Bone Broth Protein: Why You Should Try It
I don’t eat very many animal products, but collagen-rich bone broth is a beneficial “whole” food that may be a missing link even for people like me who eat mostly plants.
I’m excited to tell you what’s in it that makes it so special, and why you should try it!
What’s In Bone Broth?
Bone broth is one of the world’s oldest whole foods, used in cultures all over the world, for thousands of years. Simmering bones and connective tissue for many hours (even days!) releases into the water an impressive array of healing nutrients:
Bone broth is surprisingly high in protein, making it a very satisfying, filling drink. Many people use it as part of a regular fast, from food, to help stay satiated while they detox and lose weight.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and essentially acts as the glue that holds us all together.
A strong and elastic form of protein, collagen provides structure and protection for tissues and joints, and building blocks for hair, skin, and teeth. It is also key for a healthy digestive system.
Over time, our bodies lose the ability to make collagen (hello, wrinkles and arthritis!). Recent trials show that collagen supplementation, such as bone broth, can help repair and maintain arthritic joints.¹
Gelatin and collagen have the same nutritional properties, but they are processed differently by the body. The amino acids in gelatin are essential for maintaining skin health, including the “skin” of your intestinal tract (which is so big, it would cover a tennis court!).
The “heal and seal” function of this nutrient helps repair intestinal issues like leaky gut, improving digestion and absorption and quieting inflammation. It also strengthens and repairs your outer skin, and your nails and hair, too.
This amino acid has many jobs. It is a building block of both collagen and muscle tissue, which makes it an important nutrient for maintaining lean muscle as we age, and for strengthening our digestive systems, as it helps keep the lining of our intestinal walls impermeable.
Glycine is also key in helping our body convert nutrients in the food we eat to energy for our cells, which in turn aids in the process of rebuilding muscles after a workout.
It also acts as a neurotransmitter, improving mental function, preventing fatigue, and helping to regulate sleep.²
Proline raises metabolism and has a special role in coronary artery health. It helps loosen and clear fatty cholesterol plaque deposits from inside arterial walls, and helps keep new deposits from forming. Really important for reducing your heart attack risk! It also works with glycine to repair soft tissue, particularly in the digestive tract.
Depending on the quality and source of the bones, bone broth can also have a great profile of minerals, like phosphorous, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium.
How is Bone Broth Protein Made?
Bone broth is made by simmering bones and ligaments on low heat for several hours. It is most often done with chicken or beef bones, but you can can also use turkey, lamb, other wild game, and even fish (though fish broth will naturally have a distinct, fishy flavor). Simmering the bones low and slow allows the water to extract all of the healing nutrients that we discussed above.
The broth is, of course, liquid, so how does it transform into a protein powder? The protein is extracted and the water is removed, which leaves behind a powder that can be rehydrated or added to soups, smoothies, coffee, baked goods, and more for an extra protein boost.
Does Bone Broth Protein Have To Be Organic?
As for the quality of the bones used in bone broth and bone broth protein powder, grass-fed is more important than organic. In fact, bone broth protein is one instance that you don’t necessarily want an organic label. Here’s why:
An “organic” cow or chicken must be fed organic feed in order to get the USDA certification. Sounds good, right? After all, I recommend organic produce for humans!
But cows are supposed to graze on grass, not eat certified “feed” (usually corn or grains). Organic beef production also allows confining the animal if it has “outdoor access.” Some growers do have organic fields and can raise organic, grass-fed beef, but an “organic” label does not guarantee that scenario.
So if you see “organic” on the label, you know that more than likely, the animal has been confined and fed something it shouldn’t be eating–look instead for “grass-fed” sources.
I know it’s a hassle to find grass-fed beef bones, however, and simmer them long enough to get the nutrients (up to a couple of days). I tried it for a while; it was a stinky drag, and very inconvenient!
But powdered sources have been shown to be contaminated by heavy metals and pesticides, and I didn’t want that problem, either!
So, I was thrilled to find a great source of clean, pollutant-free, grass-fed bone broth protein powder for easy portable nutrition–and it wouldn’t stink up my house!
It comes from grass-feed beef in Sweden, where the problematic pollutants in other bone broth proteins are not allowed to be sprayed or injected. (Check out the test results, here.)
GreenSmoothieGirl Bone Broth Protein Powder
I loved the protein so much that I used it for our GreenSmoothieGirl Bone Broth Protein powder, available in Natural, Chocolate Shake, and Vanilla Shake!
The Natural version is pure bone broth protein with nothing added, so it has a neutral taste that easily incorporates protein into any food or beverage without adding flavor. It goes down easy by itself, too, in hot or cold water.
My favorites? The Vanilla Shake and Chocolate Shake flavors!
They are both sweetened with the naturally low-carb whole food, monk fruit, and these blends are so unbelievably yummy that we had to name them “shakes!” Because they literally taste like such a rich treat.
They blend easily and are fabulous in just plain water–cold for a refreshing protein-boosting “shake,” or hot for a soothing, cozy “hot cocoa”-like treat at bedtime. Even kids will ask for more!
You can also make the protein powders into a meal by blending them in a fruit and veggie smoothie, mixing the Natural version into your favorite soup, adding them to quick bread recipes, or making protein ball snack bites. You can even add a teaspoon or two to a salad dressing! The flavors are so versatile, there’s really no limit to how you can up the protein content in any of your meals.
Give them a try, and let me know your favorite way to use them. (My latest favorite? Half a scoop of Vanilla Shake in my morning coffee–YUM!)