Eating bone broth has become a culinary trend in recent years, and with good reason. Research has found many health benefits for bone broth, including its ability to help with weight loss, improve bone health, and act as an anti-inflammatory. It may also help improve brain function.
Bone broth is something people around the world have eaten for centuries. One reason is that ancient cultures wanted to use every part of an animal, leaving nothing to waste (a good lesson to follow). Another is that bone broth could not be easier to make.
Bone broth comes from animal bones and connective tissue that are brought to a boil, then slowly simmered with herbs, vegetables, spices and whatever else the cook chooses. The slow cooking is what brings out the nutrients from the bones, including amino acids, minerals and collagen.
So, why does bone broth belong on the list of foods that can help maintain and even improve cognitive health, a list that includes fruits and vegetables, foods high in iron as well as the versatile pomegranate. The main reason involves sleep.
Bone Broth, Sleep and Cognitive Health
One of the keys for maintaining strong brain function as we age is regularly getting a good night’s sleep. While it’s one of the main pillars of good health – along with a healthy diet and regular exercise – sleep often is the area where people have the most difficulty achieving their goal, which should be about seven and half hours of sleep each night.
Many factors impact sleep, including stress, anxiety or health conditions that cause chronic pain or discomfort. However, finding ways to improve sleep quality is critical to avoid cognitive decline as we age.
Bone broth helps with sleep because it has a high amount of the amino acid glycine. A study published in Neuropsychopharmacology said that the “use of glycine as a therapeutic option for improving sleep quality is a novel and safe approach.” People who take glycine report better sleep at night and less fatigue the following day.
Other Health Benefits of Bone Broth
While not a cure all, getting bone broth into your diet can provide other benefits, according to studies over the past decade. They include the following areas.
- Anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation is now linked to issues such as obesity and heart disease, which is why it’s important to include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet.
- Improved joints. Bone broth contains gelatin, which may break down into collagen in the body. We tend to lose collagen as we age, so any foods that may increase collagen are helpful for cushioning joints and reducing joint pain.
- Weight loss. While filling, bone broth contains relatively few calories. That’s a combination that can keep people from eating more than they need. A 2017 study found that a bowl of chicken bone broth contained more protein (which helps give you that full feeling) than a bowl of regular chicken broth.
- Healthy bones. Bone broth may help you maintain healthy bones as it contains nutrients important to bone health, including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
It’s important to keep in mind that bone broth is a supplement to a healthy meal, not a meal in itself. While research continues into unlocking the benefits of this trendy dish, the health benefits already discovered make it worth consideration for inclusion in your diet.