Bone broth has many names. The French call it bouillon. The Italian call it brodo. The Spanish and Portuguese call it caldo. We call it liquid gold.
What makes this stuff so special? The short answer is collagen. Bones and connective tissue are the only true dietary sources of type II collagen — a protein that’s known for keeping skin smooth and supple and teeth and joints healthy, as well as touting dozens of other health benefits.
In addition to collagen, bones are also loaded with several anti-inflammatory amino acids, minerals, and compounds that can help speed up your body’s natural healing processes from things like sports injuries, arthritis, or leaky gut.
So, these “scraps” that most of us usually toss in the garbage are serious nutritional powerhouses. But when was the last time you chowed down on a piece of cow’s knuckle? Or snacked on an ox tail? We’ll assume the answer is never.
Since we don’t eat bones in their whole form, cooking them into a broth that’s simmered for 10 to 20 hours (or more) is the best way to release their powerful nutrients, and experience a whole new level of health.
What Are the Health Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth?
Heal Your Gut + Digestive Aid
Bone broth has a rich history of being used as a digestive tonic, especially in traditional Chinese medicine some 2,500 years ago. Today, it’s one of the top recommended foods for improving symptoms of chronic digestive conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis.
The reason for why bone broth is so healing for the gut goes back to collagen, which forms gelatin when it’s cooked down even further. Collagen and gelatin are not only rich in amino acids that reduce inflammation in the GI tract — such as glutamine — they also have the unique ability to “seal and heal” holes in the gut lining, which can cause a condition called leaky gut syndrome.
Although research is in the early stages, there’s evidence to show that leaky gut is the primary underlying cause of digestive conditions. It’s also a contributor to autoimmune diseases, depression, brain fog, anxiety, allergies, eczema, acne, and chronic low energy. Worst of all, leaky gut can be silent and show no symptoms in the early stages. It’s also believed to affect over 70% of the population.
Bone broth is recommended on special gut healing diets and protocols, like the GAPS diet, the SCD diet, and the Low FODMAP diet.
Soothe Inflamed Joints and Relieve Arthritis
Whether it’s an injury, arthritis, or sore muscles, there’s no better way to nourish your bones and joints than by consuming more of the nutrients already found within them, including hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium, and magnesium. Bone broth is packed with all of these nutrients, plus several amino acids that help reduce joint pain and inflammation, like glycine and proline. It’s for these reasons that bone broth is becoming a go-to recovery drink among athletes.
A fun fact: Kettle and Fire Bone Broth was born because our co-founder, Nick, tore his ACL playing soccer and needed a high-quality bone broth to help speed up his recovery time. (You can read more on that here.)
Accelerating Weight Loss
Following a bone broth diet is great for sustainable weight loss. A bone broth diet involves eating Paleo for five days and fasting for two. During this timespan you’ll drink bone broth regularly with an increase in usage on the fasting days.
The combination of intermittent fasting and bone broth accelerates weight loss through burning fat more efficiently and restricting calorie intake. When doing the diet, we also noticed a reduction in cellulite.
Better Skin, Hair, and Nails
Even if you had never heard of bone broth before, you’ve probably heard of collagen, thanks to the beauty industry.
Many anti-aging skincare lines add collagen to their face creams, moisturizers, and serums (and sell them for a pretty penny). But what many people don’t know is that collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed through the skin, which means these creams can’t provide much in the way of results.
The good news is that collagen can be absorbed through your digestive system. And because there’s a direct link between the gut and the skin, adding bone broth to your diet is going to have a far more powerful and lasting impact on the overall appearance and health of your skin.
Let’s not forget about hair and nails, which are made up of proteins like collagen. Collagen helps strengthen nails, and encourages hair to grow in thicker, quicker, and take on a healthy shine. (Remember this for the next time you get a bad haircut!)
Deep, restful sleep is something we could all use a little more of. In fact, stats show the average person gets less than 7 hours of sleep per night, so it’s important to do everything you can to make those hours count.
Bone broth is rich in glycine, an anti-inflammatory amino acid that works on the Central Nervous System (CNS). When taken before bed as a supplement, studies show glycine can improve sleep quality and reduce daytime drowsiness. It’s even more effective when paired with other sleep-supportive nutrients, like calcium and magnesium.
In other words, bone broth has everything you need in a night cap.
All of the benefits you reap from bone broth, your growing baby will experience, too — including healthy bones, joints, and a solid digestive system.
When morning sickness hits, it can be impossible to keep nutritious food down. But bone broth tends to be soothing for nausea, and is usually well tolerated. Best of all, bone broth offers several of the nutrients you and your growing baby need, including protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. As an added bonus, the slow simmer time of the bones makes the nutrients in bone broth highly bioavailable and easier to absorb than a nutritional supplement.
Bone broth can also help increase fertility, help you have a more comfortable pregnancy by nourishing stiff or painful joints, and may increase calcium levels in breast milk.
Enhanced Results on the Keto, Paleo and Intermittent Fasting Diets
Bone broth is an excellent source of nutrition on the Paleo diet, and is encouraged to drink during periods of intermittent fasting. It also fits in well with macronutrient requirements on the keto diet, and may help reduce symptoms of the keto flu.
The nutrition and healing potential of bone broth is so powerful, that an entire diet — The Bone Broth Diet — has been created around it.
The nutrients in bone broth make it a powerful functional food that can benefit your entire family — including your fur babies. Bone broth is good for your pet’s shiny coat, bones, joints, digestion, and teeth.
Here you can find out how Nellie, a 15 year old rescue pup, beat her odds of living by only drinking bone broth.
Chicken Bone Broth Benefits
Rich in collagen - Organic chicken bones (especially feet!) add extra collagen to your broth. Our chicken bone broth contains 6 grams of collagen per serving.
Packed with protein - Chicken is a great protein source and same goes for chicken bones. Kettle & Fire bone broth comes packed with 10 grams of protein per serving.
Reduces gut inflammation - Bone broth helps heal and seal a leaky gut which is the root cause for many autoimmune diseases.
Beef Bone Broth Benefits
- Rich in bone marrow - Bone broth made from 100% grass fed cattle and simmered over long cook times extracts bone marrow that contains healthy nutritious hormones and lipids.
- Loaded with amino acids - Similar to chicken bone broth, the nutrients extracted from beef bones contain amino acids like glycine and glutamine that improves digestion and repairs your gut lining.
Can’t You Get Collagen From Plants?
No. Plants are a great source of vitamins and minerals that can help stimulate your body to produce its own collagen, but there is no known plant food that offers type II collagen, the form that offers all of the health benefits listed above.
One thing to consider about bone broth that sets it apart from plant foods: Even if you do eat a variety of plants that are rich in collagen-boosting nutrients, if you have a weakened digestive system or leaky gut, you may not fully absorb them. On the other hand, the collagen in bone broth is incredibly easy to absorb, even for those with compromised digestive systems.
How to Get More Bone Broth into Your Diet
Of course, you don’t just have to drink it — although we do have a free and epic downloadable bone broth sipping guide for when you do. You can blend bone broth into your green smoothies, make healthy collagen gummy bears, and use it in everything from scrambled eggs, soups, curries, stews, breakfast bowls, and tacos.