Bone broth is going viral for anti-aging and weight loss benefits. Does it work? Experts explain

Bone broth is not new, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many swear by drinking the thick, savory liquid because of the health benefits. But is bone broth really that good for you? Usually marketed to be sipped on its own, bone broth has evolved into a trendy addition to meals and even smoothies (aka, brothies) for extra protein and nutrients. It now comes in liquid, concentrate or powder forms, and you can even find bone broth capsules sold as supplements. What are the benefits of bone broth, is it OK to drink every day, and which type is the healthiest? We spoke to experts to find out. What is bone broth? Bone broth is a liquid made from simmering animal bones, joints and connective tissue, such as beef, chicken, turkey and pork, per the Cleveland Clinic, It’s similar to stock, but a wider variety of bones are used, including large, marrow-rich bones, Dr. Denise Millstine, director of integrative medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, tells These are typically roasted, she adds, and simmered over a long period of time, up to 24 to 48 hours, to draw out the vitamins, minerals and collagen. (Stock usually cooks much faster.) Bone broth is also made with vinegar, seasonings and aromatics to give it a full flavor. You can drink it on its own or add it to soups or stews. Types of bone broth Popular types of bone broth include: Beef. Beef bone broth has a more full-bodied flavor than other types of bone broths and is higher in collagen. It may also take longer to cook. Chicken. Chicken bone broth has a milder flavor than beef. Add chicken feet to boost its protein and collagen content. Turkey. Turkey bone broth may be a more nutrient-dense option than chicken depending on how it’s prepared. Pork. Pork bone broth is a popular base for many soup dishes, like ramen. Using pig feet can boost the collagen and protein in the broth. Bone broth can also be store-bought or homemade. Typically, homemade bone broth will have less sodium and fewer added ingredients. Bone broth nutrition The nutritional content of bone broth will vary depending on the type of bones used, added ingredients, preparation and the brand. “There’s a huge variation among products, as well as among what each person might make (at home),” says Millstine. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s database, one serving of the typical store-bought beef bone broth provides about: 40 calories 0 gram of carbohydrates 10 grams of protein 0.5 grams of fat 0 grams of fiber 0 grams of sugar 200-400 or more milligrams of sodium A single serving of bone broth is generally one standard cup, or 240 milliliters, however some people may drink more or less than that, especially if the broth is added to another meal. Certain types and brands will contain much more sodium than others, Millstine notes. What are the benefits of bone broth? The benefits of bone broth can vary depending on the type and added ingredients, but generally it’s rich in vitamins and minerals, Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic Digestive Disease Institute, tells “It can provide calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur,” says Zumpano. Bone broth is also a good source of potassium, Millstine notes. Hydrating 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 Mayo Clinic. High in protein Bone broth is a great natural source of protein, says Millstine. Just one cup can pack 10 grams or more depending on the brand. The average person weighing 150 pounds needs 54 grams of protein a day. Protein helps keep you full for 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 to help reduce inflammation and joint pain,” says Zumpano. Boosting digestion Drinking a warm cup of bone broth can help soothe the stomach and promote digestion, and it’s more satiating than regular broth. What about bone broth and collagen? The majority of the protein in bone broth consists of collagen, says Millstine, and beef bones contain slightly more compared to other types. Recently, bone broth supplements and powders with collagen have become increasingly popular, but the experts caution that consuming collagen may not have the benefits advertised (though it’s not generally harmful, either). Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, found in the bones, skin, muscles and tendons, per the Cleveland Clinic. It provides strength and structure throughout the body, helping repair joints, blood vessels, eyes and the digestive tract. The body produces less collagen as we age, which affects the joints and skin most noticeably, says Zumpano. But collagen in its whole, unprocessed form cannot be absorbed by the body, so consuming more of it won’t raise your collagen levels, per the Cleveland Clinic. “There’s no downside to ingesting collagen, but there’s also no clear benefit,” says Millstine. 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, says Millstine. Sipping on it before or between meals is a quick way to get extra nutrients, especially if you’re practicing time-restricted eating. The experts recommend adding bone broth to a balanced diet instead of using it as a substitute for whole foods. “I think that it’s a great drink, especially in the morning, but I’m not sure it’s filling enough to replace a meal,” says Zumpano. “If you want to have it as a meal, I’d recommend making it into a soup and adding other nutrient-packed ingredients like garlic, vegetables, greens, chicken, tofu or beans,” she adds. Is it OK to drink bone broth every day? Bone broth is generally safe to drink every day if consumed in moderation and as part of a nutritious, omnivorous diet, says Millstine. If you have any food allergies, always check the label. Bone broth side effects and risks Bone broth side effects and risks “Depending on how it’s made or what’s in it, (bone broth) could have large amounts of sodium. That’s the only downside,” says Zumpano. Some types of bone broth can pack up to 500 milligrams of sodium per cup, which can add up quickly. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 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. Fortunately, there are low-sodium and unsalted varieties of bone broth available. What is the healthiest type of bone broth? The healthiest type of bone broth is homemade, the experts note. Although it’s time consuming, making your own broth can allow you to control the salt content and other ingredients. If you are buying bone broth at the store, Zumpano recommends comparing nutrition labels and avoiding those with higher amounts of sodium and added ingredients. Whether you opt for bone broth made from beef, chicken, turkey or pork bones boils down to personal preference. How to make bone broth Check out this bone broth recipe from TODAY Food.

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