Back before broth came in a box on grocery store shelves, our ancestors slow cooked animal bones to extract the valuable collagen and marrow they contain. These bone broths were used for centuries to make easily digested, healing meals with incredible depth of flavour.
But there’s more to bone broth than tradition – it has a slew of health benefits that are hard to beat. It’s a great source of essential vitamins, minerals, and collagen, which can help improve joint health, skin health, and digestion. Keep reading for a look at bone broth’s key nutrients, how they help the body, and some easy ways to incorporate bone broth into your diet.
Bone broth’s key nutrients
Bone broth is made by simmering bones and vegetables in water for an extended period of time, typically 12 hours or more. This slow cooking process allows the nutrients from the bones to be released into the broth. Bone broth is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It’s also a rich source of collagen and key amino acids.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, providing structure and support to the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. It gives our skin its and elasticity, helps cushion and lubricate joints, and plays an important role in wound healing.
As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, leading to joint pain and other age-related issues. Fortunately, adding supplemental collagen to our diet can help to offset this decline.
Collagen from foods like bone broth is digested into key amino acids that our bodies use to restore collagen in the body. Increasing the amount of collagen we consume can help our bodies maintain skin health, joint function, and overall well-being.
Glycine is an amino acid that plays a variety of roles in the human body. Research shows that it plays a role in digestion, blood sugar regulation, and preventing cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.
Glycine helps the body metabolize fats and sugars, helping to regulate blood sugar levels. This is important because high blood sugar levels can damage the gut lining, leading to inflammation and other problems. It’s also involved in liver detoxification, can alleviate liver injury, and accelerate recovery from alcohol-induced liver damage.
In addition to these biochemical functions, glycine also acts as a neurotransmitter, playing a vital role in memory, learning, and sleep.
Proline, also found in bone broth, helps to keep our cells healthy and functioning properly. It is especially important for wound healing, as it helps to form new connective tissue. When we get a cut or other wound, the body immediately begins to repair the damage. This process requires cells to work together to create new tissue, and proline is essential for this process to occur.
Proline also helps in the formation of new blood vessels, which are necessary for delivering the nutrients needed for wound healing.
Glutamine is another important amino acid found in bone broth. It plays a critical role in gut health, and is essential for the repair and maintenance of the intestinal lining.
The gut is home to trillions of bacteria, some of which are beneficial and some of which can cause problems. When the gut becomes damaged or inflamed, these harmful bacteria can easily take over, leading to “leaky gut syndrome”. Glutamine acts as a food for beneficial gut bacteria, keeping them in balance and preventing them from being overrun by harmful bacteria. It also helps to promote healing of the gut lining, which is essential for restoring gut health.
In addition to its benefits for gut health, glutamine has been shown to improve immune function, increase muscle mass, and reduce inflammation.
Adding bone broth to your diet
One of the best things about bone broth is how easy it is to add to your diet. It can be enjoyed on its own, or used to make soups and sauces. It’s also a great replacement for water when cooking rice or other grains, adding to both nutritional profile and flavour.
At Beatrice, we love adding a scoop of cordyceps extract into warm bone broth. The mushroom extract adds to the broth’s savoury, umami flavour, and provides a nice energy boost, making it the perfect alternative for a mid-afternoon coffee.
The bone broth we serve at the cafe is from Young Bones, a Toronto-based company that shares our standards for quality ingredients. Their broth is made using Ontario spring water, and organic grass-fed beef or pasture-raised poultry. Definitely a try next time you’re at the cafe.