7 Benefits and How to Make It

  • Bone broth is a clear, liquid made from simmering animal bones in water for a hours.
  • Benefits of bone broth include improving skin’s appearance and helping with weight loss. 
  • To make bone broth, simmer meaty bones with vegetables, spices, and lemon for 4 hours and strain.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Bone broth is a rich, clear liquid made by simmering animal bones in water for a few hours. 

It is used as stock in soups, gravies, and sauces. Additionally, it has also become increasingly popular to drink on its own, says Eleana Kaidanian, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian with the private practice Long Island Nutritionist.

Because it’s packed with nutrients, bone broth may offer a variety of potential health benefits, says Lon Ben-Asher, RD, LDN, a nutrition specialist and educator at Pritikin Longevity Center

However, many of the health claims associated with bone broth lack scientific proof, so further research is needed to determine just how beneficial it is, says Kaidanian. 

Here are seven benefits of bone broth and how much you should be drinking.

1. High in protein

Bone broth is a rich source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, says Ben-Asher. 

One cup of chicken bone broth offers 9 grams of protein, whereas one cup of beef bone broth offers 11 grams of protein.

And, not all protein is created equal. For example, a 2019 review of both human and animal studies found animal protein is easier to digest and a richer source of essential amino acids compared to plant-based protein. The amino acids in bone broth are therefore easily absorbed by your body to help build muscles, tissues, and bones. 

2. Improves hair, skin, and nails

Bone broth also contains collagen, says Kaidanian. Collagen is the main protein in structural and connective tissues like skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Its fibrous structure gives these parts of the body their shape, strength, and elasticity.

The collagen in bone broth can fortify your hair, skin, and nails. For example, a 2019 review found middle-aged to older-aged women who supplemented with collagen for three months saw an improvement in the firmness, elasticity, texture, and hydration of their skin. 

In fact, Kaidanian says bone broth may be particularly beneficial for pregnant people, as it can help preserve skin elasticity during pregnancy, while your skin stretches and grows.

3. Protects bones and joints

The collagen in bone broth also protects joints from age-related deterioration. Therefore, bone broth may be beneficial for people with bone and joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, says Ben-Asher. 

In addition, Ben-Asher says bone broth contains calcium, which is a mineral known for maintaining strong bones and preventing bone loss as we age. 

4. Helps with digestive issues

Bone broth is a rich source of glutamine, an amino acid that improves digestion and gut health, says Ben-Asher. He says it can be particularly beneficial for people with digestive conditions such as leaky gut syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. 

5. Contains electrolytes

[recirc: insider.com/how-to-get-electrolytes]Bone broth is a rich source of important minerals known as electrolytes, says Ben-Asher. Electrolytes maintain the balance of fluid in your body, stimulate muscle contractions, and transmit nerve signals. 

One hundred grams of bone broth contains:

  • Calcium: 91.1 milligrams or 9% of daily value, based on a 2,000 calorie diet (DV)
  • Iron: 4.2 milligrams (23% DV)
  • Magnesium: 36 milligrams (9% DV)
  • Phosphorus: 131 milligrams (13% DV)
  • Potassium: 506 milligrams (14% DV)
  • Copper: 0.3 milligrams (17% DV)
  • Manganese: 0.3 milligrams (17% DV)
  • Selenium: 11.6 micrograms (17% DV)

Bone broth is recommended for people with low electrolyte levels due to diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating, as it can help prevent dehydration and fatigue. 

6. Low-calorie and low-carb food

Bone broth is also low in carbs and calories, with one cup of chicken bone broth containing 40 calories and 0 grams of carbs. This makes it a healthy snack or addition to a meal. Eating foods high in refined carbs or calories increases your risk of obesity, type 2

diabetes
, and heart disease. 

7. Aids weight loss

If your goal is

weight loss
, bone broth may also be able to help. Thanks to its protein content, which keeps you fuller for longer, it can help reduce your overall caloric intake, says Ben-Asher. Plus, liquids take up more space in your stomach, creating a sense of fullness despite fewer calories. 

In fact, a 2015 review recommends eating a high-protein diet with 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to manage your weight. That’s about 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal. 

Insider’s takeaway

Bone broth is a rich, nutritious food that contains protein, collagen, and minerals like iron, calcium,

magnesium
, and phosphorus. It may help improve bone and joint health, promote weight loss, and improve your hair, skin, and nails. 

However, it is best consumed in moderation — about one cup per day, says Ben-Asher. That’s because using it as a replacement for other foods means you could be missing out on other key nutrients like fiber or vitamin C, says Kaidanian.

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