On Nutrition: The benefits of bones

My husband did an excellent job carving our Thanksgiving turkey. It was actually so good that there was very little left of the bones I normally use to make turkey soup. But after boiling them overnight, I was surprised that the almost bare bones still left a decent amount of meat.

Nutritionally, there’s now much more to it than just the meat that comes out when you boil the bones of poultry, beef, and even fish. Studies have found that there is a lot of value in the broth.

When bones are boiled in water, they transfer important nutrients to the liquid. Notable are the various building blocks of protein, called amino acids, plus calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Not surprisingly; these are some of the essential bone-building nutrients we humans need to maintain our skeletal structure.

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Unfortunately, there are very few real human studies on the benefits of bone broth. But the results from animal research are interesting enough for me to continue our family’s tradition of turkey soup. Here are a few findings:

Bone broth contains glutamine (an essential amino acid for making protein), which is particularly important for the health of our digestive system. At least one animal study has shown that glutamine may help reduce inflammation in conditions such as ulcerative colitis.

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And have you noticed the gelatin that makes chilled bone broth look like soft jelly? This comes from the breakdown of collagen, a protein that helps prevent skin from sagging and is crucial for healing wounds. Gelatin obtained from bones is also rich in amino acids that build and repair muscle tissue and strengthen our immune system.

Arginine, another amino acid in bone broth, is known for its ability to produce nitric oxide, a substance that helps keep our arteries and blood vessels open for work. Arginine also aids in muscle growth and a strong immune system.

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While investigating this matter, we received a call from our neighbor’s little girl that one of her horses had been kicked and her jaw broken. This active, growing teenager won’t be able to chew anything solid for at least six weeks.

I gave her mom some nutritional advice and a few examples of highly nutritious formulas this young lady can sip through a straw. I’ll take home some strained turkey soup, too. It may just be what the doctor ordered.

Barbara Intermill is a registered dietitian nutritionist and syndicated columnist. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition: The Uncomplicated Science of Eating” she. she email him at: [email protected]



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