Some nutritionists and health fanatics claim bone broth is a miracle food that can alleviate a host of health issues. To start, bone broth is a type of broth that is made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue, such as chicken or beef bones, for an extended period of time, typically 12-24 hours. Basically it is like any other broth (chicken, vegetable, etc.). The primary difference is some of the added nutrients found in bone broth. The slow cooking process allows for the release of collagen, gelatin, and various minerals from the bones, resulting in a nutrient-dense and flavorful liquid. Due to the rich nutrient content, it is often praised for health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at these claims and if there is research to back them up.
Improves gut heath: This claim is based on the premise that the gelatin in bone broth may help repair the lining of the gut and improve digestion. There is little literature available to support this claim. One study reported an improvement in ulcerative colitis symptom but the authors theorize this was due to decreased inflammation. Additionally, bone broth contains amino acids such as glutamine, which directly supports gut health and function. Bone broth may be a good alternative if you are suffering from gastrointestinal issues such as the stomach bug. Consuming bland foods is recommended to minimize any additional stress. Bone broth would be a great option and adds some extra protein while recovering. Overall, bone broth has components that support gut health but there is not enough literature to say it “improves gut heath”.
Supports joint/bone health: Bone broth is a rich source of collagen. Although there is very little literature on the direct effects of bone broth on joint health, there is a plethora of research on the effects of collagen in the body. Collagen is a type of protein that is found throughout the body, including in the skin, bones, tendons, and muscles. It is essential for maintaining the structure and strength of these tissues. Collagen is a major component of cartilage, which is the tissue that cushions the joints. Collagen supplements may help reduce joint pain and improve joint function in people with osteoarthritis. Bone broth is high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are important for bone health. Based on the nutrients found in this broth, this claim is true!
Supports immune function: Bone broth is rich in minerals and amino acids that are important for immune function, including zinc, magnesium, and glutamine. Similar to the claim related to joint and bone health, there is scant research on the direct effects of bone broth on immunity. On the other hand, there is scores of research highlighting the role of the various nutrients and their effects on the immune system. Based on the nutrients found in this broth, this claim is true! There is a reason why grandmas always serve chicken soup when you are sick or the Jewish culture refers to chicken broth as “Jewish penicillin”.
Bone broth can be consumed on its own or used as a base for soups, stews, and other recipes. It can be made with a variety of animal bones, including chicken, beef, pork, and fish, and can be flavored with herbs, spices, and vegetables to suit individual tastes. Most of the benefits attributed to bone broth seem to be a bit exaggerated and not yet supported by robust scientific research. However, bone broth is a rich source of important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential for overall health and well-being.
Cassie Evans is a registered dietitian and a published researcher. She has studied sports nutrition and completed an internship with the University of Miami Sports Nutrition Team and Nova Southeastern University’s sports performance team. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sports Science and received her CISSN in 2018. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Human and Sports Performance from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.
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