Elite athletes and dieticians rave about the benefits.
We’re always on the lookout for the next “superfood”—kale has assumed the throne long enough, right?—and bone broth is making its case.
Bone broth is made by boiling the bones of poultry or beef until they break down. Once the bones boil long enough—we’re talking hours here, up to 48 hours in some cases—they release nutrients that are under-represented in typical diets, such as collagen.
The broth is paleo-friendly, and some elite athletes are finding the broth to be tremendous as both an anti-inflammatory and a protein source. The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers are firmly on the bone broth bandwagon—especially aging star Kobe Bryant, who’s 18 years in the NBA are finally starting to break down his body. Lakers strength coach Tim DiFrancesco told ESPN, “Everybody is looking for a magical elixir or some cure-all, but bone broth is where it’s at.”
The Lakers were introduced to bone broth by Dr. Cate Shanahan, the director of the Lakers PRO Nutrition Program. The Lakers’ chef makes the broth by buying organic free-range chickens, de-boning them and boiling the bones for more than eight hours.
The Lakers’ nutrition experts are far from the only ones touting bone broth’s benefits.
“Bone broth contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain,” sports nutritionist Melissa Hartwig told Yahoo.
As with anything, the growing market was too great to ignore, and bone broth is now sold at grocery stores across the country.
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The nutrition label is intriguing. One cup of organic chicken bone broth sold at Whole Foods contains 35 calories, 9 grams of protein and 95mg of sodium. Everything else on the nutrition label draws zeros. Comparatively, a typical cup of regular chicken broth has fewer calories, but much more sodium, a little bit of fat, sugar and carbohydrate and significantly less protein.
While some dietitians are stopping short of calling bone broth a miracle food, hardly anyone is disagreeing that it’s a healthy option for healthy people—and perhaps a beneficial choice for runners who are constantly testing their body’s limits.
“It’s not a miracle cure like some outlets talk about, but still a good-for-you food,” dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner told The Huffington Post. “It is hydrating, contains veggie and herb anti-inflammatories and the bones provide collagen, a protein which may help with our own bone, joint and skin health.”