Fatigue, food sensitivities or intolerances, and joint pain are three entirely different conditions; all of which become much more difficult to tackle if you’re an athlete or trying to maintain a physically active lifestyle.
However, there is one thing that all of these symptoms have in common, and that is bone broth. This special liquid, often simply taken for granted, is extremely magical stuff.
Used as both comfort food and a health aid, it has much more to offer than easing just a few of the above-named manifestations. It can be an absolute game changer.
So, imagine if there was one thing you could add to your fueling routine that could help all three of the major issues athletes battle AND boost your performance?
Read on to discover bone broth health benefits, and how to incorporate it into your routine.
What is Bone Broth?
As the name itself suggest, it’s a broth made from cooking bones. However, the typical broth as we know it may also contain a small number of bones as part of the preparation process. So, what’s the catch?
Regular broths are simmered for anywhere between 45 minutes and two hours. Bone broths, on the other hand, take significantly longer to cook, and for a good reason!
While regular broths are, indeed, rich in protein, bone broths have a significantly larger amount, along with a few invaluable goodies like minerals, collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline.
Now that we have the basics covered, we should probably reveal how bone broth contributes to one’s overall health.
Bone Broth Health Benefits
There is a multitude of ways in which bone broth promotes health (say that 10x fast!). From how it helps with fatigue and exhaustion to how it can ease the symptoms of IBS, leaky gut, and much more – we have it all covered below.
Joint pain might occur as a result of injury, overuse, or chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis. As the most common type of arthritis, OA is also considered one of the most significant health problems in the modern world. Unfortunately, it is said that one out of four persons will suffer from OA at some point in their lifetime.[2,3]
Although the elderly and the inactive are the usual groups that come to mind when it comes to this condition; younger, physically active adults, and even athletes are another group that might be affected.
While bone broth cannot heal conditions like OA, it can certainly help with easing joint pain, whatever its cause.
The reason behind this is bone broth being rich in amino acids, such as methionine, which help with the maintenance and creation of cartilage tissue.
Metabolism Boost & Detox
Bone broth contains glutathione, which has an important role in nutrient metabolism, immune responses, and antioxidant defense. Other ingredients in this powerful cocktail of bone broth health benefits are glycine and glutamine. The first helps in turning glucose into energy, while the latter helps in maintaining energy levels.
Although it’s evident that all of the above contributes to effective detox and metabolism boost, these in turn can also affect weight loss and meeting your fitness goals.
A slow metabolism is frequently connected with obesity. Speeding things up with daily intake of bone broth will significantly help with cleansing your body of toxins and weight regulation.
What’s more, bone broth is rich in protein, and a protein-rich diet is the essence of a successful weight loss plan.
How much bone broth you should cond\sume likely depends on the goals you’re looking to meet.
While we at FWDfuel do not recommend a bone broth “cleanse”, you will often find that many holistic healthcare practitioners recommend consuming as much as 40 and 50 ounces per day. Unfortunately, there is not much evidence-based research to support excess bone broth consumption.
It is also important to note that heavy metals and pesticides often find their way into the bones of animals. When one simmers bone broth for hours or even days, the contaminants in bone are extracted into the broth. While the ratio of contaminants is much better in organic bones, there is really no way to completely guarantee completely toxin free bones. Thus, another reason to be mindful when it comes to an extreme “cleanse.”
When consuming high amounts of bone broth for a metabolism boost or detox, it’s best to take bone broth plain, at least for a few days.
No, you won’t be starving. Bone broth does not only make you feel full, but it also boosts your energy levels and decreases symptoms of fatigue.
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Gut Health & Conditions
A healthy gut determines our overall wellness. We are what we eat, but if don’t digest and absorb those nutrients properly, our health is still at risk.
The first thing that makes a healthy gut is a strong gut lining. The small junctions in the small intestine should be kept as tight as possible so as to prevent toxins and larger food particles from entering and roaming the bloodstream. The large intestine, on the other hand, should be nourished so as to perform waste elimination efficiently, leaving no unwanted toxins in our body.
Gelatine, as well as amino acids like proline, cysteine, and glutamic acid – all of which come in bone broth – contribute significantly to maintaining a well-balanced digestion and an overall healthy gut. However, there’s much more to their capacity!
Glutathione and gelatine can also help with gut inflammation. That said, another set of bone broth health benefits are related to easing symptoms of conditions like leaky gut, IBS, or even ulcers!
