Bone broth exploded in popularity a few years ago and, given its myriad of extraordinary health benefits, the chances are good it’s here to stay. Basically like soup (minus the solid ingredients like meat), bone broth is made by simmering roasted bones of beef, chicken, or pork, sometimes with vegetables and seasonings, for a long time, typically for around eight hours, though sometimes for up to 24 hours.
Bone broth is incredibly rich in protein and other trace minerals, making it a healthy and nutritious food that’s easy and economical to make.
Adding a bit of bone broth to your daily meal plan may help to boost your immune system, give you healthier bones, and even improve your skin. The benefits are many, and some may even surprise you. Here are 21 of them:
1. Loaded with protein
Bone broth is a hearty source of protein, which has many science-backed health benefits, including helping build muscle and improve bone density.1,2 Many of the amino acids in protein, like glycine, also have a variety of benefits, including improving memory and mental health.3,4 Drinking bone broth daily will help keep both body and mind strong.
2. Extremely nourishing
We all remember coming down with the cold or flu and craving something nourishing to alleviate the symptoms. Bone broth is like chicken soup on steroids, packed with protein and comforting on another level.5One of the reasons bone broth is so popular, in addition to being incredibly healthy, is that it soothes and replenishes like nothing else.
3. Boosts the immune system
Bone broth made from chicken bones may bolster the immune system. A study published in 2000 states that chicken soup may “contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity.”6 People eating chicken soup seemed to experience a decrease in inflammation in the chest that occurred from having the common cold or flu. Thus, a broth made from chicken bones may have a similar effect, and be a particularly good idea anytime you’re feeling a little under the weather.
4. Replenishes electrolytes
Bone broth may help replenish electrolytes after a vigorous workout session. When we work out and sweat, we lose important electrolytes that leave us feeling dehydrated and sluggish.
Electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, are minerals in your body that are essential for maintaining certain bodily functions, like blood chemistry and muscle action.7 Bone broth not only rehydrates the body, but, as it is rich in sodium, it also replaces all the sodium lost from sweating profusely.8
5. Reduces appetite and hunger
Because bone broth is so rich in protein, it may help reduce both appetite and hunger levels.9 Protein makes you feel more full than fats or carbohydrates, thus keeping you from reaching for that granola bar or bag of chips when you’re craving a little something extra after dinner.
6. Aids in weight loss
As bone broth reduces your appetite, a bonus side effect is that it may also help you lose weight. In one study, overweight women whose protein intake was increased from 15% to 30% ended up eating 441 fewer calories during the day.10 Losing excess belly fat, then, can be as simple as replacing a meal or between-meal snack with a mug of broth instead.
7. Increases muscle mass
Protein and amino acids are the building blocks of muscle.11 The protein in bone broth can help you build more muscle, making you leaner and stronger as a result.12 Having increased muscle mass has its own benefits, including a buffed-up metabolism and a potentially easier recovery from illness or trauma.13
8. Increases bone density
The protein in bone broth is thought to be excellent for your bones, making them stronger and less brittle.14 Studies have shown that people who consume plenty of protein also maintain bone mass better as they age.15 This is especially good news for older individuals, who tend to suffer the most from osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones porous and more likely to break.
9. Reduces food cravings
Sometimes your stomach is full, but your brain wants a bit of a food fix. Adding protein-rich bone broth to your diet can help curb these very cravings.
A study found that people with a higher protein intake were far less likely to have cravings.16 And we all know, food cravings usually translate to craving more junk food and sweets – rather than something healthy, like broccoli. Reducing these unwanted food cravings can do wonders for your health.
10. Boosts your metabolism
Every time you eat something, it’s like a little pick-me-up for your metabolism because your body needs to use energy to actually digest what you’ve just consumed. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF), also known as diet induced thermogenesis (DIT), and protein has an especially high thermic effect as compared to fats or carbohydrates.17 As a result, consuming foods rich in protein has the potential to greatly increase your metabolism and the number of calories burned on a daily basis.18
11. Lowers your blood pressure
Protein has been known to lower blood pressure.19,20 This can prevent common diseases like heart attacks and strokes, thereby improving quality of life by an immeasurable degree. 21Taken another way, you could say bone broth can help you live a longer, healthier, and overall better life.
