Author: Ariel Warren, RDN, LD, CDCES
Bone broth is typically prepared by simmering animal bones, connective tissues, and various herbs and vegetables in water over an extended period. While this may not sound the most appetizing, bone broth contains a multitude of nutrients and compounds that contribute to many health benefits. Some of the key components of bone broth include:
- Collagen: Bone broth is rich in collagen, a protein that provides structural support to various tissues in the body. Collagen is composed of amino acids, including glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids play crucial roles in supporting overall health and may contribute to improved insulin sensitivity.
- Amino Acids: Bone broth contains a wide array of amino acids, including glycine. Glycine is an essential component of proteins and is involved in various metabolic processes. It helps support liver function, aids in the detoxification process, and supports the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that can reduce oxidative stress and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Minerals: Bone broth contains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are important for maintaining overall health and proper insulin function. These minerals play roles in enzymatic reactions, nerve function, and muscle contraction, which can indirectly influence insulin sensitivity.
Bone Broth can be especially helpful for people with diabetes because of its high amount of Glysine. Which is amino acid with the following beneficial qualities for people with diabetes:
- Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Glycine has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity by promoting glucose uptake into cells and improving the insulin signaling pathway. By improving the body’s response to insulin, glycine may help regulate blood sugar levels more effectively.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Glycine possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce chronic inflammation. Inflammation is closely linked to insulin resistance, and by reducing inflammation, glycine may contribute to improved insulin sensitivity.
- Neuroprotective Effects: Studies suggest that glycine may have neuroprotective effects, helping to preserve the health and function of nerve cells. This is important in diabetes management as nerve damage (neuropathy) is a common complication of diabetes. By supporting nerve health, glycine may help mitigate the development or progression of diabetic neuropathy.
To include bone broth and glycine in your diabetes management plan, consider the following tips:
- Prepare Homemade Broth: Making your own bone broth allows you to control the ingredients and quality. Use grass-fed, organic bones and simmer them with herbs, vegetables, and spices to enhance flavor. The longer the bones simmer, the more glycine and other beneficial compounds will be extracted.
- Consume Glycine-Rich Foods: In addition to bone broth, glycine can be found in various food sources. Incorporate foods like poultry, seafood, meat, beans, and dairy products into your diet to increase your glycine intake.
- Consult with a Healthcare Professional or Registered Dietitian: If you are considering glycine supplementation, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific health needs and any existing medications.
Below are some easy ways to incorporate bone broth into your everyday diet:
- Sip it as a Warm Beverage: Heat up a cup of bone broth and enjoy it as a warm and nourishing drink. This is a simple way to consume bone broth on its own and experience its benefits. You can have it in the morning, as an afternoon pick-me-up, or before bed.
- Use it as a Cooking Liquid: Replace water or store-bought broth with bone broth when cooking grains like rice, quinoa, or couscous. This adds flavor, nutrients, and an extra boost to your dishes.
- Make Soups and Stews: Use bone broth as a base for homemade soups and stews. It adds depth and richness to the flavors while providing nutritional benefits. Experiment with different vegetables, proteins, and spices to create your favorite recipes.
- Enhance Sauces and Gravies: When making sauces, gravies, or pan sauces, substitute part of the liquid with bone broth. It will enhance the taste and add a nutrient boost to your dishes.
- Cook Vegetables and Legumes: Instead of boiling vegetables or legumes in plain water, use bone broth for added flavor and nutritional value. The vegetables and legumes will absorb the savory goodness of the broth, making them more enjoyable to eat.
- Blend into Smoothies: For a unique twist, try adding a small amount of cooled bone broth to your smoothies. This works particularly well with savory or vegetable-based smoothies, where the flavor of the broth can complement other ingredients.
- Freeze in Ice Cube Trays: Pour bone broth into ice cube trays and freeze them. These bone broth cubes can be easily added to sauces, soups, or sautés to enhance the flavor and nutrition content of your meals.
- Use as a Base for Grains and Legume Salads: Instead of using plain water to cook grains like quinoa or bulgur, or when preparing legume salads like chickpeas or lentils, use bone broth. It adds a subtle savory taste and elevates the overall dish.
- Enjoy Bone Broth-Based Beverages: Get creative and experiment with bone broth-based beverages. Combine bone broth with herbs, spices, or a splash of lemon juice for added flavor. You can also mix it with vegetable juice or add it to your favorite herbal tea for a comforting and nutritious drink.
As someone who has had type 1 diabetes for nearly 30 years, I do see a signficiant imact in my insulin sensitivity when I add bone broth into my diet. Personally, I like to head it up in the microwave and add a dash of extra herbs and salt OR I will make a miso soup with miso paste, chopped seaweed and green onions, and sometimes a few oz of shredded chicken. While it is rather low in calories, bone broth is packed with protein (9 grams per cup) and with nutrients.
Remember to choose high-quality bone broth, whether you make it at home or purchase it. Homemade bone broth allows you to control the ingredients and quality, but there are also reputable store-bought options available. Incorporating bone broth into your everyday diet can be a simple and delicious way to reap its potential benefits.
Bone broth, with its rich collagen content and amino acids, including glycine, can potentially benefit individuals with diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. Glycine, in particular, plays a crucial role in supporting various metabolic processes, reducing inflammation, and protecting nerve health. By incorporating bone broth and glycine-rich foods into a diabetes-friendly diet, individuals may be able to harness these potential benefits to support their overall health and diabetes management. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making any significant dietary changes or starting any new supplements.
Work with Ariel
Schedule an appointment with Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator, Ariel Warren, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1995. She can help you develop a personalized plan to improve your blood sugar management and help you live your best life.
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