What's the deal with bone broth?
Bone broth is not actually new.
Way back 2,000 years before, bone broth is used in Chinese medicine to support digestive health and strengthen the kidneys. During the 12th century Egypt, physician Moses Maimonides, a rabbi and revered Jewish philosopher, prescribes chicken soup for colds and asthma. Bone broths and stocks have been used throughout history over various cultures because of its health benefits.
Further back, it is said that when our ancestors would kill an animal they consume every part of it starting from the vital organs such as the heart and liver. They consume bones last and the slow boiling allowed the nutrients and minerals to be more bioavailable. It turns out that this process of long boiling helps with easier digestion and absorption of key nutrients such as collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and some amino acids and essential minerals. Today, in the world of functional medicine, bone broth is one of the recommended food or supplement powder to help with health, mainly the gut.
But there are just a few things you need to know before getting into that bone broth cleanse or diet.
How Is Bone Broth Different from Regular Stock?
Bone broth and stock are often used interchangeably and confused with one another. But bone broths are usually cooked for several hours to get nutrients out of the bones and into the liquid. Be aware that not all bone broths are created equally. The preferred bones are from 100% grass-fed cows, lamb, bison and organic poultry bones. The more grass the animals eat the more nutritious the meat and bone. Conventionally raised animals are usually fed with GMO grains which are loaded with pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. These toxins get stored up in the fatty portions of the bone which you are ultimately consuming in a bone broth. A word of caution right here! If you can get your own stock bones from a trusted source and prepare your own bone broth, this will be better.
Aside from the bone source, the process of cooking is also important. A good quality bone broth should cook with bones for at least 5 hours and when refrigerated, it should have this gel-like texture. This is another sign of a quality broth packed with collagen and all the good stuffs.
What’s in the Bone?
Bones contain an abundant of minerals and amino acids. It is difficult to get the exact nutritional content because it will depend on the bones used, cooking time and cooking method. But, in general, here are the nutrients that you can find in bone broth.
We usually correlate collagen with just the skin. But did you know that collagen makes up about 30% of the protein in your body. It is not just the main component of your skin but also your connective tissues such as your cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone and skin. Collagen is also present in the blood vessels and your eyes.
By simmering collagen, you get gelatin. This process of hydrolysis leads to the breakdown of long collagen protein fibril into smaller peptides. This is why bone broth feels sticky and looks like Jell-O when cold.
GAGs are large and complex carbohydrates that are important in many biological processes as they interact with a wide range of proteins. These are your chondroitin sulfates and hyaluronic acid. They are the integral parts of connective tissue and synovial fluid.
Glycine is an amino acid that is essential for connective tissue function. It acts as a neurotransmitter, stimulating and inhibiting cells in the brain and central nervous system, affecting mood, cognition, appetite, digestion, immune function and sleep.
Proline is another amino acid found in collagen. Proline together with glycine, increases the stability of collagen like a biological glue that holds the structure together. These two amino acids are essential for healing micro wounds and helps suppress inflammatory activity.
Glutamine is another amino acid that is found in bone broth and also in your blood. It has been shown to support the intestinal lining when faced with inflammation.
Minerals that can be found in bone broth are Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc.
Reasons to Drink Bone Broth
It helps the digestive system remove waste and promotes the liver to remove toxins.
2- Supports Gut Health
It helps with “leaky gut” wherein microbes and protein “leak” into the bloodstream resulting to inflammatory response. Glutamine helps maintain the integrity of the gut mucosa and intestinal barrier. Glycine also shows to reduce the inflammation. Bone broth also helps with the growth of your gut microflora.
3- Maintains Healthy Skin
Multiple researches have shown that consuming collagen can significantly improve skin elasticity. Hyaluronic acid promotes skin cell proliferation and improves hydration.
4- Supports Healthy Bones and Joints
Because it contains raw minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, it helps in building healthy bones. The lubrication by GAGs, helps keep your joints healthy.
5- Supports Metabolic and Cardiovascular Health
Glycine plays a role in blood sugar regulation and has been shown to reduce methionine
Reasons NOT to Drink Bone Broth
You may be surprised to know that not everyone is fit to drink bone broth. Why is this?
There are some people who are struggling to metabolize histamines and glutamates, both of which are present in bone broth. If you have some histamine or glutamine intolerance, drinking bone broth may give you some problems instead of making you feel well. Some may experience headache, fatigue, disorientation and skin rash after consuming food high in histamines or glutamate.
This is whole another separate topic…
Another reason to be cautious about drinking bone broth is the potentially dangerous content it has.
Remember that bone broth is made by cooking bones for at least 5 hours so that the components inside the bones are extracted. If the animals where you get the bones are raised in a farm that is exposed to toxins from pesticides and herbicides, then expect their bones to be loaded up with heavy metal toxins. These toxins, such as lead and cadmium, tend to get stored in the bones and by drinking the broth with these bones can lead to the possibility of heavy metal consumption. Bone broth is usually marketed as a way to detoxify, but if done incorrectly and overdoing it may even lead to loading toxins instead.
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