Unless you have been lost in the jungle or hiding in the arctic tundra with no access to civilization, you have probably heard that bone broth is good for you. How good for you? Well that is up for debate. There are people out there who are touting it as the best thing since the invention of the internet (which they are using to sell it).
I opened an email yesterday from such a seller and here are the claims that were made for bone broth.
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves your digestion, adrenals, bones, and teeth
- Promotes healthy joints, tendons, ligaments
- Improves the function of your immune system
- Reduces wrinkles, banishes cellulite, and improves the quality of your skin
The “banishes cellulite” is the one that got my attention. If that were true – you could not keep the stuff on the shelf. But is isn’t. Now, in theory, it could be part of a protocol with other beneficial foods and possible supplements, that could banish cellulite but a theory is not a fact.
And there are no facts that bone broth does any of these things – no research, no studies – nothing.
Now you may think that means I am not for bone broth. Actually, I love it. I am a broth rock star. I make all kinds of different broths – vegetable, chicken and bone and I infuse all kinds of wonderful flavour into them.
And while I would love all the above claims to be true, I know it is not true. And claims like these makes bone broth look like a fraud fad in the eyes of sceptics and makes it sound that those would recommend it, are all crazy exaggeraters (no such actual word so that shows how bad it is).
I for one, do not want to be labeled crazy because I want to recommend a nutritious food like this. Do we need proof of its nutrition content? No, because we know that when foods are boiled in water, the nutrients leach into the water. This is why people are discouraged from consuming boiled vegetables. Bone is high in minerals and amino acids.
And broth, unlike vegetables we cook for a meal, is boiled for hours so that means lots of nutrients are now in the broth. That is good enough for me.
How this helps us with health issues remains to be seen but it cannot hurt and it’s worth trying. I know that when I drink it, my gut and stomach feel good. Someday, science will tell me why, maybe.
In the meantime, don’t believe the hype and enjoy the broths knowing you are getting all kinds of minerals and amino acids.
My Best Broth Tip: Be sure to simmer the broth long enough that the water level drops by half. That is when you have finally cooked out the taste of water.
PS: There is one study – a negative one – claiming that bone broths contains high amounts of lead – made from organic chickens and tap water. I will address that quickly.
- Lead is a naturally occurring metal so it should not be surprising that some would be found in food and it has been suggested more of it stores in bone
- The “high” levels were in comparison to tap water which is, of course, very low in mineral and metal content
- The recommended levels for tap water should be below 15 ugL per day. The highest amount of the tested bone broths was 9 ugL and that is per litre which no one consumes in a day
- What was not tested is the other minerals presents like zinc which can help remove lead. Bone broth also contains amino acids that help the liver detox out lead
- Broth made with chicken meat and bones had the lowest levels of lead which means that there would also be lower amounts of the beneficial nutrients found in bone
- Our gut bacteria also can help detox out heavy metals by binding them and preventing them from entering into the body – how much so we do not know yet as research for this potential is in its early stages.
- Unless you know what an individual’s gut bacteria is doing, you do not know anything about what is happening in the body with any food, drug, chemical or anything else.
- This is the problem with research on food – the researchers only analyze one element or aspect of the food and forget all about the synergy of all the nutrients in the food.
So just as you should not believe all the excess hype about its benefits, you should also not be misled by any negative reports about bone broth either. If bone broth is something you enjoy or are interested in trying to see if it benefits you, then go for it. At the very least, your body will love the nutrients and you may experience extra health benefits along the way.
The risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets., Monro JA1, Leon R, Puri BK, Med Hypotheses. 2013 Apr;80(4):389-90
The binding characters study of lead removal by Lactobacillus plantarum CCFM8661, Ruijie Yin et al, European Food Research and Technology 242(10) · March 2016
Sequesteration of lead, cadmium and arsenic by Lactobacillus species and detoxication potential, Marc A. Monachese, The University of Western Ontario, 2012