Bone broth is a nourishing drink that has stood the test of time. Beyond being a comforting and flavorsome drink, bone broth boasts a rich nutritional profile that includes essential minerals, collagen, and amino acids. In this post, we will explore its many potential health benefits and discover how this timeless elixir may contribute to your overall well-being, from supporting bone and joint health to enhancing the vitality of skin, hair, and nails.
Affordable Source of Quality Nutrients
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense liquid made by simmering bones, such as beef, pork, chicken, or fish, along with vegetables, herbs, and sometimes spices. The specific nutrient content can vary depending on the type of bones used, the ingredients included in the broth, and the duration of simmering. Generally, bone broth made using roasted bones as its main ingredient and cooked for 8 to 24 hours would be more nutrient-rich than broth made from vegetables and simmered for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Collagen: Derived from the connective tissues and bones, collagen is a protein that provides structure to the skin, joints, and other tissues.
- Amino Acids: Bone broth contains various amino acids, including proline, glycine, glutamine, and arginine. These are the building blocks of proteins and play essential roles in numerous physiological processes.
- Minerals: Bones are rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential for bone health and various metabolic functions.
- Gelatin: As collagen breaks down during the cooking process, it forms gelatin, which can support joint health and contribute to the texture of the broth.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These compounds, found in the cartilage and connective tissues of bones, may have potential benefits for joint health.
- Electrolytes: Bone broth can contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which are important for fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions.
- Vitamins: Depending on the ingredients used, bone broth may contain vitamins such as B vitamins (especially B12), vitamin D, and other fat-soluble vitamins.
If you aim to minimize waste and extract maximum nutritional value from minimal resources, consider saving bones from dishes like leg roasts, rib roasts, t-bone steaks, lamb shanks, chicken drumsticks, chicken wings, or pork knuckles. Store these bones in a bag in the freezer until you’ve collected enough for a sizable pot of bone broth. Alternatively, you can also purchase bones from the butcher at a very affordable price.
As broth is nutrient-dense and can be made from bones that might otherwise be discarded or purchased inexpensively, it becomes an accessible and budget-friendly dietary addition for those seeking a nourishing source of high-quality nutrients.
Improve Gut Health
Although there is no direct study linking bone broth consumption with improved gut health, bone broth is packed with gut-friendly nutrients like collagen, gelatin, and amino acids such as glycine and glutamine which have been found to support the integrity of the intestinal lining. These compounds aid in repairing and maintaining the mucosal layer of the gut, contributing to a healthy and robust digestive system.
The gelatin in bone broth, derived from collagen, has been linked to improved gut health by suppressing inflammation, regulating gut microbiota, re-establishing gut homeostasis, and improving gut barrier and digestion. Additionally, the amino acid glycine, found in bone broth, plays a role in the synthesis of collagen and helps regulate inflammation in the gut, protect the small intestine and promote gut healing. [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]
Incorporating bone broth into your diet, therefore, may offer a nourishing and soothing effect on the digestive tract, making it a convenient and affordable choice for those seeking to nurture and maintain gut health.
Skin, Hair and Nail Health
Drinking bone broth can support your skin, hair, and nail health primarily due to its high collagen content. Although collagen consumption does not automatically become collagen in your body, it provides the necessary nutrients for your body to synthesize new collagen and support your overall health and well-being.
Collagen is a key structural protein that provides elasticity and strength to the skin, hair, and nails. Consuming bone broth introduces collagen into the body, which is broken down into amino acids during digestion. These amino acids, particularly proline and glycine, play essential roles in the synthesis of new collagen in your body, contributing to improved skin elasticity and hydration. Collagen also supports the health of hair by promoting strength and shine and may contribute to the resilience and growth of nails.
Research indicates that collagen supplementation offers notable benefits to skin health, particularly in supporting wound healing and diminishing wrinkle formation. Additionally, it contributes to enhanced skin elasticity, hydration, collagen content, density, and synthesis – attributes closely linked to age-related skin damage. Furthermore, there is evidence suggesting that gelatin, the broken-down form of collagen, may aid in supporting hair growth, resulting in fuller and thicker locks. [14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]
In summary, the combination of collagen and the nutrient-rich profile of bone broth makes it a valuable addition to a balanced diet for enhancing the health and appearance of skin, hair, and nails.
Drinking bone broth may help support joint health due to its rich composition of collagen, gelatin, and amino acids. Some people do find relief from joint pain and inflammation from taking collagen supplement although more research is needed to establish a clear connection. [21, 22]
Collagen, a key protein in bones, tendons, and ligaments, provides essential support to joints. When bone broth is consumed, collagen is broken down into amino acids, such as proline, lysine, and glycine, which play vital roles in maintaining the integrity and strength of joint tissues. Collagen supplement has been found to significantly reduce pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis, support cartilage regeneration, and improve joint mobility and functionality. Additionally, compounds like glucosamine and chondroitin found in bone broth contribute to the protection and repair of cartilage, promoting overall joint function. [23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29]
Regular consumption of bone broth, therefore, can be a natural and nutritious way to support joint health, potentially reducing stiffness and promoting flexibility in the joints.