12. Helps you keep weight off
Losing weight is hard enough in itself, but maintaining that loss once you’ve successfully met your weight loss goal can be even more difficult. This is where bone broth can be helpful, as its high protein content can help maintain weight loss, along with also helping you lose weight in the first place. One study found that high protein intake helped sustain weight loss in individuals, particularly those who had recently lost weight.22
13. Helps your body repair itself
The protein in bone broth provides the building blocks for your body, and is essential in helping your body heal itself.23 In one study, it was found that “protein deficiency has been demonstrated to contribute to poor healing rates with reduced collagen formation and wound dehiscence.”24 Conversely, consuming protein via bone broth can help solve this problem.
14. Keeps you fit as you age
We may gain wisdom as we grow older, but our bodies take a real beating.
Among other things, muscles shrink as we age – a condition known as sarcopenia. This leads to overall frailty and a lower quality of life over time. However, an increase in protein intake in older individuals has been shown to counteract the effects of sarcopenia.25
15. Helps you sleep better
A good night’s rest thanks to some soup? It’s possible. Bone broth contains glycine, an amino acid known for several health benefits. One potential benefit is an improvement in overall sleep quality.26 In one study, individuals also reported feeling improvements in “clear-headedness” and “liveliness and peppiness.”27
16. Can help prevent ulcers
Say goodbye to pesky stomach pains! Glycine is an anti-inflammatory, and it has been shown to protect against chemical and stress-induced ulcers.28
17. May improve mental health
Mental health can sometimes go neglected, but taking care of it is vital in maintaining a good quality of life. Glycine can help with that. In one five-year study, it was found that glycine helped significantly reduce symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.29 Subsequent studies have also found glycine to be helpful in the treatment of OCD.30
18. Could improve your memory
Having trouble remembering? Bone broth may be the answer. Glycine has been shown in studies to improve memory and concentration in both young and middle-aged adults.31
19. Decreases fine lines?
Bone broth contains collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, which also has proven anti-aging benefits. One study proved that consuming collagen regularly improved skin dryness and decreased wrinkle formation.32
20. May Improve skin elasticity
We all know skin elasticity is crucial in maintaining a youthful appearance. That “bounceback” decreases steadily as we age. The collagen in bone broth has been proven to increase skin elasticity, which, in turn, decreases prevalence of wrinkles and sagging.33
21. Could improve joint health
It makes sense that the collagen in bone broth may also prove beneficial to the collagen in our connective tissues, but science backs it up, too. In one 24-week study, collagen was found to support joint health and decrease the risk of joint deterioration.34
How Much Bone Broth Should I Drink Daily?
That’s a good question, and the answer varies. When it comes to homemade bone broth, many people recommend up to 4 cups a day. If you’re a big fan of bone broth — this may be good news to you. However — keep in mind that drinking 3 full cups of bone broth every day may detract from your (very necessary) water intake. In other words, you don’t want to replace drinking water with drinking bone broth — you want to drink it in addition to water.
But the answer gets more complicated when you take this into the equation: with homemade bone broth, there’s no standardized measurement that tells you whether you’re getting the maximized amount of bone broth-derived nutrients. In that case, your best bet is to pay attention to how your body reacts over time.
Of course, we recommend Dr. Amy’s Bone Broth, a perfected recipe that’s been third-party tested. It also takes the guesswork out of the question: “how much bone broth should I drink daily?” Our all-natural bone broth has been specifically formulated so that you can get all those nourishing nutrients in an easy, standardized measurement — just one scoop in 8 ounces of warm water in the morning.
No Bones About it…
It’s no small thing when bone broth can have such positive health effects, such as boosting your immune system, (which also fights off signs of aging). Whether you consume it once a day or a few times a week, bone broth can make you an overall much healthier, and, in turn, happier individual. So drink up!
Article updated: April 5, 2018
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