What is bone broth?

What is bone broth? It may sound like the latest gourmet restaurant offering, but it’s actually a different name for something familiar.

Examples include the chicken broth you give someone who’s sick, the chicken or beef stock used in stews or sauces, or the broth that comes from cooking animal or fish bones and vegetables over several hours.

Learn more with the help of Nutrition Services at UPMC.

Health benefit claims are one reason these broths are gaining popularity. But their medicinal value has been investigated medically as far back as 1934, when London doctors looked into the health benefits of bone broth. Of course, stocks made of bones and vegetables were used long before that.

Advocates extol its many benefits, citing that calcium, amino acids, and collagen leach into the liquid when bones and cartilage are boiled. Some claims are supported by medical research, but many are not. Here are the facts behind what you may have heard about the health benefits of bone broth.

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The Benefits of Bone Broth

It may reduce inflammation: What is bone broth good for? Some believe it has anti-inflammatory properties. A recent study in the Journal of Oral and Facial Pain and Headache showed that commercially available enriched broth made with bones may be a beneficial supplement in managing inflammatory pain associated with temporomandibular disorder (jaw pain). That’s pretty specific, though, and the research journals aren’t bursting at the seams with similar studies.

It’s a source of protein: At 6 to 12 grams a cup, these broths are a good source of protein.

Some say that the collagen, minerals, and other substances in the broth assist other types of body healing. As reported by NPR, however, many experts are skeptical regarding broth’s ability to promote bone growth and other cited benefits.

That said, it’s a warm and comforting food, and a good alternative to a mug of steaming tea or coffee. If it’s something you want to try as part of your diet, it won’t harm you (unless it’s loaded with sodium).

You can use broth (instead of cream or butter) to make mashed potatoes, as a soup base in diabetic meal planning, and if you follow a low purine diet for gout or kidney stones.


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