Whether or not you believe the hype, broth has always been regarded as a healthy food, especially if you have a cold. Although there isn’t much research done on bone broth itself, perhaps because it is just too accessible to everyday people, it doesn’t make something that has been consumed in one form or another for centuries by many different cultures a bad idea. In fact, it can be the exact opposite: a real food with the building blocks for good health.
- Reduces symptoms of URTI.
- Helps reduce inflammation.
- Helps replace electrolytes post exercise.
- Broth contains both essential and non-essential amino acids which your body can use to support or augment various parts of your skeleton.
- Includes ingredients such as collagen and gelatin, trace levels of minerals, and GAG’s.
- May be useful for immunity, sleep, skin bone and connective tissue support, gut barrier function.
- Safe to use and FREE from contamination from heavy metals.
Also called “Jewish penicillin”, there is published research which supports the use of chicken soup or broth in reducing inflammation and easing the symptoms of a cold, or upper respiratory tract infection (1). Other research conducted shows that by adding vinegar to reduce pH whilst making broth significantly increases the amount of minerals extracted (2), and that commercial and home-made broths were found to be safe from heavy metal contamination (3). Interesting, but not mind-blowing proof of health benefits!
There is however, a large amount of research material to be found on the components that make up these golden liquids which is where it does get interesting. Bone broth contains ingredients such as collagen and gelatin which are good sources of essential and non-essential amino acids, trace levels of minerals, and a group of complex carbohydrates called glycosaminoglycans, or GAG’s.
Collagen: is the main component of connective tissues like bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and skin and is approximately 30% of the total protein in the body (4).
Gelatin: the jelly part we all recognise from cooled bone broth is simply hydrolysed collagen, where the big proteins are broken down into smaller peptides via simmering the liquid over time.
Both gelatin and collagen are good sources of the amino acids, glycine, proline, and glutamine. Glycine is the smallest amino acid and is used in the body as an inhibitory neurotransmitter to stop racing thoughts, in promoting and maintaining sleep (5) and it may also even help to protect the liver (6). Proline is a non-essential amino acid and is used in tissue and wound healing, and potentially used in reducing arteriosclerosis, a leading cause of heart disease (6). Glutamine is indirectly involved in supporting the immune system through preservation of the antioxidant glutathione and in maintaining gut barrier function (7).
Glycosaminoglycan (GAG): are long chain polysaccharides that help with the maintenance and support of collagen and elastin, and also help to retain moisture in these structures (8). Chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid are 2 examples of GAG in the body. According to a Cochrane review, chondroitin sulfate has been shown to reduce the pain and improve radiological scores in osteoarthritis compared to placebo (9).
Our Australian Bone Broth contains trace amounts of minerals and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc (10) in its liquid base. For this reason, several athletic institutes in America have put bone broth into their dietary regime as a post exercise electrolyte recovery drink with promising results (11). This change is revolutionary in itself, as the sports drink culture with its lab derived and synthetic flavourings and colourings is an ingrained feature of many of these institutes.
Overall the potential for a traditional food to become a modern staple is exciting, encouraging everyday people to return to homestyle methods of cooking, swapping highly processed for more wholesome options and by simply adding an array of fresh vegetables into broth the health benefits can be even further enhanced.