Is Bone Broth Healthy for You? (2024)

Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and tissues of animals, typically cows, chickens, or fish. It's thought to help with everything from inflammation to joint pain. However, many of these potential benefits are based on its nutrients, as research on bone broth is limited.

This article discusses everything you need to know about bone broth, including its health benefits, nutrient composition, and recipe ideas.

Is Bone Broth Healthy for You? (1)

Why Is Bone Broth Healthy?

Bone broth is a source of several health-promoting nutrients that may reduce inflammation and improve gut, joint, and brain health.

Supplies a Variety of Nutrients

The exact nutrient composition of bone broth varies depending on the type of bones you use and how you cook them.

Animal bones are a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other minerals essential to bone health. However, research suggests that broth may not contain significant amounts of these minerals.

One study analyzed the nutrients in beef bone broth and found that its primary minerals include sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Trace amounts of iron, copper, zinc, and other minerals are also present. But, none of the minerals were found to supply more than 5% of the daily value (DV).

Bone broth is a good source of protein, which supports immune health and serves as enzymes. Amino acids found in bone broth are essential, meaning they cannot be made by the body and must come from food.

May Benefit Gut Health

Your gut microbiome plays a vital role in your health, including inflammation, metabolism, immunity, and digestion.

Bone broth is rich in the amino acid glutamine, which research suggests can improve gut health in the following ways:

  • Supporting a healthy balance of bacteria in the microbiome
  • Maintaining intestinal barrier function, which may protect against leaky gut
  • Reducing gut inflammation

One animal study found that glutamine and other amino acids found in bone broth have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, a type of irritable bowel disease (IBD). However, more research is needed.

Supports Joint Health

Bone broth contains collagen, a protein that gives structure and support to your skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. It also helps with cartilage, a tissue that protects your joints.

Studies show that collagen supplements may improve joint pain, quality of life, and function in people with osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of collagen may even help treat rheumatoid arthritis.

However, most joint health studies have researched collagen supplements rather than bone broth. Research suggests bone broth may be lower in hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline (primary amino acids) than collagen supplements.

May Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation plays a role in the development of many diseases, including:

  • Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease
  • Mood disorders like depression
  • Certain types of cancer, including colon cancer
  • Chronic lung diseases like asthma
  • Metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes
  • Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease

Although more research is needed on bone broth's ability to reduce inflammation, it contains several anti-inflammatory amino acids, including glycine and arginine. One review found that glycine can help reduce the body's inflammatory response, which may help decrease the risk of inflammation-related diseases.

May Improve Sleep and Brain Function

Glycine plays a role in memory and other brain functions. One study on animals noted that it may help treat memory loss and behavioral issues.

Another animal study found glycine may help reduce brain inflammation after a stroke. This could result in less brain damage and improved functional recovery.

Glycine can help you sleep better by decreasing core body temperature and influencing circadian rhythms. Taking 3 grams of glycine before bedtime improved sleep quality and daytime fatigue in people with difficulty sleeping.

However, you must consume several cups of bone broth to get the same amount of glycine used in the study.

Downsides of Bone Broth

The bones used to make commercial broth may contain high levels of heavy metals, which could make their way into the broth. However, homemade or store-bought bone broth levels are very low and unlikely to cause health problems. Bone broth is inappropriate for individuals who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet since it is made using animal products.

How to Make Homemade Bone Broth

Bone broth is relatively easy and inexpensive to make at home. You can use leftover bones from other meals or buybones from your local butcher shop or grocery store.

To make your bone broth at home:

  • Boil three pounds of bones from chicken, beef, pork, and/or fish in a slow cooker or large pot
  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (vinegar helps draw out the nutrients from the bones) and cook on low for 12 to 24 hours
  • Optional: Add carrots, celery, salt, and spices to add more flavor to the broth
  • Allow the broth to cool, and use a cheesecloth to strain out the bones and vegetables
  • Transfer the broth into smaller containers for storage

Bone broth generally lasts up to three days in the refrigerator. If you freeze bone broth, it will stay good for two to three months.

What’s a Good Serving Size?

There's no standard serving size for bone broth. However, many recommend starting with around 1 cup daily for maximum health benefits.

You can drink bone broth at any time of the day. Some prefer sipping it throughout the day as a snack, while others enjoy it before bed to help them relax.

Types of Store-Bought Bone Broth

If you're looking for a quick and convenient option, many grocery and health food stores sell premade bone broth. Reading the food label to determine the best store-bought bone broth for your health is important.

When possible, choose an organic bone broth that uses high-quality ingredients. Many store-bought bone broth varieties are high in sodium. If you're watching your daily sodium intake, consider choosing a brand without added salt.

A cup of store-bought beef bone broth generally contains:

  • Calories: 41
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Sodium: 350 milligrams, or 15% DV

Bone Broth vs. Stock

Bone broth and stock are made by simmering meat, animal bones, water, and seasoning. The main difference between broth and stock is in the amount of time it takes to cook them. Stock is usually only simmered for two to three hours, while bone broth may simmer for 24 hours. Bone broth is generally higher in protein and collagen.

Bone Broth Recipe Ideas

If you don't care for the taste of plain bone broth, there are several healthful ways to incorporate it into your diet, including:

  • Using bone broth in soups and stews
  • Cooking quinoa, rice, or pasta in bone broth
  • Using bone broth in gravies
  • Blending frozen cubes of bone broth into a smoothie or protein shake
  • Adding bone broth to mashed potatoes
  • Sautéingor boiling your vegetables in bone broth

Summary

Bone broth contains amino acids, protein, and minerals for optimal body function. There is some evidence that the nutrients found in bone broth may reduce inflammation and benefit gut, joint, and brain health. Still, further human research is needed to confirm the health benefits of bone broth specifically.

