5 Surprising health benefits of bone marrow broth

Bone marrow broth is a natural way to enhance resilience and vitality. It’s made by simmering bones and connective tissues and is gaining popularity for its health benefits. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore its five surprising health benefits and show you how to incorporate this dish into your diet for enhanced well-being.

What is bone marrow broth?

Bone marrow broth is a flavorful, nutritious liquid typically made by simmering animal bones (often chicken or beef), marrow, and connective tissues for an extended period.

This slow-cooking process allows for extracting valuable nutrients such as collagen, gelatin, and various minerals, resulting in a rich, flavorful broth.

The preparation method typically involves slow simmering of bones over low heat for up to 24 hours [1]. This lengthy process helps break down the bones and connective tissues and release essential nutrients into the broth. 

The result is a hearty, nutrient-dense, gelatinous broth that serves as a base for soups, stews, sauces or consumed on its own. This ancient culinary practice might be time-consuming, but its wealth of nutrients and health benefits make it well worth the effort.

Bone broth nutrition profile

Despite its simplicity, bone marrow broth is a nutritional powerhouse brimming with a wealth of beneficial compounds.

The nutrient profile can vary depending on the type of bones used, the length of cooking time, and what other ingredients (if any) are included in the pot. However, some core nutrients are commonly present in most bone marrow broths.

  • Protein: A key nutrient necessary for the growth and repair of tissues in the body. Bone broth is a good source of protein, with a typical cup providing around 6 to 12 grams.
  • Collagen and gelatin: These are proteins derived from the bones and connective tissues during the broth’s slow simmering process. They are associated with various health benefits, such as improved skin health and joint health [2].
  • Amino acids: Bone broth contains various essential and non-essential amino acids, such as glycine, proline, and glutamine, which play critical roles in numerous biological processes.
  • Minerals: Bone broth is rich in important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which are released from the bones during the cooking process. These minerals are vital in maintaining bone health, nerve function, and other physiological processes.
  • Vitamins: Depending on the ingredients used, bone broth may also contain vitamins like vitamin A and various B vitamins.
  • Fats: The fat content of bone marrow broth vary depending on the type and amount of bones used and whether the fat was skimmed off during cooking.

Compared to other broths or stocks, such as those made with only meat or vegetables, bone marrow broth often has a higher nutrient density.

This is due to the long cooking process and the use of bones, marrow, and connective tissues rich in these beneficial compounds.

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5 Benefits of bone marrow broth

1. Supports digestive health

One of the most lauded benefits of bone marrow broth is its impressive impact on digestive health, particularly due to its rich gelatin content. Gelatin is derived from the collagen in the bones and connective tissues broken down during cooking.

Gelatin has been found to support gut health in several ways. First, it helps to strengthen the lining of the digestive tract.

This is particularly beneficial for people with leaky gut syndrome. In this condition, undigested food particles and bacteria can pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream, causing inflammation and potentially contributing to various health issues [3].

By reinforcing the gut lining, gelatin helps prevent this leakage, promoting a healthier, more functional digestive system.

Research also suggests that gelatin can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, further enhancing digestive health.

Moreover, gelatin’s ability to absorb water aids in keeping the digestive tract well-hydrated, easing the passage of food and potentially alleviating constipation.

Lastly, some evidence suggests that gelatin can also help with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux. 

By reducing inflammation in the gut and improving overall gut function, bone marrow broth may help manage symptoms associated with these conditions.

Supports digestive health
Photograph: leungchopan/Envato

2. Promotes joint health

Another remarkable health benefit of bone marrow broth is its potential to support joint health, thanks to its high collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) content.

Collagen is the main structural protein in the various connective tissues in the body, including those found in our joints such as cartilage.

Maintaining the integrity and elasticity of these tissues is essential, which helps keep our joints strong and flexible. 

As we age, or due to certain lifestyle factors, our body’s natural collagen production slows down, leading to joint discomfort and decreased mobility.

Bone marrow broth provides a natural source of collagen, and the body can use this dietary collagen to help maintain the health and function of the joints.

In addition to collagen, bone marrow broth also contains valuable GAGs, including glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.

These compounds are often found in joint health supplements because they maintain cartilage and reduce joint pain and inflammation. They work in conjunction with collagen to provide comprehensive support for joint health.

Research has shown that supplementing with collagen and GAGs can significantly improve joint pain, stiffness, and overall function, especially in individuals with osteoarthritis. 

While more research is needed to understand how bone marrow broth affects joint health fully, the current evidence suggests that it can be a beneficial addition to a joint-supporting diet.

3. Enhances immune system function

Bone marrow broth contains a wealth of nutrients that are integral to supporting a robust immune system.

Its high protein content, for instance, provides the building blocks for antibodies, proteins the immune system produces to fight off pathogens.

In addition to this, the rich mineral content in bone marrow broth – including zinc, selenium, calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium – plays a critical role in immune function [4].

For instance, zinc is known for its role in immune cell development and communication and is important in inflammatory response.

Moreover, the amino acids present in the broth, such as arginine, glutamine, and cysteine, have been shown to support immune health.

For example, cysteine (which becomes the antioxidant glutathione in the body) has been linked to improved immune function.

Perhaps most significantly, bone marrow broth’s positive effects on gut health indirectly bolster the immune system. The gut is often called the body’s ‘second brain’ and plays a crucial role in immunity.

A healthy gut promotes a healthy immune system, as many of the body’s immune cells are in the gut.

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4. Contributes to healthy skin

Who knew the secret to a youthful, glowing complexion could be found in a simple bowl of bone marrow broth?

