Bad to the Bone (Broth)

So, lately, I’ve been hearing and seeing a lot about bone broth – the avocado toast of the winter! (Just kidding, we’re all still eating avocado toast.) Places like Springbone and Brodo in New York have started serving this warm (and apparently, life-giving) liquid in to-go cups for $5-$11 a pop!

Hemsley and Hemsley

I was a little confused when I started seeing blog-posts about “how to make your own bone broth,” because isn’t it just soup? Like chicken soup, minus the chicken, etc.?

I’m not a big-believer in all-healing foods. I think that green juices are a great way to get some extra vitamins in, but eating a big (fiber-filled) salad can provide you with the same (and more) nutritional value. I think taking a wheatgrass shot when you’re sick is not as effective as the old-fashioned “drinking a lot of water and sleeping” cure.

But I am one to try new things AND do my research before forming an opinion on something. So, I did some investigating to see if this magical beverage is in fact the millennial’s penicillin.

What I found out:

  • There is not a lot of science backing the benefits of bone broth.
  • There is no one standard recipe, therefore nutritional content varies.
  • Believed to heal and restore collagen (structural protein found in connective tissue), but the collagen in the broth probably doesn’t have any effect on YOUR bones.
    • Basically, collagen is broken down into amino acids and your body decides where to use those protein building blocks.
    • Plants are actually a more complete source of collagen. (Going back to my salad point.)
  • The vitamins and enzymes get denatured by heating the broth.
  • Bone broth COULD be beneficial for your immune system IF made from chicken bones.
    • So, having chicken soup made from real broth (not stock cubes) could slightly reduce inflammation or help respiratory infections.
  • Good for athletes because it replenishes the electrolyte sodium.
    • Another takeaway – broth is high in sodium. If you want to avoid bloating before your holiday party, I wouldn’t suggest broth as a pre-game drink.

Summary: Bone broth is a food trend that has accumulated a decent amount of crafty marketing. Don’t be fooled by the hype.

BUT, it is not BAD for you. So, if you like the taste and you need a cold-weather alternative to coffee, hot chocolate, or tea, then broth away!

(Source: NPR, Time)

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