Drinking bone broth supports bone health primarily due to its rich content of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are integral to bone structure and strength. For example, one gram of dry rib cattle bone is estimated as containing 204 mg, 108mg and 6mg of calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium respectively. 
Additionally, bone broth contains collagen, a protein that makes up a significant portion of bones and provides a framework for mineral deposition. As the body digests collagen, it breaks down into amino acids which play critical roles in collagen synthesis and overall bone maintenance. Collagen supplementation has been found to enhance bone strength, density, and mass, improves joint mobility and functionality, and reduces pain, contributing to an overall improvement in structural integrity. [31, 32]
In short, the combination of these minerals and collagen-derived amino acids in bone broth contributes to overall bone health. It should be noted that, in addition to providing your body with those essential nutrients for bone formation, getting enough vitamin D and engaging in sufficient resistance exercises are also equally important for your bone health. [33, 34]
Drinking bone broth may provide support to the immune system owing to its rich nutritional content. The amino acids found in bone broth, such as glycine and arginine, play essential roles in immune function, contributing to the production of antibodies and supporting the body’s defense mechanisms. Additionally, the presence of minerals like zinc and magnesium, which are vital for immune cell activity, adds to the immune-boosting potential of bone broth. Furthermore, the gelatin in bone broth may have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to modulate the immune response. The broth’s ability to soothe and nourish the digestive tract is noteworthy, as a significant portion of the immune system resides in the gut. While more research is needed, the combination of these immune-supportive elements makes bone broth a nutritious addition that may contribute to overall immune health.
Bone broth can be beneficial for brain health due to its rich nutrient profile, including essential amino acids, collagen, and minerals.
The amino acids present, such as glycine and proline, play crucial roles in neurotransmitter function and communication within the brain, potentially supporting cognitive functions and mental clarity.
Collagen, a primary component of bone broth, contributes to the structural integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which regulates the passage of substances between the blood and the brain.
Additionally, the minerals found in bone broth, including magnesium and phosphorus, are essential for nerve function and overall brain health. The gelatin in bone broth may also have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially reducing inflammation in the brain.
While more research is needed, incorporating bone broth into a balanced diet may offer nutritional support for maintaining cognitive function and promoting overall brain health.
Electrolyte Rich Hydration
Bone broth serves as an excellent electrolyte drink due to its rich mineral content, including potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These essential minerals play a crucial role in maintaining proper electrolyte balance within the body, facilitating nerve function, muscle contractions, and fluid balance.
Unlike commercial sports drinks that often contain added sugars and artificial additives, bone broth provides a natural and nutrient-dense alternative. The sodium content in bone broth also aids in rehydration, making it a particularly valuable option for replenishing electrolytes after physical exertion, illness, or dehydration.
The combination of minerals and other bioactive compounds in bone broth not only contributes to hydration but also supports overall health, making it a wholesome and flavorful choice for those seeking a reliable electrolyte boost.
How to Incorporate Bone Broth into Your Diet
Here are several ways you can enjoy bone broth:
- Sipping It Straight: Simply heat up a cup of bone broth and drink it as you would tea or coffee. This is a straightforward way to enjoy its warmth and benefits.
- Soup Base: Use condense bone broth as a base for soups and stews. Replace water or regular broth with bone broth in your favorite soup recipes to enhance flavor and nutritional content.
- Sauces and Gravies: Use bone broth as a base for sauces and gravies. It can add richness and flavor to dishes like gravies for meat and poultry.
- Braising and Cooking: Use bone broth as a cooking liquid when braising meats. It can infuse your dishes with a savory taste and provide additional nutrients.
- Smoothies: Add a small amount of bone broth to your morning smoothie. This is a less traditional but effective way to incorporate its nutrients into your routine.
- Egg Soup: Make a simple egg soup by slowly pouring beaten eggs into hot bone broth while stirring. This creates ribbons of cooked egg in the broth.
- Freezing in Ice Cube Trays: Freeze bone broth in ice cube trays, and then use the cubes as needed. This makes it convenient to add small amounts to recipes without thawing an entire container.
- Sipping Before Meals: Consider sipping on a cup of bone broth before meals. Some people find that it helps with digestion and can be a satisfying appetizer.
If you are on a carnivore diet and want to make your own bone broth, please check out this simple recipe. If you want to buy bone broth, please look for options with minimal additives and high-quality ingredients such as grass-fed beef bones.
While our ancestors didn’t consume bone broth, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. With the challenge of adopting a nose-to-tail eating approach and the rapid decline in food quality, combined with living in the most toxic environment ever, incorporating a cost-effective and nutrient-dense beverage like bone broth into our diet is a logical choice that offers numerous proven health benefits.
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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for reference purposes only and is not intended to constitute or replace professional medical advice. Please consult a qualified medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle. Please check out our disclaimer for more detail.