Is Bone Broth Good for Me?

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on August 22, 2019 · 0 comments

Bone broth is one of the hottest foods on the market today. Marketers promise healthy skin, decreased joint pain, improved immune system, and better digestive health. Can bone broth deliver on these promises?

Bone broth can be homemade or store bought but either way, it is a stock made by slowly simmering animal bones and skin for 5 to 24 hours to release collagen and gelatin. When chilled it becomes thick because of the amount of gelatin in the broth.

Brand marketing makes bone broth sound like it can magically deliver these ingredients into your body to make you feel better or healthier, but protein digestion isn’t quite that simple.

When you eat protein, the body breaks it down into simpler amino acids and then puts the amino acids back together to form whatever structures are needed in the body. It is like scrambling the letters on this page and then putting them back together to form new words. This is what happens when you eat fish, chicken, beans, bone broth or any other food that has protein.

Just because you eat more collagen in bone broth doesn’t mean your body will use those amino acids from the collagen to make more collagen in your body.

Warm bone broth, like chicken soup, may relieve a stuffy nose but it is not a magic cure. There is limited evidence to show it improves immune function.

Bone broth is a good source of gelatin and some studies have shown that a combination of gelatin and tannic acids may help to repair the mucous lining of the digestive tract. However, there is no evidence that gelatin, on its own, can do the same thing.

Most bone broth is made with added salt and it naturally contains potassium and protein, so it is a good recovery beverage for people doing endurance activities like triathlons, long bike rides or marathons.

Bottom line: If you enjoy drinking bone broth, it can be part of a healthy diet. One cup of beef bone broth has about 30 calories, 7 grams of protein and 230 milligrams of sodium.

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