Bone Broth for Good Gut Health

Bone Broth for Good Gut Health

Gut health is big news these days. You just need to look at the latest health and nutrition news, and even the bestseller lists, to see the amazing advances we’re making in understanding the gut and how it affects our daily lives. Take the popularity of medical doctor and BBC journalist Dr Michael Mosley’s The Clever Guts Diet as just one example. Every day we’re finding out more about the powerful influence the gut has over our general health, hunger management, immune defences and even our mood.

The more we discover about the importance of our guts to our health, the more we’re learning about how to maintain the health of the gut. Highly nutritious bone broth has proven to be a powerful dietary supplement when it comes to the healing of common gut ailments and on-going daily gut health.

What is good gut health?

Let’s begin at the beginning. What is gut health and why should we care about it? But even before that, what do we mean by the gut? Well, without getting into the full medical definition, the gut or gastrointestinal tract is the long tube, starting at your mouth and ending at the anus, including the oesophagus, stomach and intestines. Its job is to take in food, digest it to extract and absorb energy and nutrients and expel the remaining waste.

The gut is also home to the microbiome, an amazing community of trillions of microbes that influence our mood, weight and immune system. Scientists estimate that there are more than 50 trillion bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes, of more than a thousand different species, that live in our guts. Some foods we eat help this army of microbes thrive, while other foods, such as highly processed foods, and things like antibiotics can be a detriment to gut health.

 Good gut health is about encouraging the growth of ‘good’ bacteria (also known as probiotics) in your gut. Having the right mix of good bacteria in your gut is vitally important for long-term health; particularly for things like maintaining a healthy weight, fighting infection and allergies, preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, as well as depression and common gut disorders.

The healing power of bone broth

The therapeutic benefits of what we consume can’t be dismissed. There’s good evidence that high-quality bone broths may help reduce inflammation and heal the gut. Studies have shown that people with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease or leaky gut syndrome may benefit from consuming bone broth. For those with these and other gut conditions, drinking a high-quality bone broth daily may be a simple way to get anti-inflammatory amino acids into the body.

 Naturally brewed bone broths work to help the gut heal in several ways. Firstly, bone broth is easily digested and soothing for the digestive system, which makes it easy for the gut to access those essential nutrients it needs. The important point here is that any food is only as good as what your gut can absorb from it.

 There’s good research to show that gelatin (one of the core nutrients found in high-quality bone broths) is beneficial for restoring the strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as those to wheat or dairy).

 Natural bone broths have also been found to help with the growth of good bacteria (or probiotics) in the gut, as well as effectively support healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract.

 When it comes to conditions like leaky gut syndrome, the collagen constituent of bone broths (which is what is converted into gelatin in the bone broth brewing process), and the amino acids proline, glutamine and arginine, help seal the tiny openings in the gut lining and support gut integrity.

 Prebiotics, probiotics and collagen – the super trio for digestive health

Digestion is a good indicator of a person’s overall health, and it's closely related to gut health. Unfortunately, for many of us, modern diets of highly refined and processed foods and general lifestyle factors, such as stress and lack of exercise, are playing havoc with our digestive health.

 Above, we’ve touched on the benefits of probiotics and collagen for gut health. However, there’s another important constituent of bone broth that we need to consider – prebiotics. But what do these things really mean for our gut and our digestive health? Let’s take a closer look.

Bone broth – a top source of consumable collagen

Collagen has many benefits for the digestive system. For starters, collagen is hugely important for the health of the gut lining. This lining, which is populated by billions of bacteria, is important as it enables nutrients to be transferred into the bloodstream and throughout the body. Collagen is the primary component of the cells that make up our gut lining.

 This essential protein can be made the body itself or can be consumed in foods that contain the skin or bones of animals. Properly prepared bone broth is one of the best sources of naturally occurring collagen in any food product. For this reason, bone broth, which contains collagen as well as collagen in its hydrolyzed form – gelatin, is a highly recommended addition to the diet of people who suffer from digestive complaints, food intolerance's and for general day-to-day digestive health, particularly for people over the age of 25 when the body’s own production of collagen begins to decline.

 The upshot of all this is that by increasing your intake of naturally occurring collagen in products such as bone broth is key in strengthening the gut barrier, and in turn improving digestion and increasing the absorption of crucial nutrients necessary for overall better health and well being.

The wonders of prebiotics and probiotics

Although they sound similar, prebiotics and probiotics play very different roles in our digestive health.

First, a little background. Prebiotics or prebiotic fibre is the non-digestible part of foods like vegetables and fruits that go through the small intestine undigested and is fermented when it reaches the large colon. Why is this important? Well, the fermentation process feeds the ‘good’ bacteria in our gut and increases the number of desirable bacteria that lead to better health and reduced risk of disease. 

Probiotics, on the other hand, are the live beneficial bacteria that are naturally created by the process of fermentation in foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso soup and kimchi.

 A helpful way of thinking about the difference is by thinking of a garden. Probiotics are like the seeds you add to a garden bed, while the prebiotic fibre is the water and fertilizer that helps the seeds grow and thrive.

Properly prepared natural both broths are an excellent source of both prebiotic fibre and probiotics that are easily digested to boost and strengthen the gastrointestinal system and, in turn, aid in the absorption of the essential nutrients the body needs. 

 Bone broth for good, everyday gut health

On a day-to-day level, natural, traditionally made bone broths are great for supporting the proper functioning of the gut, which in turn supports normal immune system function, inflammation response, and that, in turn, plays an important role in maintaining general health and well being. Quality bone broths have been shown to promote healthy sleep, boost energy levels during the day, and even boost a person’s mood.

Nutrient-dense, easy to digest and full of flavour, not to mention convenient and easy to prepare, natural both broths make it an ideal daily health supplement for maintaining general day-to-day gut health. It’s all about keeping those ‘good’ bacteria happy and your microbiome in tiptop health. 

Though it is important here to distinguish between common supermarket brand broths, soups, stocks and similar products, and naturally brewed broths such as those from Australian Bone Broth. All broths and broth products are not created equal. The best advice is to check the label before purchasing any broth product. You might be surprised to find that many supermarket products are not brewed from real bones, but instead are lab-produced flavourings that lack the critical and essential nutrients that are paramount to maintaining good gut health.

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