Bone Broth For Health Optimization

November 1, 2019

 

There is not a week that goes by that I don't mention the benefits of bone broth. Common in many cultures, broths made from animal bones are used as a health tonic with benefits that range from general wellness and disease prevention to high-end athletic performance. Broth-drinking is trending into popularity. With that said, let's take a look, or better yet a sip at the guide below. You'll then have a better understanding of why you may want to add bone broth to your nutritional protocol.

 

What Is Bone Broth?

 

It's basically a soup, right? Bone broths are the result of simmering animal bones, vegetables, and spices in water. Many types of animals are used with chicken, beef, pork, and fish being the most common, Some include meat in addition to the bones for flavor. 

The heat and cooking time (usually around 24 hours) draws the collagen out of the bones and connective tissues into the water, creating a gel-like consistency that is full of nutrient-dense liquid that can serve as the base for soups, stews, and many other meals. There is a growing trend of people drinking their bone broth in place of coffee. If this concept is new for you, no worries, it tastes better than it sounds. 

 

Difference Between Bone Broth, Stock, and Bouillon 

 

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between broth, stock & bouillon? Many use these terms interchangeably, but, technically speaking, there are differences. Regular broths aren't made with bones. They're cooked for shorter periods (up to two hours) and are the base used in most soups. A standard broth typically remains liquid when chilled. Bone broth, on the other hand, will turn to jelly when cooled due to its collagen content.

Stock is made with the same animal parts as a bone broth but cooked four to six hours, and generally isn't seasoned until later. The collagen release is enough that, when chilled, the stock will have a gelatinous consistency just like bone broth. Or at the very least, it will have a thick solid layer on top. It's often used to create sauce or gravy.

Bouillon is dehydrated broth or stock—hence bouillon cubes or powders—and is used as a substitute. Time-saving recipes will often call for bouillon instead of broth because a cube or powder can be added to water to produce a flavorful broth quickly. However, bouillon is filled with preservatives, which is the reason I don't recommend using them.

 

Health Benefits of Bone Broth

 

Here's a quick rundown of why broths are awesome #AF

 

Immune Booster
 

Broths/Soups are most famous in pop culture for being a remedy for the common cold. With chicken soup being the legendary champ in this regard. If you've ever had a deli-style matzo ball soup, are Jewish brethren often refer to it as "Jewish penicillin." While there's little hard science to show that bone broths fight off colds, there is some common sense that supports it. The symptoms of colds are generally inflammatory. Bone broths fuel the body with key minerals, enzymes, proteins, and fats, but with minimal inflammatory distress (all meals create varying levels of inflammation), and while giving the immune system what it needs to fight.

The anti-inflammatory nature of bone broth is beginning to show some research support. A recent study exposed immune system cells to a bowl of traditional chicken soup in a Petri dish. It found that some components of it had an anti-inflammatory effect that could—theoretically—reduce symptoms of illness. The researchers concluded that the soup "may contain several substances with beneficial medicinal activity."

Finally, as bone broths contain collagen—the protein that serves as the main component of connective tissue—they're rich in amino acids. One of which is glycine. Glycine has been shown to stimulate the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in preventing disease.

 

 Promotes Healthy Gut
 

The gut is lined with cells that are covered by a layer of mucus and microbes. The standard American diet(SAD) has been shown to break down the mucus layer and allow microbes and food you eat to creep through your gut lining and enter your bloodstream, creating an inflammatory condition known as "leaky gut." The glycine in bone broth can come to the rescue.

Glycine and gelatin in bone broth are major players in what's needed to keep the lining of your gut in good condition. Your body uses them to make the cells that make the lining of your gut healthier, so you don't end up with permeability. Gelatin absorbs water, which helps maintain the layer of mucus that keeps the gut microbes away from the intestinal barrier. Gelatin and glycine help to reduce inflammation in the gut.

 

Quicker healing
 

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are carbohydrates that bond with proteins to make up connective tissue and the synovial fluid that lubricate your joints. During cooking, GAGs infuse into the broth, bringing with them the raw materials that your skin, bone, tendons, and ligaments are made of.