For overall digestive health maintenance, it is often recommended to consume bone broth daily. We recommend consulting with a medical professional such as functional medicine trained physician or functionally trained dietitian for specific recommendations.
As mentioned above, it’s not just what you eat, but how you absorb it. So, it’s all about your gut again! Clear skin depends on the quality of nutrient absorption.
Psoriasis, echzema, rashes, etc. are all immune responses to a fault in digestion. A research involving over 13,000 teenagers struggling with acne outbursts returned results that all of them are more likely to experience acid reflux, bad breath, bloating, and constipation.
Based on the above, it only makes sense to turn to bone broth to help heal your gut and, therefore, your skin. When it comes to how bone broth contributes to your skin’s health, its powers are not limited to preventing breakouts.
Bone broth promotes skin elasticity and plumpness, providing a more youthful and healthy look overall. Slowing down the aging process of your skin depends on the collagen and glycosaminoglycans, both of which are highly present in bone broth.
Sure, there are many foods that contain nutrients that stimulate collagen synthesis in the body; however, bone broth is one of the few that actually contain collagen.
Finally, bone broth can also help you maintain bright and glowing skin, as well as reduce red marks and scarring, thanks to the alkaline and trace minerals it has, respectively.
Immune System Function
A variety of health conditions are actually an immune response to an inflammation. In other words, our body is trying to tell us something is wrong, and that usually relates to digestion.
Whenever toxins or small food particles wind up in the bloodstream, blood cells recognize them as antigens and trigger a strong immune response. The antibodies that are created then, also attack healthy tissue, making these responses similar to autoimmune attacks.
Amino acids found in bone broth, along with collagen and gelatin, are again the remedy that can help. Although they don’t necessarily have anything to do with the immune system, they can heal the gut lining, thus preventing the release of toxins and the aforementioned food particles into the blood system.
Hair & Nails
There is a multitude of factors that influence the quality of hair and nails. These vary between sugar intake, smoking, and aging! However, all of these aspects have a single thing in common – all of them inhibit collagen creation.
As mentioned earlier, bone broth is one of the few foods that actually contains collagen. It also has nutrients that stimulate its creation and the one of hyaluronic acid.
How to Make Bone Broth
Now that you know the health benefits that bone broth comes with, it’s time to learn how to simmer delicious bone broth in the comfort of your home!
The recipe for bone broth is not at all complex and, as mentioned earlier, the essence of making the most out of bone broth lies in its preparation.
The ingredients you need are water, bones, and an acidic medium (this can be wine or even apple cider vinegar). Put them together in a pot and simmer them for at least 8 hours.
The longer you simmer the bones – the bigger the amount of collagen and trace minerals. The amount of time needed to prepare it is definitely worth it when you consider all the bone broth health benefits you get to enjoy when it’s done.
Tip: Roast the bones before simmering them. This will make the bone broth significantly richer in flavor.
Now, what if you don’t want to make your own?
We hear you. We’re on the go all the time and especially when you get a combination of work increasing at the same time as training ramps up, sometimes you may want to just buy some really pure broth that is already made for you.
There are a lot of good brands out there but one we really like is by Bare Bones. They’ve been making it since 2014 and offer a variety of types from beef to chicken as well as some delicious variations with seasoning such as chicken rosemary with lemon.
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How to Use Bone Broth
Bone broth prepared in the way described above will be utterly tasty to drink as it is. You can also season it with anything from salt, pepper, and garlic powder to meat and vegetables. Or, it can be used as a base to make delicious soups, stews, and sauces.
When it comes to dosage, recommendations vary based on the condition you are trying to treat. It might be appropriate for you to consume a cup of bone broth a day, or as much as 50 ounces per day. We discourage a one size fits all approach for anyone. Furthermore, we highly discourage making any changes in your diet without consulting a functionally trained dietitian, functional medicine physician, or holistic practitioner.
Note, however, that bone broth can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than a week. So, make sure to only prepare however much you plan on drinking, and avoid making large quantities of bone broth up front.
Michael is a residency and fellowship trained sports physical therapist. A life long advocate for exercise and nutrition, he unexpectedly ran into issues with fatigue and recovery which significantly hindered his training. After working closely with his wife, Kylene, a dietitian trained in functional nutrition, he learned an entirely new approach to eating and living a more holistic lifestyle. This dramatic life change lead to remarkable improvement in his overall energy and performance. In 2017, with the help of a Functional Sports Nutrition approach, he improved his half marathon PR by 5 minutes. These improvements inspired him to create the FWDfuel blog with Kylene in order to spread the word so that others could experience the same success.