Bone broth has been around for millennia, but the hype around it is definitely recent. You probably noticed there’s a growing market of bone broth recipes, supplements, and food products. This is largely thanks to the growing popularity of Paleo and keto diets.
The health benefits of bone broth are — of course — the main reason why it’s so popular. This alleged elixir is rich in micronutrients and amino acids. It’s also said to help prevent and even reverse many inflammatory conditions.
In case you’re curious what bone broth is: It’s simply stock that’s made by simmering bones (usually with marrow) anywhere from 45 minutes to several days. Home cooks will sometimes add meat, vegetables, herbs, and spices for added nutrition and flavor. The long cooking time helps leach out nutrients from the bones, and you can then use this liquid as is or in meal preparation.
Those who want the benefits of bone broth without the hassle can buy it pre-made. For example as Keto Bone Broth, a flavorful instant bone broth with keto benefits. But you can buy countless other keto bone broths to go with your daily macros.
If you want to know more about what you gain from bone broth, here are the top benefits explained.
Studies suggest bone broth provides only around 5% of the recommended daily level for vitamins and minerals.12. But the macronutrient composition of broth varies greatly depending on ingredients and cooking time, so you may or may not get vitamins and minerals from it depending on broth type and brand.
Where bone broth always shines, though, is in its protein, fat, and sodium content.
Most protein in bone broth comes in the form of collagen, a structural protein found in connective tissue. Fat in bone broth comes mainly from bone marrow, which also provides protein and to some extent B vitamins. As for sodium — the added salt is why it’s there. Its inclusion can be helpful for keto-ers going through keto flu.
Bone broth is mostly water, which is great for rehydrating. Its sodium can also help boost hydration, especially from fluid loss due to exercise, sweating, or keto flu. That’s because all these things can deplete your sodium levels, and sodium is an electrolyte essential for fluid balance 3.
Bone broth soup made with low-carb vegetables is more likely to contain essential minerals and electrolytes, which further boosts its hydrating properties. These minerals may include calcium, potassium, magnesium, and others. Some brands will include these to boost their hydrating and nutritional properties.
3. Could Strengthen the Bones
The protein found in bone broth may help keep your bones strong. Truth be told, most studies linking these proteins to bone health did not use bone broth but the hydrolyzed form of its proteins: collagen peptides 4. These studies often show that regular consumption of collagen peptides leads to stronger bones.
Why dietary collagen does this is a bit of a mystery, but researchers believe these proteins act as signaling molecules that stimulate bone formation, leading to greater bone mineral density. Taking bone broth alongside bone-building nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D could help boost this effect.
Collagen makes up a big portion of your skin, keeping it firm, hydrated, and healthy. Its production tends to decline as we age, unfortunately, but there are ways you could slow down this process. One way is by taking collagen from food or supplements.
Clinical research shows taking collagen supplements can improve how your skin looks by boosting elasticity, hydration, and even collagen levels 5. While bone broth collagen isn’t the same thing as supplements, it could still work. Both sources contain the same amino acids linked to these benefits, namely glycine, proline, hydroxyproline 6.
5. Can Help with Leaky Gut
Leaky gut refers to a condition where the intestinal lining, for some reason, becomes “leaky.” This causes toxins and pathogenic microorganisms to penetrate it, leading to inflammation and problems with the health of your digestive tract and beyond. Some medical conditions can lead to leaky gut, and some researchers have linked it to imbalanced gut bacteria 7.
An in-vitro study from 2017 found that some of the proteins in collagen improve the functioning and health of the intestinal barrier 8. Bone broth enthusiasts have claimed for a long time that this is exactly what collagen can do, and now it seems we’re seeing studies suggesting this to be the case.
6. May Help Treat Cold Symptoms
Chicken soup is a traditional remedy for colds, and it seems there seems to be a scientifically valid reason for this. An in-vitro study from 2000 found that chicken soup inhibited the migration of white blood cells 9. When you have a cold, most symptoms — stuffy nose, pain, and mucus production — are a result of white blood cells migrating to your nose.
In other words, chicken soup has a mild anti-inflammatory effect. Unfortunately, the researchers were unable to identify which ingredient in the soup was responsible for this. Nonetheless, it could very well be amino acids and other anti-inflammatory compounds you can find in chicken bone broth.
Cartilage tissue covering your joints is two-thirds collagen. It can wear down due to age-related or other wear and tear, which is known as osteoarthritis. Some diseases can also damage joint cartilage.
One meta-analysis found that collagen supplementation can reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis 10. Researchers believe that your body can use supplemental collagen to help rebuild cartilage. It’s still debated whether bone broth collagen can have the same effects, but many seem to believe that it works.
Bone broth is everywhere these days. Some even say it’s the new coffee. But most people aren’t jumping on the bone broth bandwagon for its tastiness (although, it can be delicious) but because of the many health benefits of bone broth.
From helping you rehydrate to supporting the health of your bones, joints, and even gut, there’s a lot to gain from bone broth. At least that’s what many believe it does. Unfortunately, research on bone broth health benefits is new, so we’ll need to wait before we know for sure how and if it works.
If you too are thinking about adding this healthy elixir to your menu, definitely consider going for homemade broth by following bone broth recipes. And if you’d like to go the easier route, store-bought, instant, and supplemental bone broth is the way to go!