By Rachael Link, MS, RD
Although bone broth has been enjoyed for centuries for its health-promoting properties, it has only recently started showing up across cafes, coffee shops and health stores.
So what is bone broth exactly? Made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals such as cattle, fish or chicken, bone broth is a power-packed food typically high in collagen, providing an array of amino acids and important minerals.
But while traditional bone broth requires hours upon hours of preparation, bone broth protein supplements have also become widely available in recent years, making it easier than ever to reap the rewards of bone broth anytime.
However, not all bone broth is created equal. Here’s what you need to know when making bone broth at home or selecting the right supplement for you.
Best Bone Broth Sources
When it comes to picking the best bone broth, it’s incredibly important to consider where it’s sourced from.
Bone broth is typically made from the bones of either chicken, fish or beef, each of which comes with its own unique flavor and set of benefits. So what are the best bones for bone broth?
Compared to chicken bones, cattle bones are much more dense and tend to supply a richer, more hearty flavor to bone broth. Chicken bones, on the other hand, are a bit lighter and the broth from them is easier to digest and faster to prepare. Fish can also be used to make bone broth, which tends to have a lighter and milder flavor because the bones are typically much smaller.
When it comes to bone broth nutrition, beef bone broth typically features two types of collagen (types I and III) and is often higher in collagen and many key minerals whereas chicken bone broth typically features type II collagen (as well as chondroitin, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid) and often contains more protein per serving. Meanwhile, fish bone broth offers fats, along with minerals like iodine and calcium.
You can easily make your own bone broth at home and try combining chicken, beef or fish bones to take advantage of the unique benefits that each has to offer. Although you can use pretty much any type of bone, meaty bones like oxtail and shank are often considered the best bones for bone broth because they bring a delicious flavor to the broth. You can also use the whole carcass of the chicken to make bone broth, including the feet, which are a great natural source of gelatin.
Although many of the best bone broth recipes feature chicken or beef, you can actually make bone broth using nearly any type of animal. In fact, turkey, duck, bison and rabbit can all be used to prepare bone broth instead. However, these forms are usually less widely available than chicken or beef, have not been studied as extensively, and can be more difficult to prepare in some cases.
Best Bone Broth Supplements
Selecting a bone broth supplement is a quick and convenient option when you’re running low on time but still want bone broth and its benefits. In fact, bone broth is available in powder, liquid and even capsule form, making it easy to find something that will work for you.
When looking for the best bone broth powder, be sure to select a product that is non-GMO or certified organic, low in sodium, and free of additives, fillers and chemicals. Additionally, always buy from a reputable retailer and read consumer reviews thoroughly to find the most nutritious, best-tasting bone broth protein powder.
The flavor is another important factor to consider when picking the best bone broth powder. Our Bone Broth Protein - Pure (on our store), for example, has a savory flavor that works well paired with a bit of salt and pepper in soups and broths. Meanwhile, our Bone Broth Protein - Chocolate (on our store) may be a better choice for smoothies, shakes and baked goods.
Bone Broth Collagen (on our store) is another great option that features collagen type I, II and III from real food sources. It’s formulated to support a healthy gut, skin and joints, and is available in several flavors, including Pure, Vanilla or Chocolate.
How to Use
Once you’ve found the best bone broth to drink, enjoying a soothing cup of bone broth can be a delicious and nutritious way to start your morning. However, there are plenty of other ways to add bone broth to your daily routine, from soups to smoothies, desserts and beyond.
Try swapping bone broth in for stock, water or broth in recipes like chilis, soups or stews. Chocolate or vanilla bone broth powders can also help ramp up the protein content of oatmeal or baked goods like pancakes and dessert bars.
Bone broth can be enjoyed at any time of day, depending on your personal preferences. It can also be consumed before or after working out for an extra boost of protein.
There are several different factors to consider when buying or preparing bone broth.
In addition to selecting the source of your bone broth, picking the best bones for bone broth is also important.
Although chicken, cattle and fish bones are among the most popular choices, you can use the bones and connective tissues of other types of animals as well.
Bone broth protein supplements are also available and can be a quick and convenient alternative to homemade bone broth.
When looking for the best bone broth powder, check the ingredients label carefully and purchase from a reputable retailer.
Bone broth is also easy to use and can be added to soups, smoothies, desserts and more.
Rachael Link, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian based in New York City. She completed her undergraduate degree in Dietetics at the University of Central Missouri and later received her Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Rachael is passionate about plant-based nutrition and enjoys providing easy-to-understand information to readers looking to support their health.