Did you know bone broth is highly nutritious, helps fight inflammation, helps the digestive system, improves joint health, helps with weight loss, improves sleep and brain function and improves hair and skin?
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well as it turns out, that may be the case. Most of these benefits are based on assumptions and there is very little scientific research on bone broth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there has to be scientific evidence for something to be true, just that we have to take it with a grain of salt. Ha ha.
Similarly, there is little evidence for chicken soup and infection, but we all know it’s comforting and makes us feel better. Though science hasn’t found why exactly, they do know that chicken soup helps with inflammation.
One study found that bone broth was a poor source of many nutrients but adding vegetables increased the nutrient content. They also stated that you could get a lot more nutrients by eating other foods.
The assumption about hair, bones and skin has to do with collagen (that gelatinous layer on our broth after its cooled). The assumption goes like this: collagen is released from the bones in the broth and therefore when we consume it, the collagen will be absorbed by our own bones, skin and hair. However, through digestion, collagen is broken down into amino acids and the amino acids are used by the body where they are needed most. Additionally, there was a concern raised, as bones are known to store heavy metals, particularly lead. However, a 2017 study reported that the lead and cadmium content of both store-bought and homemade bone broth was low.
There is no harm in eating lots of bone broth if its low sodium, low fat and contains lots of vegetables. To get the most out of your broth, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (this reduces the pH) and simmer for 8 hours or more. This helps increase the amount of calcium and magnesium in the broth, but it’s less than 5% of the daily recommended levels.
Want to make your own broth? I like to start with this recipe by Epicurious and add 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and simmer it for at least 8 hours (you can add extra water). You can also brown the bones first by roasting them on a baking sheet at 450F for 30-45 minutes. This gives your broth more flavour and a darker colour.
Remember the butter vs margarine debate? One year butter was declared the winner and the next it was margarine. Well, it turns out the experts don’t entirely agree on this one either.
Many of my blogs are inspired from conversations with others, and this one is no exception. My husband, Greg, and I were debating which oil was the healthiest. From my reading, it was olive oil; from what he’d read it was avocado oil. He’s been waiting for me to write this blog for months!
As with most subjects I seem to tackle, there’s no easy answer. There is a ton of conflicting information out there which sent me down about a dozen rabbit holes. So again, bear with me as I try to make the science part as pain-free as possible. Or, if you just want the answer, scroll to the bottom of this article.
Let’s start with saturated and unsaturated fats. Most saturated fats are solid at room temperature, such as butter, lard, palm and coconut oils, animal fat and dairy products. Unsaturated fats are classified as monounsaturated (omega-9) or polyunsaturated (omega-3 and omega-6) and both are in liquid form at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated and polyunsaturated may be healthier than monounsaturated (though the jury is still out). And I forgot to mention trans fats or hydrogenated fats (i.e., margarine, shortening), the worst of them all.
If you’ve made it this far, I don’t want to lose you on the chemistry. Instead I’ll explain why one is better than the other. Trans fats increase your risk of heart disease, increase your LDL (bad cholesterol), decrease your HDL (good cholesterol) and contribute to insulin resistance. Saturated fats increase your risk of heart disease and stroke and raise both your LDL and HDL. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats decrease your risk of heart disease and decrease the levels of LDL (many studies show that they don’t affect HDL). Omega-3s are heart protective and anti-inflammatory and may increase your HDL. Omega-6s may help control your blood sugar, reduce your risk for diabetes and lower your blood pressure (it may also be anti-inflammatory). They used to say that you should consume more omega-3 than omega-6 but it looks like this is also being challenged.
Other things to consider:
The table below is a summary of the most widely available oils. Many of them come refined or unrefined (the less common ones are in brackets).
So, what’s the answer? I’d say the best oil isn’t one from a bottle but from the foods themselves. However, if you must use an oil, olive oil and avocado oil it is (Greg and I both win)! Try to use unrefined oils (extra virgin, virgin, expeller pressed or cold pressed) but keep in mind they also have a lower smoke point than their refined counterparts.