One type of GAG is dermatan sulfate, which, acts on cells in many different ways, including helping them regenerate and repair wounds. Bone broth can help prevent diseases like osteopenia/osteoporosis from occurring in the first place. Still, it can also help recover from injuries and recovery from workouts in general. I cracked a rib when I was mountain biking a few years back, and also when I fell and knocked my tooth out drank a lot of bone broth and was able to recover very quickly. Research and Opinion found that athletes who supplemented with collagen experienced less joint pain. In 2015, the Los Angeles Lakers acknowledged downing gallons of bone broth to aid recovery, with Kobe Bryant himself naming it as a factor in helping him come back from a ruptured Achilles and fractured knee. In full transparency, who knows what else the "Black Mamba" was doing to speed recovery, but bone broth was a piece of his healing protocol.

 

Bone Broth For Fitness

 

Apart from its potential to aid in recovery, bone broth can benefit active people and athletes in several important ways. For one thing, it's a good source of protein, packing six to 12 grams per cup.  Bone broth has superior ingredients for your body to build muscle—but even a quick slurp counts toward your daily goal. Bone broth's macronutrients vary a bit depending on the animal it's sourced from, but it's very low in carbs and fat and averages around 50 calories per cup.

The component parts of bone broth's protein also play various roles in strength and performance. Glycine, along with arginine, boosts creatine levels in muscle cells, the energy source that powers quick-burst power exercise — another property of glycine: increased growth hormone (hGH). A Metabolism study found that glycine supplementation induced higher hGH secretion from the pituitary gland.

Now, no one's saying that mainlining bone broth will transform you into The Rock. Still, if bone broth's components contribute to muscle and performance so directly, you can imagine how a deficiency of these key nutrients in your diet could rob you of your wellness. Such deficiencies do exist, especially in people who fancy themselves "fit."

There are studies in animals that have shown that a high-protein intake over a lifetime could lead to an increased risk of cancer. The issue here isn't protein in general but a specific amino acid within it—methionine—which is present in high amounts in lean meats, such as chicken breast and eggs. There's nothing wrong with methionine, per se, but high intakes of it without sufficient amounts of synergistic nutrients like those from vegetables could increase one's risk of cancer. If you're a physique-conscious person who pounds protein, you could be at a higher risk.

The solution, in general, is to eat more nose to tail, consuming all parts of the animal and not just the leanest cuts. (For this reason, bone broth is popular among people who follow caveman/Paleo diets.) Organ meats, for instance, contain glycine, which helps to balance out methionine levels. But how many people do you know who love the taste of chicken liver?

Organ meats are more of a stretch for some people to work into their diets, but bone broth, which contains many of the same nutrients, including glycine, is one of the tastiest ways to balance out the potential effects of excess methionine.

 

What Can You Do With Bone Broth?

 

Bone broth is excellent as a base for soups, sauces, and stews. It can also be heated up and drunk straight (like sipping the broth out of a mug). I enjoy browning ground beef and adding beef broth, stewed tomatoes, sea salt, and spices to flavor and raise the healing potential of it. Note that beef bone broth is more gelatinous than chicken and most other types of bone broth. You can mix it with chicken broth in a 50/50 combo to keep the thick consistency and enhance the flavor.

While bone broth commonly used as a hot liquid, it's much more diverse and can be an ingredient in almost any kind of food you choose to make. As it's flavor-neutral without seasoning, bone broth makes an excellent carrier for other superfoods like turmeric, cayenne, ginger, and garlic, extending its taste options well beyond chicken soup while boosting its nutritional value even higher. Add oil and spices and simmer off the liquid to make a salad dressing, or let it replace butter and milk in a creamy mashed potatoes recipe. You can use bone broth as a marinade, in place of water when cooking rice or quinoa, or heat a mug's worth with some herbs to brew a delicious tea.

I suggest adding emulsified MCT oil to expand the range of flavors even more and boost levels of healthy fats. Drop a tablespoon of ginger-flavored MCT into a cooked broth to make an instant spicy tea-like drink. French Onion flavor can be added to a beef bone broth and topped with organic cheese and croutons for a healthy, hearty french onion soup.

 

Hope you're thinking of ways to get bone broth in your diet. Here's to your wellness!

 

Track Of The Day - Bad To The Bone - George Thorogood

 

  

 

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