Bone Broth for Health: 10 Surprising Benefits
For centuries, humans have made the most out of their resources, cooking hearty kitchen staples like bone broth to make sure no nutrient is left behind. Nowadays, cartons of bone broth decorate grocery store soup aisles. Many people use this complex broth simply for its flavor.
But what if we told you that, on its own, bone broth is a mighty drink with transformative health benefits? Nutritionists, celebrities, and health aficionados alike have kept bone broth’s nutrition-based culinary history alive by making good use of this ancient health food.
From amino acids to collagen, bone broth can offer a wealth of nutrients, proving that it’s much more than just a warm drink on a cold day. Here, we’ll learn more about bone broth and uncover 10 health benefits that might surprise you.
What Is Bone Broth?
Over 2,000 years ago, when home cooks had leftover animal bones and cartilage from previous meals, they boiled them down into a rich and hearty broth. This is how bone broth came to be!
This broth is seen all over the world, from “bouillon” in France to “caldo” in Latin America. At first, bone broth was just about saving resources. But what started as a tradition born of necessity has now become one of the greatest nutritional foods you can eat.
Essentially, bone broth is just what it sounds like: broth made of bones. In addition to bones (and the nourishing bone marrow within them), bone broth also typically includes collagen-rich components like joints, feet, hooves, and beaks, as well as hearty organs like gizzards.
Everything is slow-cooked in a large pot for up to 24 hours to extract the collagen and other essential nutrients. The resulting broth is rich, both in nutrition and flavor, and can be used to enhance chicken soup or stews, or even enjoyed on its own as a deeply nourishing hot drink.
Why Should You Drink Bone Broth?
This powerful superfood has a wide range of health benefits, both for your inner health and your outer appearance. Here are a few of the many reasons to add bone broth to your daily routine!
1. It Supports Skin Health
Bone broth is high in collagen, an essential protein that truly is the star of the healthy-skin show! This protein can help maintain your skin elasticity, which is your skin’s natural way of preventing wrinkles.
Beyond just contributing to younger-looking skin, collagen can also encourage strong hair and nails. It’s no wonder Dr. Kellyann calls bone broth an anti-aging superfood!
2. It Provides Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids help your body maintain and repair itself. Consider these the raw building blocks your body needs to create proteins like collagen.
Bone broth is a dietary source of many amino acids, such as proline, which can support your body’s natural wound-repairing abilities. Meanwhile, amino acids glycine and glutamine, along with cartilage components like chondroitin, all work together to strengthen your ligaments and other connective tissues, which are essential for exercise and flexibility.
Think of the amino acids in bone broth as the bricks for the foundation that literally keeps you together!
3. It Promotes Restful Sleep
The nutrients in bone broth can support your body’s natural production of serotonin, which is a feel-good hormone that helps to regulate your sleep cycle. Not only can serotonin convert to melatonin to help you fall asleep, but it can also help balance your internal clock.
The nutrients found in bone broth may also decrease that “midday slump” that tends to hit when you least expect it.
Even if you already get amazing sleep every night, you can still drink some bone broth in the evenings as a means to unwind and cater to a little self-care — honestly, who doesn’t love a warm drink before bed?
4. It Contains Calcium and Magnesium
Considering that bone broth is made of bones, it’s no surprise that bone broth may help your bones. Besides promoting strong bones and teeth, the calcium that occurs naturally in bone broth may also help regulate our heart and nerve functions.
Bone broth also contains magnesium, which can also support energy production, digestion, and muscle health.
And, while you can take supplements and pills to get these extra nutrients, why not make it a little more interesting with a cup of beef or chicken bone broth?
5. It Offers a Decent Helping of Electrolytes
It’s time to toss aside those sugary sports drinks and look to bone broth for hydration. Grass-fed beef bone broth contains potassium, an electrolyte that plays a crucial role in keeping your body hydrated. Chondroitin is a compound that occurs naturally in bone broth and helps connective tissue to absorb more moisture.
It’s no wonder many athletes and bodybuilders make the switch to bone broth!
Bone broth also contains sodium and other necessary minerals that can help you to avoid muscle cramps. So, if you’re starting a new fitness regimen or plan to build muscle, bone broth may be a match made in heaven for your salt intake!
6. It Can Help Promote Digestive Health
Gelatin is a key portion of what makes this superfood so special. And no, we’re not talking about the wobbly, colorful dessert.
Gelatin is what gives high-quality bone broth its richness. This surprising protein can actually support your digestive system by helping your colon absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
In turn, this may promote regular intestinal movements, helping to keep your body’s natural waste management system in check.
7. It Supports Joint Health
Sometimes, a good stretch in the morning just doesn’t cut it. Our joints need the proper nutrients to remain limber and flexible in order to keep up with our busy routines.
Plus, joints and other cartilage are made up of 60 percent collagen, our favorite protein. This means that it’s important to provide your body with collagen to help promote healthy joints.
What better way to ensure that your tendons and ligaments receive the collagen they need than with a cup of protein-packed bone broth? You may just notice a little extra support during your morning yoga routine!
8. It Helps Support Gut Health
Your gut naturally maintains a microbiome of good bacteria to aid with digestion and immunity. But, sometimes, your gut needs a little help to balance out the bad bacteria that live in that microbiome, too.
Bone broth contains glutamine, an amino acid that helps support your gut microbiome. Plus, collagen can help support your intestinal lining, which ultimately helps with nutrient absorption. With all these factors combined, bone broth can support your overall digestion, which can also extend positive effects to your immune system.
9. It Can Help You Get Your Daily Veggies Intake, Too!
A lot of hearty vegetables are often added to bone broth recipes, which can help provide a rainbow of nutrients. If you’re making bone broth at home, try adding in veggies like carrots and celery to give your broth more flavor and nutritional value. For an additional flavor kick, try adding a little apple cider vinegar or red pepper.
Altogether, this superfood can be a great way to increase your vegetable intake, even by adding steamed veggies to ready-to-eat broth.
Plus, making sure you’re eating your vegetables can mean getting fiber, iron, phosphorus, and other vitamins essential for a nutritious, well-rounded meal.
10. It Fits Into Many Diet Plans
Considering all the nutrients bone broth has to offer, you might think it’s heavy on the calories. You’ll be glad to hear it’s quite the opposite! Because of the nature of its ingredients, bone broth is able to be both a high-protein yet low-calorie, low-carb drink.
This means that a cup of bone broth can keep you feeling fuller for longer, making it a great fasting option. It’s also okay to include in a keto, gluten-free, or paleo diet.
On top of that, grass-fed bone broth doesn’t contain GMOs or dairy. No matter the circumstance, a bone broth diet can be a perfect starting point for any new weight loss journey!
Bone Broth: Plenty of Benefits for Your Overall Health
The health benefits of bone broth are plentiful — it’s no wonder why so many of our past cultures have turned to this protein source for decades. Happiness and health start with what we allow into our bodies, after all!
Throw your excess animal bones into a slow cooker, or avoid the cooking time altogether by enjoyingthe best-selling ready-made broths from Dr. Kellyann.
Who knows — like much of our previous generations, you may end up calling it your own personal “fountain of youth.”
Bone Broth: How to Make It & Why You Should | Cleveland Clinic
Blog | What are the benefits of collagen? | Reid Health
Collagen for Your Skin: Healthy or Hype? | Cedars-Sinai
All About Calcium in Your Diet and Heart Health | Cleveland Clinic