I’ve taken courses on skincare and nutrition and have researched natural medicine and healthy foods. It’s fascinating how our diet affects our body’s health. There are some nutrients you can both ingest and apply topically, some that can only be ingested (or produced by the body) and some that can only be applied topically. Today we’re going to look at how our diet affects our skin, what nutrients the skin needs, what benefits they provide and what foods you can eat.
To maintain healthy skin, you need water, vitamins A, B, C and E, zinc, essential fatty acids and proteins:
Collagen cannot be applied topically as the molecules are too big to absorb through the skin. Collagen doesn’t exist in any food other than homemade bone broth and is instead produced in the body (The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen, Cleveland Clinic). As we get older our body produces less collagen. Here’s what to eat to help boost collagen production:
Zinc can be found in:
These foods contain antioxidants:
Eat many of these different foods and make your skin happy. It will reward you with beautiful, healthy looking skin!
Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/essential-fatty-acids
The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-way-you-can-get-more-collagen/
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that results from uranium breaking down underground. It gives off radiation and is odourless, colourless and tasteless. Remember your table of elements? Its symbol is Rn.
It’s found in homes across Canada and gets in through cracks in foundation walls, floor drains, or anywhere the house contacts the soil.
It’s the second highest cause of lung cancer behind smoking and the number one cause in nonsmokers. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time in the basement, specifically in winter, as our homes are more air tight with all our windows closed.
You can buy a do-it-yourself test kit for about $30 and then ship it to a lab to analyze the results. Or you can hire a professional to test it for you (some even do free testing). You can also purchase a radon detector for about $200-300 and monitor it on an ongoing basis. See https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/radon.html for more information and links to where you can find a test kit or professional near you. Regardless of the method you choose, the test should last three months.
The Canadian guideline is 200bq/m3. If it’s over this amount, you should take steps to remediate it. This can be done by venting the gas from under the basement floor to the outside.
For a more comprehensive guide check out Radon - A Guide For Canadian Homeowners.
We all know that antioxidants are good for us but we may not understand how they work, all their benefits or where to get them. Oxidation (think rust or deterioration) is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable and can lead to damaged cells (like a rusted out car). An antioxidant is a molecule that prevents or delays cell damage (like a rust proofing sealant) AND doubles as an anti-inflammatory. Still with me?
The bad news is that free radicals can lead to premature aging, damaged cells, broken down tissue, activation of harmful and cancer causing genes and an overloaded immune system.
So what can we do to prevent our bodies from "rusting" out? We can limit or avoid free radicals. This means processed food, medication, high exposure to chemicals, stress, sun exposure and smoking.
We can also remove the free radicals from our bodies by consuming antioxidants in superfoods. This means purple, red or blue grapes, or red wine (hooray!), wild blueberries, goji berries, dark chocolate, pecans, artichokes, kidney beans, cranberries, blackberries, cilantro, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, kale, broccoli, squash, wild salmon and green tea. If you're doing your own seasoning, use clove, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, cumin, parsley, basil, ginger, thyme, garlic and cayenne. Basic guidelines recommend 3-4 or more servings a day.
The benefits of consuming these foods include slower signs of aging in the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain, glowing skin, reduced cancer risk, longer life span, protection against heart disease and stroke, reduced risk for dementia, vision loss and cataracts.
Antioxidant supplements do not provide all these benefits and none of them help you live longer. Your diet and lifestyle are the most important - don't rely on supplements. To supplement is to add extra to something.
And if that's not enough, researchers are currently finding that many health problems are linked to inflammation (heart disease, cancer, dementia, arthritis, etc). Which leads me right back to antioxidants.
So enjoy your red wine and dark chocolate (in moderation) and eat a variety of whole foods to delay the signs of aging and to reduce your cancer risk.
Loves living a healthy lifestyle and sharing what she learns along the way.