Bone broth is a rich source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Bone broth is a thick, clear liquid obtained by boiling animal bones in water for several hours. It is used as a broth in soups, gravies, and sauces. In addition, it is becoming increasingly popular to drink on its own, says Eleana Kaydanian, Ph.D., a registered dietitian in private practice.
Bone broth, because it is rich in nutrients, can offer many potential health benefits, according to Lon Ben-Asher, Ph.D., a nutritionist and educator at the Pritikin Center for Longevity.
Here are seven benefits of bone broth.
High protein content
According to Ben-Asher, bone broth is a rich source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
One cup of chicken bone broth contains 9 grams of protein, and one cup of beef bone broth contains 11 grams of protein.
But not all proteins are the same. For example, a 2019 review of human and animal studies found that animal protein is easier to digest and a richer source of essential amino acids than plant protein. Thus, the amino acids in bone broth are easily absorbed by your body, helping to build muscle, tissue, and bone.
Improves the condition of hair, skin, and nails
“Bone broth also contains collagen,” says Kaidanian. “Collagen is the main protein in structural and connective tissues such as skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Its fibrous structure gives these body parts their shape, strength, and elasticity.
Collagen in bone broth strengthens hair, skin, and nails. For example, a 2019 review found that middle-aged and older women who took collagen supplements for three months experienced improvements in their skin’s firmness, elasticity, texture, and hydration.
In fact, Kaidanian says bone broth can be especially beneficial for pregnant women because it can help maintain skin elasticity during pregnancy, while your skin stretches and grows.
Protects bones and joints
The collagen in bone broth also protects joints from age-related deterioration. Therefore, bone broth can be beneficial for people with bone and joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, says Ben-Asher.
In addition, Ben-Asher says that bone broth contains calcium, a mineral that maintains bone strength and prevents bone loss with age.
Helps with digestive problems
According to Ben-Asher, bone broth is a rich source of glutamine, an amino acid that improves digestion and gut health. He says it can be especially helpful for people with digestive problems such as leaky gut syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.
Bone broth is a rich source of important minerals known as electrolytes, says Ben-Asher. “Electrolytes maintain fluid balance in the body, stimulate muscle contractions, and transmit nerve signals.
One hundred grams of bone broth contains:
- Calcium: 91.1 milligrams or 9% of the daily value based on a 2000-calorie diet
- Iron: 4.2 milligrams (23%)
- Magnesium: 36 milligrams (9% of the daily value)
- Phosphorus: 131 milligrams (13% of the RDA)
- Potassium: 506 milligrams (14% of the daily value)
- Copper: 0.3 milligrams (17% CH)
- Manganese: 0.3 milligrams (17% of the daily value)
- Selenium: 11.6 micrograms (17% of the RDA)
Bone broth is recommended for people with low electrolyte levels due to diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating, as it can help prevent dehydration and fatigue.
Low-calorie, low-carbohydrate food
Bone broth is also low in carbohydrates and calories: one cup of chicken bone broth contains 40 calories and 0 grams of carbohydrates. This makes it a healthy snack or addition to a meal. Eating foods high in refined carbohydrates or calories increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Promotes weight loss
If your goal is weight loss, bone broth can also help. According to Ben-Asher, thanks to its protein content, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer, it can help reduce your overall calorie intake. Additionally, liquids take up more space in the stomach, creating a feeling of fullness despite fewer calories.
In fact, a 2015 review recommends following a high-protein diet with 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to control your weight. That’s about 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal.