Benefits of Gelatin

Gelatin Benefits – The Anti-Aging Superfood

by Kelley Herring on February 8, 2015

Creaky knees… aching joints… fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin…

Are these the inevitable effects of aging? Or could they be the result of decades of poor nutrition?

The truth is that many of the common signs of aging can be attributed to our population’s dependence on highly-processed, carbohydrate-rich foods and unhealthy fats. However, there is also a key ingredient missing in our modern diet – one that was ever-present in the diets of our ancestors.

Gelatin can reduce joint issues

Eating gelatin-rich foods can protect and rejuvenate joints

And as you are about to see, the research shows that the absence of this food could be another major contributor to disease and degeneration as we age. The good news is that it is easy and delicious to get more of it in your diet. So, what is this ancient anti-aging superfood?

Gelatin.

If you grew up in the last hundred years, the word “gelatin” may conjure images of big bowls of brightly-colored dessert at potluck dinners… the Jello molds of the 1950’s… or the giggly squares of brightly colored Jello in the 1980’s.

Of course, these forms of gelatin are anything but healthy. But when you strip away the chemical food coloring, sugar, artificial sweeteners and additives, what is left can truly be called a superfood. Unfortunately, however, it is one that has all but disappeared from the plates and bowls of our modern society.

In traditional cultures, gelatin was a ubiquitous part of the culinary tradition. Our ancestors could not afford to let any part of the animal go to waste. From slow-simmered soups, roasted meats, pickled feet and other “nasty bits” – the meat, bones, skin and connective tissues were all consumed in some way or another.

Not only does this provide a unique and vital set of nutrients, it also provides critical amino acids in the proper balance. You see, most of us get an abundance of tryptophan and cysteine in our diets. These two amino acids are predominant in muscle meats (the modern-day protein source of choice). However, most of us don’t get enough glycine and proline. These two amino acids are responsible for the unique fibrous structure of collagen (the native form of gelatin).

Without sufficient glycine and proline in your diet, your cellular “scaffolding” will begin to break down, leading to many of the physical signs of aging. But the benefits of nose-to-tail eating go much farther than “skin deep”…

Gelatin Benefits: The Superfood that Heals and Beautifies

In fact, the benefits of glycine-rich gelatin have also been found to:

  • Promote wound healing
  • Inhibit tumor formation
  • Prevention of angiogenesis (a key factor in the proliferation of cancer)
  • Reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormone)
  • Act as an anti-estrogenic agent
  • Reduces systemic inflammation
  • Facilitates healing of the digestive tract (from micro-tears in leaky gut to ulcers, Celiac disease and colitis)
  • Promote healthy blood sugar levels
  • Prevent liver damage
  • Boost glutathione levels (the body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier)
  • Promote deep sleep
  • Promote healthy, radiant skin and prevent wrinkles

Getting More Gelatin In Your Diet

In addition to eating a wide variety of meats on the bone (with all of their bits), drinking bone broth is a powerful way to get the anti-aging gelatin benefits in your diet.

If you haven’t ever made bone broth, you’ll find it is very simple to do… and one of the most nourishing things you can consume.

Unfortunately, many people think they don’t have the time to make bone broth at home. While the traditional stovetop method is quite time-consuming, there is a better and faster way to make gelatin-rich bone broth: the pressure cooker.

Learn how to Age-Defying Gelatin in 30 Minutes - Healing Gourmet

Making Gelatin Rich Bone Broth in the Pressure Cooker (in 30 Minutes!)

You will need two or three pounds of grass-fed/pastured marrow bones and soup bones (any combination of beef, pork or chicken backs will do). Then add about eight cups of water (filling the cooker to a maximum of two-thirds capacity). Add to this a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar and a couple roughly-chopped carrots and onions.

Pressure cook on high heat for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally and then strain the broth into a glass container and refrigerate. Once cooled, you’ll find that the broth has gelled – this is the telltale sign of the presence of gelatin. For easy use and storing, I like to pour cooled, strained bone broth into silicone ice cube molds. The individual servings pop out easily and can also be frozen for longer storage.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, I would encourage you to consider buying one. I have found it to be an indispensable and time-saving kitchen tool. Learn more about the benefits of the pressure cooker and check out the one I like and use.

For the most gelatin-rich broth, add some free-range chicken feet. A recent study published in the Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering found that gelatin from chicken feet was nutritionally superior and yielded more collagen than other bones tested. (NOTE: If you haven’t ever cooked chicken feet, be sure to do a quick search online to learn how to prepare properly before cooking).

