Longer, stronger hair. Nails, too.
A cure-all for arthritis. Boosted detoxification.
Glowing skin. Good for gut health.
A substitute for milk.
These are just some of the health claims you’ll see on the internet – or hear from your ‘wellness’ friends – when looking into the benefits of drinking bone broth.
Yep, your mum called it stock, back when stock was actually made from the bones of cows or chickens, before it came is a small flavoured cube. Now we’re calling it bone broth and many people are believing it’s almost some form of medicine.
So let’s take a look at the truth.
Bone broth health claims that do stack up.
The good news is that some of the claims out there aren’t totally wrong.
You know that whole ‘have some chicken soup when you’re sick’ advice? Turns out there’s an element of truth to it.
“There is some evidence that chicken soup may be helpful for upper respiratory tract infection,” Professor Manny Noakes, Senior Principal Research Scientist on the Nutrition and Health Program for the CSIRO told Mamamia.
“This seems to result from the effect on clearing nasal mucus more quickly.”
“There are also reports of anti-inflammatory effects. Bone broth can vary a lot in terms of what it contains. In the case of chicken, bones that include the cartilage may release collagen through cooking and some of the breakdown products of that collagen may be responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties,” Professor Noakes said.
“There is certainly some scientific evidence for benefits to joint health, too. However, any benefit for skin, hair and nails hasn’t been confirmed in scientific studies.”
Bone broth health claims that don’t cut it.
As mentioned above, bone broth isn’t going to make your skin glow or your hair and nails grow. Sadly, a whole bunch of other purported bone broth health claims just don’t have the evidence to back them up, either.
“It is sometimes suggested that bone broths are a good nutritional source and could be a milk substitute. However, the concentration of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, in bone broth is 10 times less than milk,” Professor Noakes said.
“Bone broth has been reputedly thought to benefit autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, depression and schizophrenia. However, there is no scientific evidence yet that there is a true benefit.”
However, Professor Noakes said that consuming good quality bone broth can’t hurt.
“There would be little harm in incorporating bone broth into diets of these individuals.”
Important bone broth info to note.
If you're really into bone broth, you might want to watch just how much you're consuming.
"There have been some concerns about bone broth and leaching of toxic chemicals like lead from bone into the broth. However, recent studies appear to show that these levels are very low in Western countries."
"However, drinking vast quantities of bone broth may require caution. Bone broth made at home can be higher in a substance called creatinine. Levels in the blood of creatinine are used to assess kidney function and recent bone broth ingestion prior to the test may give misleading results. This is of course not an issue for most healthy individuals," Professor Noakes said.
The final word on bone broth.
While it's not going to cure ADHD or make your skin look any younger, it is a healthy and tasty option. It's also a great way to minimise food waste.
"Overall the benefits of bone broths as soups with added vegetables can be a nutritious food incorporated regularly into eating patterns. They can be very flavoursome and a useful way to extend cheaper cuts of boned meat and chicken carcasses," Professor Noakes said.
Do you drink bone broth? Why do you like it? Tell us in the comments.