Bone broth is widely touted for its anti-aging and weight loss benefits. Is he working? Experts explain
Bone broth is not new, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many swear by drinking the thick, delicious liquid because of its health benefits. But is bone broth really good for you?
Typically marketed to be sipped on its own, bone broth has evolved into a trendy addition to meals and even smoothies (also known as broth) for extra protein and nutrients. It is now available in liquid, concentrated, or powdered forms, and you can also find bone broth capsules sold as nutritional supplements.
What are the benefits of bone broth, is it permissible to drink it every day, and what is the healthiest type? We talked to the experts to find out.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is a liquid made from animal bones, joints and connective tissue, such as beef, chicken, turkey and pork, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
It’s similar to stock, but a wide variety of bones are used, including large, marrow-rich bones, Dr. Dennis Milstein, director of integrative medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, tells TODAY.com.
She adds that they are usually roasted and cooked over low heat over a long period of time, up to 24 to 48 hours, to extract vitamins, minerals and collagen. (Stock usually cooks much faster.)
Bone broth is also made with vinegar, spices, and aromatics to give it full flavor. You can drink it alone or add it to soup or stew.
Types of bone broth
Common types of bone broth include:
meat. Beef bone broth has a more full-bodied flavor than other types of bone broth and is higher in collagen. It may also take longer to cook.
A chick. Chicken bone broth has a milder flavor than beef. Add chicken feet to boost their protein and collagen content.
turkey. Turkey bone broth may be a more nutrient-dense option than chicken depending on how it is prepared.
pork. Pork bone broth is a popular base for many soup dishes, such as ramen. Using pigs’ feet can boost collagen and protein in the broth.
Bone broth can also be store-bought or made at home. Typically, homemade bone broth contains less sodium and fewer added ingredients.
Bone broth nutrition
The nutritional content of bone broth varies depending on the type of bones used, added ingredients, preparation, and brand.
“There’s a lot of variety among the products, as well as what each person can make (at home),” Milstein says.
According to the USDA database, one serving of typical store-bought beef bone broth provides:
One serving of bone broth is usually one standard cup, or 240 milliliters, but some people may drink more or less than that, especially if the broth is added to another meal. Milstein points out that some types and brands contain much more sodium than others.
What are the benefits of bone broth?
The benefits of bone broth can vary depending on the type and added ingredients, but they’re generally rich in vitamins and minerals, Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at the Digestive Diseases Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, tells TODAY.com.
“It can provide calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur,” Zumpano says. Millstein points out that bone broth is also a good source of potassium.
Because bone broth is made with a lot of water, it helps your body stay hydrated. The average male needs to drink 3.7 liters of water a day to stay hydrated, and the average female needs 2.7 liters, according to the Mayo Clinic.
High percentage of protein
Bone broth is a great natural source of protein, Milstein says. Just one cup can contain 10 grams or more depending on the brand. The average person who weighs 150 pounds needs 54 grams of protein per day. Protein helps keep you full longer and builds muscle, among other benefits.
Reducing inflammation and joint pain
“[Bone broth]can also contain chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, which are often sold as supplements, and most of us know those help reduce inflammation and joint pain,” Zumpano says.
Drinking a warm cup of bone broth can help settle the stomach and promote digestion, and it’s more filling than regular broth.
What about bone broth and collagen?
The majority of the protein in bone broth is collagen, and beef bones contain a bit more than other types, Milstein says.
Recently, bone broth supplements and powders containing collagen have become increasingly popular, but experts warn that consuming collagen may not have the advertised benefits (although it’s generally not harmful, either).
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, found in bones, skin, muscles and tendons, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It provides strength and structure throughout the body, helping to repair joints, blood vessels, eyes and digestive system.
The body produces less collagen as we age, which noticeably affects our joints and skin, Zumpano says.
But collagen in its whole, undenatured form cannot be absorbed by the body, so consuming more of it will not raise your collagen levels, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
“There’s no downside to taking collagen, but there’s also no clear benefit,” Milstein says.
Is bone broth good for weight loss?
Yes, because bone broth is naturally high in protein and low in calories, it can help with weight management or loss, depending on the person, Milstein says.
Eating it before or between meals is a quick way to get extra nutrients, especially if you practice time-restricted eating.
Experts recommend adding bone broth to a balanced diet rather than using it as a substitute for whole foods. “I think it’s a great drink, especially in the morning, but I’m not sure it’s filling enough to replace a meal,” Zumpano says.
“If you want to eat it as a meal, I recommend turning it into a soup and adding other nutrient-packed ingredients like garlic, greens, greens, chicken, tofu, or beans,” she adds.
Is it good to drink bone broth every day?
Bone broth is generally safe to drink daily if taken in moderation and as part of a nutritious diet, Milstein says. If you have any food allergies, always check the label.
Side effects and risks of bone broth
“Depending on how it’s made or what’s in it,[bone broth]can contain significant amounts of sodium. That’s the only downside,” Zumpano says.
Some types of bone broth can contain up to 500 milligrams of sodium per cup, which can add up quickly. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Sodium in bone broth may not be a problem for the average healthy person, but it can be risky for people with high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease, Zumpano says. Always talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
Fortunately, there are low-sodium and unsalted versions of bone broth available.
What is the healthiest type of bone broth?
Experts point out that the healthiest type of bone broth is homemade. Although time consuming, making your own broth can allow you to control the salt content and other ingredients.
If you buy bone broth from the store, Zumpano recommends comparing nutritional labels and avoiding those with higher amounts of sodium and added ingredients.
Whether you choose bone broth made from beef, chicken, turkey, or pork bones depends on personal preference.
How to make bone broth
Check out this bone broth recipe from TODAY Food.
Chef Marco Canora’s Broth Chicken and Beef Broth from Marco Canora
This article was originally published on TODAY.com