I like to think of bone broth as the adult upgrade to the chicken soup your mom would give you as a kid. It’s comforting, warming to both your body and soul, and it’s so incredibly healing.
However, in the health world lately, it’s been touted as a “magical elixir” that will solve all your health woes. As much as I want to believe that (you know I’m a huge proponent of the healing power of soup), the bone broth that you’ve been sipping on every day might not actually have all the collagen benefit that you’ve been hoping for – there’s little verified evidence to show that bone broth has the collagen-boosting benefits that it has made it so popular among those in the wellness world.
But, before you put down you cup of bone broth for good, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that will help you get the most out of this broth….adding collagen. It’s as simple as that. Keep reading to find out how adding a collagen powder to your bone broth can improve tis healing benefits and the collagen powders that I always recommend.
* If you’re not a bone broth fan, no worries! You can add collagen to your smoothies, matcha latte, and even coffee. See my recommended brands below for options on flavors and how to add-in.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth, otherwise known as “stock” is made by simmering the bones and cartilage of animals, typically beef or chicken, for an extended period of time in order to create a protein-rich broth. It can be bought in liquid or powdered form or with a bit time and dedication it can be made at home (my favorite method).
Other than simply being a comforting beverage, bone broth can provide essential nutrients like protein, potassium, sodium and small amounts of other important vitamins and minerals. But for most people, the most touted benefit of bone broth and the reason they start sipping on it it daily is for its supposed collagen-boosting benefits. Which actually might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
The collagen conundrum
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies––it’s found in your skin, your bones, your gut and even your teeth. Essentially, collagen is a sort of glue that holds our bodies together. It gives your skin elasticity and adds strength to your hair and nails. Studies have shown that taking a collagen supplement can boost skin moisture, reduce wrinkles, reduce joint pain and promote hair growth. So, it’s no wonder that people have been turning to bone broth––which has been touted as a collagen-boosting food––for glowing skin, and a healthy mane.
Here’s the thing though: none of these studies have actually used bone broth as a source of collagen. Instead, they use collagen peptide supplements that come in the form of pills or powders. In fact, there haven’t actually been any studies done to show the benefits of regularly sipping on a cup of bone broth. There have been a few studies done on the benefits of chicken soup and it’s ability to work as a cold-stopper and a disease-fighter. But there’s a big difference between soup and bone broth: Soup is often made by boiling the meat of an animal for a few hours while bone broth is made by boiling the bones (often for eight hours or more). So it’s hard to conclusively state any benefits of bone broth when there’s little to no science-based evidence to prove them.
Plus, most bone broths don’t contain as much collagen as people think they do. In a Consumer Lab report that evaluated 11 common bone broths on the market, it was found that most liquid bone broths only contain around 2-6 grams of collagen per cup. So it’s not exactly giving you the extreme collagen boost that you might be hoping for.
The final caveat: If you’re drinking bone broth because you want get more protein via the collagen, you might be out of luck. Proteins can be categorized into two types––complete and incomplete. Complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids that you need to get from your diet. Incomplete proteins, on the other hand are lacking in one or more of the the essential amino acids. Collagen is an incomplete protein, so you would need to eat a complementary protein some other time during the day in order to fully reap the benefits.
I don’t want you to think I’m telling you to stop drinking your daily cup of bone broth. In fact, I’m telling you to keep it up––just make a simple tweak: add collagen powder. As I said before, the studies that show the advantages to taking collagen are all with either a pill or a powder supplement, so by adding a collagen powder to your bone broth you’re more likely to reap the benefits.
Here’s what brands I recommend:
Further Food – This collagen peptide powder dissolves quickly, without any test or gelling, so you won’t even notice any different in your broth. Plus, I like to keep their individual serving packets in my purse, so if I ever buy a cup of bone broth when I’m out, I can easily give it a collagen-boost!
Vital Proteins – Their collagen peptides are some of my favorites––they contain 20 grams of collagen per serving and are tasteless so they won’t affect the taste of the bone broth.