As it turns out, this nutritious broth’s collagen and hyaluronic acid can significantly contribute to skin health.

Collagen is an essential protein that makes up approximately 75 to 80% of our skin, contributing to its firmness, elasticity, and overall structure.

As we age, collagen production decreases, leading to common signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.

By consuming bone marrow broth, you provide your body with dietary collagen. While it’s a common misconception that collagen eaten will directly replenish skin collagen, that’s not how it works. 

Instead, dietary collagen is broken down into amino acids the body uses where they’re most needed.

However, research suggests that consuming collagen may stimulate your body to produce more, benefiting your skin.

In addition to collagen, bone marrow broth also contains hyaluronic acid, a compound renowned for retaining moisture.

Hydrated skin is healthier, plumper, and has a natural glow, and hyaluronic acid helps achieve just that by binding to water molecules in the skin.

It’s often an ingredient in high-end skincare products but can also be consumed through bone marrow broth.

Lastly, bone marrow broth is rich in antioxidants, which help fight against the oxidative damage caused by free radicals, a significant contributor to premature aging.

So, sipping on bone marrow broth won’t just warm you from the inside; it may also help promote healthy, radiant skin, making it a beauty regimen worth considering [5].

Contributes to healthy skin

5. Aids in weight management

Bone marrow broth is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that could benefit your diet if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

The high protein content in bone marrow broth can help increase feelings of fullness, reducing overall calorie intake.

Protein is known to be more satiating than fats or carbohydrates, which means it can keep you feeling satisfied for longer periods. 

This can be particularly beneficial for weight loss, as it could lead to reduced snacking and portion sizes.

Moreover, bone marrow broth can be a healthy substitute for higher-calorie ingredients. It can serve as a flavorful base for soups and stews, reducing the need for oil or cream, and it can even be used to sauté vegetables instead of butter or oil.

Furthermore, the amino acids in bone marrow broth, such as glutamine, have been linked with promoting a healthy metabolism.

A well-functioning metabolism is crucial for weight management, as it determines how your body uses the food you consume for energy.

While bone marrow broth is not a magic solution for weight loss, it can be a valuable part of a balanced, nutrient-dense diet for weight management. 

Its high protein content, low-calorie nature, and potential to promote a healthy metabolism and gut health all contribute to this benefit.

How to incorporate bone marrow broth into your diet

Now that we’ve explored the numerous health benefits of bone marrow broth, you may wonder how to incorporate this nutritious liquid into your diet

The good news is it’s surprisingly versatile and can be used in many ways, making it easy to include in your regular meals.

1. Sip it straight 

One of the simplest ways to consume bone marrow broth is to heat it and drink it like a cup of tea or coffee. Some people enjoy a cup of warm broth in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up.

2. Use as a soup base

Bone marrow broth makes an excellent base for all kinds of soups. Add your favorite veggies, proteins, and spices for a healthy meal.

3. Make a sauce or gravy

The rich, savory flavor of bone marrow broth can be a great starting point for homemade sauces or gravies.

4. Cook grains or pasta

Use bone marrow broth instead of cooking your rice, quinoa, or pasta in water. It will impart a savory flavor and make these staples more nutrient-dense.

5. Use in stews and casseroles

You can also use bone marrow broth in slow-cooked dishes like stews or casseroles, contributing to flavor and nutrients.

6. Use for sautéing

Instead of using oil, try sautéing your vegetables in bone marrow broth. This method adds flavor without the extra calories.

7. Make smoothies

If you’re short on time and can’t simmer bones, consider using bone broth protein powder instead.

You can easily add it to your smoothies for a protein and nutrient boost without changing the taste too much. Simply blend it with your favorite fruits or vegetables to enjoy the benefits.

Incorporating bone marrow broth into your diet can be as easy or elaborate as possible. Whether you’re sipping it straight or using it to enhance your favorite recipes, you’ll be boosting your intake of beneficial nutrients and enjoying all the health benefits this wonderful broth offers.

In closing

Bone marrow broth, a staple in traditional diets across cultures, is much more than just a flavorful addition to your meals.

Its rich profile of nutrients, including protein, collagen, gelatin, minerals, and glycosaminoglycans, provides myriad health benefits. 

However, it’s important to remember that while bone marrow broth is beneficial, it’s just one piece of the puzzle regarding maintaining good health.

It should be incorporated into a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods, regular physical activity, and good sleep hygiene.

So why not give it a try? Start exploring how you can incorporate bone marrow broth into your daily meals. The path to harnessing the health benefits of this hearty broth starts in your kitchen.

FAQS

What does bone marrow broth do?

Bone marrow broth is packed with nutrients that support digestive and joint health, boost immune function, promote skin health, and aid in weight management. It’s a healthy and versatile food.

When should I drink bone marrow broth?

You can drink bone marrow broth at any time of the day, but some people find it most beneficial to have it in the morning for a nutrient-rich start to the day, or in the evening as a soothing, digestible meal before bed. It can also be consumed as a warm beverage during the day, or used as a base in meals like soups and stews.

What happens if you drink bone broth every day?

Daily bone marrow broth consumption offers many health benefits, including support for digestion, immune function, skin health, joint health, and weight management. It’s important to consume it as part of a balanced diet and monitor your body’s response to adjust intake as needed.

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[1] https://boandmarrow.com/pages/health-benefits-of-bone-broth 
[2] https://www.verywellfit.com/is-bone-broth-good-for-you-7110009 
[3] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323903
[4] https://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/bone-broth-benefits
[5] https://southernhomeexpress.com/benefits-of-bone-broth/

Photograph: composter-box/Envato
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