Bones have great nutritional benefits

My husband did an excellent job carving our Thanksgiving turkey. So well, in fact, that very little was left on the bones that I typically use for making turkey soup. After simmering them overnight, however, I was surprised that the almost bare bones still gave up a fair amount of meat.

Nutritionally, there’s much more than meat extracted when you boil leftover poultry, beef or even fish bones. Studies have found there’s a lot of value in the broth.

When bones are simmered in water, they transfer important nutrients into the liquid. Of note are various building blocks of protein called amino acids, plus calcium, potassium, phosphorous and magnesium. Not surprisingly, these are some of the major bone-building nutrients we humans need to maintain our skeletal structure.

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

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

And have you noticed the gelatin that makes cooled bone broth look like soft Jell-O? That comes from the breakdown of collagen, a protein that helps keep skin from sagging and is crucial for healing wounds. Gelatin derived 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 best known for its ability to produce nitric oxide, a substance that helps keeps our arteries and blood vessels open for business. Arginine also helps with muscle growth and a strong immune system.

While researching this topic, we got a call that our neighbors’ young daughter was kicked by one of their horses and suffered a fractured jaw. This active, growing youngster won’t be able to chew anything solid for at least six weeks.

I gave her mom some nutrition advice and provided a few samples of high-nutrition formulas this young lady can sip through a straw. And I’ll run some strained turkey soup over to their house, as well. It just might be what the doctor ordered. 

By Percy