Exploring nutrition reveals the importance of bones in our diet, often as bone broth, a cultural staple for centuries reputed for health benefits. Here are the top five advantages of eating cooked bones.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!
1. Boosts Collagen
One of the primary benefits of consuming cooked bones lies in their rich collagen content. Collagen is a vital protein found in abundance in bones, skin, and connective tissues. When you cook bones, especially in a slow, simmering process, the collagen in the bones breaks down into gelatin, which can then be easily absorbed by the body. This gelatinous substance is known to support skin health, improve joint function, and even aid in digestive health.
2. Supports Healthy Digestion
Another noteworthy benefit of cooked bones is their role in promoting a healthy digestive system. The gelatin derived from the bones can bind with water in your digestive tract, assisting the smooth passage of food through the intestines. Research indicates that gelatin and other amino acids in bone broth may benefit those with inflammatory bowel disease, but further human studies are required to confirm this therapeutic potential.
3. Helps Maintain the Immune System
The health of our gut plays a significant role in maintaining our immune system, and cooked bones can contribute positively to this. The amino acids found in bone broth may help protect and reinforce the gut barrier, which in turn, supports the immune function. Research shows that glycine, an amino acid found in bone broth, can increase intestinal immunity and microbial diversity, thereby enhancing overall immune health.
4. Improves Joint Pain and Stiffness
The collagen and gelatin derived from cooked bones also have potential benefits for joint health. Studies indicate that collagen extracted from chicken cartilage can effectively reduce pain, and stiffness, and improve joint function. Additionally, bone broth can serve as a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine, two compounds often used in supplements for joint pain relief.
5. Supports Healthy Sleep
The humble bone broth might be your new ally in achieving better sleep quality. Glycine, which is abundant in bone broth, has been shown to improve the quality of sleep, mental function, and memory. Several studies suggest that consuming glycine before bed may enhance sleep quality and cognitive performance.
Risks and Dangers of Eating Cooked Bones
While the benefits of consuming cooked bones are plentiful, it’s crucial to also be aware of the potential risks and dangers. Not all types of bones and methods of consumption are safe for everyone, including our furry friends. Let’s explore some of these risks in detail.
Danger of Swallowing Splintered Bones
One of the main risks associated with eating cooked bones, particularly when they’re not prepared correctly, is the danger of swallowing bone fragments or splinters. When bones are cooked, especially at high temperatures, they can become brittle and easily splinter when chewed. These sharp fragments can cause serious injuries to the mouth, throat, and digestive tract, potentially leading to severe complications.
Potential Harm to Pets
Our pets, especially dogs, may seem like they can handle bones with ease, but certain types of cooked bones can pose a significant risk to their health. Cooked bones, particularly poultry bones, can splinter and potentially cause blockages or tears in the digestive system. Moreover, large bone pieces might cause choking hazards, making them unsafe for pets.
Risk of Bone Fragments
Cooking bones at high temperatures or for extended periods can cause them to break down into small, hard fragments. These bone fragments can be sharp and could potentially cause injury to the esophagus, stomach, or other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure bones are prepared and consumed safely to mitigate these risks.
How to Incorporate Cooked Bones into Your Diet
Given the potential benefits and risks associated with consuming cooked bones, you may be wondering how to safely incorporate them into your diet. Here are a couple of ways that are not only safe but can also enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your meals.
Making Bone Broth
A simple and popular method to utilize cooked bones is by preparing bone broth. This invigorating concoction is made by simmering bones, often along with vegetables and herbs, over a long period. This slow-cooking process allows for the extraction of collagen, amino acids, and minerals from the bones, resulting in a nutrient-dense broth that can be used in various culinary applications or enjoyed on its own.
As Honest and Tasty explains in the video –
Honest and Tasty
- Bone broth is nutrient-dense and considered “nature’s multivitamin” – it contains collagen, amino acids, and minerals that support gut health, joints, immunity, hair, skin and nails.
- Bone broth is a traditional, ancient food that has been replaced in modern Western diets by processed ingredients, leading to lost nutritional benefits.
- The video teaches the easiest bone both recipe – just meaty bones, onion, salt, pepper, turmeric and water. No complicated steps.
- Bone broth made from this simple recipe is very flavorful and ‘superb’. It can be used as a base for soups, stews etc.
- You should boil the bones first to remove scum and impurities, then pressure cook for 3 hours before letting the pressure release naturally.
- Straining out the solids leaves you with a beautiful, clear bone broth stock that can be consumed on its own.
- The cooked bones and onions can also be eaten afterwards as a snack or side dish, especially for dogs.
- Bone broth promotes joint health as it contains collagen and cartilage. It also repairs gut lining and supports immunity.
- Consuming bone broth daily instead of tea provides anti-inflammatory benefits and is great for hair, skin and nails.
- The video recommends giving bone broth a try and provides a simple, no-fail recipe to make the “best quality and most flavorful” bone broth at home.
Using Bone Broth in Recipes
Bone broth is incredibly versatile and can be used in numerous recipes. You can use it as a base for soups and stews, as a cooking liquid for grains, or even for braising vegetables. It’s a flavorful substitute for water or commercial stock, adding depth and richness to your dishes while also boosting their nutritional value. Furthermore, consuming bone broth between meals can serve as a low-calorie snack that keeps you satiated and nourished throughout the day.