Is Bone Broth Healthy for You? (2024)

FAQs

Is Bone Broth Healthy for You? ›

Takeaways. Bone broth combines the richness of a stock with the drinkability of a broth. It can make a healthy addition to your diet and contains nutrients such as collagen, electrolytes, and various amino acids. Consuming bone broth can help reduce inflammation and build muscle when combined with daily exercise.

Is it good to drink bone broth every day? ›

"The use of bone broth daily has been shown to decrease appetite due to the high protein content, thus many have noticed weight loss as a side effect," Litt says. However, for this reason, bone broth should not be used daily by children and pregnant women, she adds.

Are there any negatives to bone broth? ›

“While bone broth can be a nutritious addition to the diet and is generally considered safe to consume, there are some concerns that should be noted,” Wohlford says. These include the risk of consuming too many heavy metals, which can seep into the broth from the animal bones during the cooking process.

What does the Mayo Clinic say about bone broth? ›

Bone broth is a good choice to include in your diet along with all the other foods that fight inflammation. Organic chicken or beef bone broths (or make your own) have many beneficial nutrients that will help improve bones and joints, along with all the other benefits.

What are the 7 main health benefits of bone broth? ›

However, based on its ingredients, bone broth may have the following potential health benefits:
  • Anti-inflammatory effects. The glycine in bone broth may have some anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects ( 4 , 5 ).
  • Weight management. ...
  • Joint health. ...
  • Bone health. ...
  • Sleep and brain function.

Why do I feel weird after drinking bone broth? ›

According to some studies, bone broth may be high in glutamate. Glutamate may cause adverse effects such as anxiety, restlessness, low energy, mental exhaustion, sleeplessness, and concentration problems, although there is no scientific evidence to prove this.

What type of bone broth is healthiest? ›

What kind of bone broth is healthy to drink? Non-gmo beef or chicken bone broth is the healthiest option to drink. Beef and chicken are both great options because they are high in protein, collagen, gelatin and amino acids for gut health and skin hydration.

Who Cannot drink bone broth? ›

The sodium in bone broth may not be an issue for the average healthy person, Zumpano says, but it could be risky for people who have high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease. Always talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

Is store-bought bone broth healthy? ›

The bones used to make commercial broth may contain high levels of heavy metals, which could make their way into the broth. However, homemade or store-bought bone broth levels are very low and unlikely to cause health problems.

Why should you not boil bone broth? ›

Just as when you're making stock for soups or stews, boiling will cause soluble proteins and rendered fat to emulsify into the cooking liquid. By simmering, you avoid emulsifying the fat and thus keep the stock clearer, and we found that the scum created simply settled to the bottom of the pot.

Is bone broth worth the hype? ›

It can make a healthy addition to your diet and contains nutrients such as collagen, electrolytes, and various amino acids. Consuming bone broth can help reduce inflammation and build muscle when combined with daily exercise. Several popular claims about the benefits of bone broth may be overstated.

What do doctors think of bone broth? ›

Are There Any Health Benefits in Bone Broth? Experts say many of the claims are overblown. “There is no research to support the use of bone broth on its own as a health panacea or to promote health benefits in general,” Amaral says. Still, many nutrients found in bone broth can contribute to overall health.

Can you eat the fat from bone broth? ›

As the broth chills, the fat rises to the top and hardens, making it easy to skim it off with a spoon or a spatula. I like to save the skimmed fat from the broth in a separate container because there's no way I'm throwing away something so nutritious that gives us sustainable, nourishing energy.

Can you drink too much bone broth? ›

While bone broth is generally safe for most people, overconsumption may potentially expose you to unhealthy levels of toxic heavy metals. To enjoy bone broth while reaping its health benefits, sip it warm, use it as a base for soups, stews and sauces, or add it to homemade salad dressings.

Can I buy bone broth at the grocery store? ›

In-store. The best store-bought bone broth is likely on a grocery shelf near you! That's because Kitchen Accomplice partners with grocery stores and specialty stores across the country to bring you delicious bone broth options.

What happens to your body if you drink bone broth everyday? ›

What are the main health benefits of bone broth? Considering it's one of the best sources of collagen protein along with other joint-supporting compounds, bone broth benefits include promoting joint comfort and mobility, skin health, healthy gut function and a healthy immune system.

What happens if I only drink bone broth for a week? ›

Drinking only bone broth can help you lose weight because it deprives you of calories. However, it could be harmful to the body, so be cautious and ensure that you receive the complete range of nutrients you require to be healthy. A combination of diet and exercise may help you lose weight.

How fast does bone broth heal the gut? ›

How long does it take to see results from bone broth? You'll notice results from bone broth within the first 7 days if you drink bone broth daily. Many of our guests first notice that they 'feel better' and they have more energy first. Gradually they will notice their gut health improve between 7-14 days.

Does bone broth help wrinkles? ›

As we age, our body naturally produces less collagen. Taking collagen supplements or consuming bone broth with high collagen content may be helpful in replenishing lost collagen levels, potentially leading to improved skin elasticity, fewer wrinkles, and a bit more confidence when we look in the mirror.

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