When you drink bone broth, you just feel good all over. And on the inside, your cells are celebrating, too. That’s because bone broth contains these potent fat-burning and cell-energizing nutrients.
1. Collagen & gelatin
Do you want to lose weight and have younger-looking skin? Then think collagen and gelatin.
Collagen is an integral part of bone, containing a large supply of amino acids. When you cook bone broth for a long time, the collagen in the bones turns into gelatin. Here’s what that gelatin does for you.
- Strengthens your skin: There’s a reason women have used gelatin for centuries to help keep their skin smooth. The nutrients in gelatin provide you with key building blocks of collagen — and collagen is like natural Botox, erasing wrinkles and reversing sagging and stretch marks.
- Fights inflammation: Research shows that even basic chicken soup helps quell inflammation by preventing pro-inflammatory immune cells called neutrophils from moving to an inflamed area. The glycine from the gelatin in bone broth — an amino acid that has so many important jobs that I’ll discuss it in another section later — is even more powerful, inhibiting both local and systemic inflammation.
- Heals your gut: Researchers speculate that gelatin stabilizes your gut mucosa by decreasing damage from excess acid or increasing protective mechanisms such as gastric mucosal blood flow. Studies also reveal that the glycine in gelatin heals and protects the gut via its anti-inflammatory, immune regulatory, and cell-protective activities.
You have about 25 feet of intestines, and about 1,500 different species of bacteria and other flora live in them. That’s trillions of gut microbes. They make enzymes that help you digest food, they produce hormones and help synthesize vitamins, and they clean up toxins.
Unfortunately, the modern world isn’t kind to your gut flora. A typical diet high in sugar, carbs, and artificial chemicals and low in critical nutrients can kill off huge swaths of beneficial flora, while allowing levels of bad bacteria to skyrocket. Infections, antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, stress, diet, alcohol, and many medications can also unbalance your gut flora.
This is dangerous, because when bad flora take control in your intestines, they cause inflammation that damages your gut wall. The result is intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut.” In this condition, your weakened gut barrier allows toxins and digestive debris that should stay trapped inside your gut to escape into your bloodstream instead.
Gelatin helps restore the integrity of your intestines, healing a leaky gut and optimizing your immune function. I’ve treated patients whose acne, arthritis, headaches, allergies, ADHD, dizziness, or fibromyalgia cleared up like magic when they cut out processed foods and added bone broth to their diets.
2. Vitamins, minerals, fats & alkylglycerols
The calcium that’s present in bone broth is highly bioavailable (that is, easy for your body to absorb) because broth is an optimal vehicle for transporting it, along with other minerals that bone broth contains in larger amounts, like phosphorus, magnesium, and iodine (in fish broth). This bioavailability means that these nutrients can have powerful effects like these.
- The iodine in fish broth helps regulate your thyroid hormones, while the calcium in all types of bone broths helps keep your endocrine hormones in balance — and balanced hormones are crucial to efficient metabolism and weight loss.
- The phosphorus in bone broth plays a critical role in energizing your cells.
- The magnesium in bone broth enhances your digestion and repairs your skin.
Bone marrow — the jellylike substance at the heart of the bone — is also a nutritional treasure trove. For instance, it’s an outstanding source of healthy fats, and it contains iron and vitamin A. In addition, it contains compounds called alkylglycerols that can help protect you against cancer by boosting your immune system function.
3. Joint-protecting nutrients
In addition to being rich in collagen building blocks, the cartilage in bone broth is packed with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate — the very same nutrients many doctors prescribe as supplements to keep joints young and healthy.
Bone broth also contains hyaluronic acid, which lubricates your joints and muscles. A 2015 study found that oral hyaluronic acid caused “statistically significant improvements in pain and function” in obese people with knee osteoarthritis. In addition, hyaluronic acid hydrates your skin, erasing fine wrinkles. So along with happier joints, it’ll give you smoother skin.
4. Glycine & other key amino acids
Bone broth is brimming with amino acids that are classified as “conditional” rather than “essential” because under ideal conditions, the body can make enough of these amino acids without getting them from food. But in today’s stressed-out, toxified world, it’s a good bet that you’re not getting enough of some or all of them. Luckily, you can obtain an ample supply of four key conditional amino acids from bone broth.
- Glycine plays a key role in fighting inflammation. It’s also one of the building blocks of collagen and reduces oxidative damage (damage to cells that is caused by unstable molecules).
- Proline helps your body synthesize proteins, metabolize food well, heal wounds, and protect itself against oxidative stress.
- Arginine has wound-healing properties and may protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Glutamine is a powerful gut healer and may even protect against ulcers.
As you can see, bone broth isn’t simply a fun and trendy food — it’s a systemic healer, revitalizer, and metabolism optimizer. When you add up all of bone broth’s nutritional benefits, it’s easy to understand why every culture around the world believes in its healing power.
Reprinted from Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci. Copyright (c) 2015 by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
If you're interested in learning more tips for healing your gut and warding off the effects of aging, check out Dr. Petrucci's class, Beat Inflammation: A 21-Day Plan For Glowing Skin, Long-Term Weight Loss & Vibrant Health.
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