Bone Broth Health & Benefits
With overweight, obesity, and associated chronic diseases on the rise, pinpointing and executing the ultimate health potion is pursued. Combining the desire for a quick fix and the upraised claims of bone broth, the elixir only puts itself on a much higher pedestal. But what actually is bone broth and do its claims match our anticipations?
What Is Bone Broth?
Simply put, bone broth is a combination of water, animal bones, vegetables, and seasonings.
Though its relative (or stock) is often used interchangeably, the differentiating factors rests mostly in the cooking time and ingredients. Specifically, more animal meat is simmered for an average of three to four hours to produce a stock while the bone broth may be simmered for longer than a 24-hour day.
The longer simmering time is encouraged to release beneficial minerals from the bone and produce collagen from the joints, ultimately contributing to its proclaimed health benefits.
Health Benefits of Bone Broth
When it really comes down to the health benefits of bone broth, associated evidence marginally lacks and remains minimal at this time. However, its nutritional components have been claimed to support and improve the following:
1. Bone Health
The thought behind bone broth's role in bone health relates largely to its hopeful bone-strengthening collagen content. Additionally, the leaked out minerals during the simmering process may provide an ample supply of calcium.
But substituting calcium-rich foods (including milk and dairy products, leafy greens, and soybeans) for bone broth is mostly discouraged, especially until more sound evidence is established regarding bone broth's role in bone support.
With bone broth largely comprised of water, drinking it can certainly assist in hydration. Additionally, the electrolytes in the broth can replenish electrolytes lost through natural body processes of insensible losses and sweat, along with illness causing vomiting and diarrhea.
3. Digestive Health
Consuming bone broth has been suggestive to support digestive health. Its collagen and amino acid are implied to restore the intestinal lining, especially in the presence of a Celiac disease, inflammatory bowl disease (IBS), and other medical conditions.
The broth is also mentioned to be easily digested, ultimately reducing the risk of unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, including bloating and gas.
4. Immune Function
A strong immune system is largely dependent on good nutrition and the intake of bone broth has been suggested to strengthen the immune system, mostly related to its high mineral and bone marrow content.
A small study has further suggested individuals with an auto-immune experienced symptom relief following its intake. Additionally, sipping on bone broth can be quite soothing if dealing with a pesky cold.
5. Joint Health
Bone broth contains glucosamine, a major component of joint cartilage. Supplementing with glucosamine, largely derived from shells of shellfish or vegetable sources, is suggested to lubricate joints and prevent their breakdown.
Ample glucosamine may further ease osteoarthritis symptoms.
6. Muscle Growth and Maintenance
Bone broth contains valuable amino acids, or the building blocks of protein. A cup of bone broth is hinted to offer six grams of protein, an ample supply contributing to the daily recommendation of at least 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women per day.
7. Skin Health
Skin health, like bone support, also relies on collagen, as it the building block for skin and cartilage. Protein and amino acids further support skin structure and is proposed to offer shine and strength to hair and nails.
The Boney Truth
So should you be drinking bone broth? Most health experts do not see why not, though sipping on bone broth should not be perceived as the holy grail to health.
However, bone broth can support health by getting you in the kitchen for home cooking. Going back-to-basics, combining ingredients in the kitchen can lessen trips to a drive thru or convenience store. Consuming home-prepared, nutritionally-dense foods over purchased, processed items largely assists in health promotion.
The total health benefits package can include bone broth, but further requires foods of all groups, including whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean meats and fish, milk and dairy products, and nuts and seeds.
Glucosamine. Arthritis Foundation. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/glucosamine.php.