How Bone Broth Can Be A Nutritional Powerhouse For Your Diet & Workout Program
Anyone who has ever slow-simmered homemade chicken stock on a Sunday to make chicken soup – a simple meal that every grandmother knew had healing properties – understands the power of bone broth.
The history of bone broth
“Bone broth goes way back to the Stone Age, when they were actually cooking broth in turtle shells and in skins over the fire,” nutritionist Kaayla Daniel, PhD, told the Washington Post. Daniel and Sally Fallon Morell wrote the 2014 book “Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World,” which celebrates the nutritional powers of the nutrient-dense liquid.
Health benefits of bone broth
While homemade stock is slowly becoming a lost art, bone broth – whether poultry, pork, fish or beef – is one of the staples of the Paleo diet. It is an eating plan inspired by our caveman ancestors that also includes meat, fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, the types of food hunter-gatherers would have had access to before the agricultural era.
And despite its ancient roots, bone broth – which gave cavemen the strength to track prey - has been making a big resurgence in recent years, even if grandmothers and their descendants aren’t spending as much time in the kitchen.
A favorite of athletes and health buffs, bone broth not only offers the best of nose-to-tail cooking because it provides the opportunity to use every bit of nutrition an animal makes available, it also comes with a wide range of health benefits that can help dieters feel full and satisfied and power gym regulars through their workouts.
“People have known this for hundreds of years, that broth is nourishing,” Daniel said in an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola, one of the nation’s best-known natural health experts and himself a New York Times bestselling author.
Bone broth: the healthy lowdown
Bone broth goes beyond simple nourishment.
Just a long-simmered chicken stock (the bone broth you likely know best) is the first line of defense for the common cold. Bone broth has many other potential health benefits, including relief from the pain of osteoarthritis or exercise-induced muscle pain due to high levels of chondroitin and glucosamine. Bone broth can strengthen cartilage as well as make you younger-looking and have healthier skin since bone broth is packed with collagen, the main protein in the skin’s structural layer.
But that’s far from the only good things that bone broth provides.
Physicians as far back as Hippocrates connected broth with the healing of the gut, where the bulk of the body’s immune system lives. According to Dr. Mercola, bone broth’s superfood components such as glutamine help strengthen the intestinal lining and the immune system so the nutrients from food are more easily absorbed.
The nutrients in bone broth, especially protein and collagen, help speed recovery after a hard workout, because they encourage the muscles that are damaged every time we push them to their limits to knit back together, and become stronger than ever.
The late Dr. John F. Prudden, a Harvard grad, studied the benefits of bovine tracheal cartilage – a component in beef-based bone broth - on cancer in a study that appeared in the December 1985 issue of the Journal of Biological Response Modifiers. (click here) Prudden’s research is examined more closely in the Daniel-Morell book “Nourishing Broth.”
Bone broth has calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other minerals that help support healthy bones, which can help protect against osteoporosis.
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Even the Pros Support Bone Broth Benefits
A few years ago, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant touted the benefits of bone broth after a sprained ankle that was likely to keep him off the court “indefinitely” healed in two weeks after the team’s nutritionist, Dr. Cate Shanahan, sent two bowls of broth to his room the night of his injury.
The amino acids arginine and glutamine helped his injury heal faster, and Bryant was hooked.
“I’ve been doing the bone broth for a while now," Bryant told ESPN in 2015, adding that his energy is up and his inflammation is down since adding the simple food to his diet.
Because something so very simple can have such amazing results, bone broth easily deserves a spot on the superfood honor roll.