Adding more gelatin to your diet can help reduce stress levels, enhance sleep, balance blood sugar, boost glutathione and detoxification, promote cellular health and reduce inflammation – not to mention keep your skin and joints looking and feeling youthful.

If you haven’t started making gelatin-rich bone broth a daily staple, now is the time. Aging is just a developmental process, and the corrective steps you take today can shape the health you experience tomorrow.

We want to hear from you! Do you drink bone broth? If so, what is your favorite way to prepare it and how do you most often enjoy it?

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About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.


References 
Wheeler MD, Ikejema K, Mol Life Sci. Enomoto N, et al. Glycine: a new anti-inflammatory immunonutrient. Cell Mol Life Sci.1999; 56:843-856. Iverson JF, Gannon MC, Nuttall FQ. Interaction of ingested leucine with glycine on insulin and glucose concentrations. J Amino Acids. 2014;2014:521941. doi: 10.1155/2014/521941. Epub 2014 Jul 10. Amin K, Li J, Chao WR, Dewhirst MW, Haroon ZA. Dietary glycine inhibits angiogenesis during wound healing and tumor growth. Cancer Biol Ther. 2003 Mar-Apr;2(2):173-8. Vieira CP, Guerra FR, de Oliveira LP, Almeida MS, Marcondes MC, Pimentell ER. Green tea and glycine aid in the recovery of tendinitis of the Achilles tendon of rats. Connect Tissue Res. 2015 Feb;56(1):50-8. Sekhar RV, Patel SG, Guthikonda AP, Reid M, Balasubramanyam A, Taffet GE, Jahoor F. Deficient synthesis of glutathione underlies oxidative stress in aging and can be corrected by dietary cysteine and glycine supplementation. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):847-53. Baines AD, Shaikh N, Ho P.Mechanisms of perfused kidney cytoprotection by alanine and glycine. Am J Physiol. 1990 Jul;259(1 Pt 2):F80-7 Mauriz JL, Matilla B, Culebras JM, Gonzalez P, Gonzalez-Gallego J. Dietary glycine inhibits activation of nuclear factor kappa B and prevents liver injury in hemorrhagic shock in the rat. Free Radic Biol Med. 2001 Nov 15;31(10):1236-44. Rose ML, Cattley RC, Dunn C, et al. Dietary glycine prevents the development of liver tumors caused by the peroxisome proliferator WY-14, 643. Carcinogenesis. 1999; 20:2075-2081. Rose M.L.,Madren J, Bunzendahl H, Thurman R.G. Dietary glycine inhibits the growth of B16 melanoma tumors in mice. Carcinogenesis, Vol. 20, No. 5, 793-798, May 1999. Wheeler M, Stachlewitz RT, Yamashina S, et al. Glycine-gated channels in neutrophils attenuate calcium influx and superoxide production. FASEB J. 2000; 14:476-484. Yamashina S, Konno A, Wheeler MD, Rusyn I, Rusyn EV, Cox AD, Thurman RG. Endothelial cells contain a glycine-gated chloride channel. Nutr Cancer. 2001;40(2):197-204. Zhong Z, Wheeler MD, Li X, Froh M, Schemmer P, Yin M, Bunzendaul H, Bradford B, Lemasters JJ., "L-Glycine: a novel antiinflammatory, immunomodulatory, and cytoprotective agent." Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2003 Mar;6(2):229-40. Kawai N1, Sakai N2, Okuro M3, Karakawa S1, Tsuneyoshi Y1, Kawasaki N1, Takeda T1, Bannai M1, Nishino S2.The Sleep-Promoting and Hypothermic Effects of Glycine are Mediated by NMDA Receptors in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus.Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 Dec 23. de Almeida P, da Silva Lannes S, Calarge F, et al. FTIR Characterization of Gelatin from Chicken Feet. J Chem Chem Eng. 6 (2012) 1029-103

Comments

  1. Theodora Nijnens-Geraets says:

    Dear Kelley, many thanks for this great information about broth making.
    The only thing is that I really can’t coock chicken feet, it is really to auwful. I can’t see it and I don’t want to touch it.Is there no way to buy ready chicken broth organic or so? or gelatin organically made?

  2. Kelley Herring says:

    Hi Theodora,
    Thanks so much for your comment and question.

    You don’t have to use chicken feet – you will still get a copious amount of gelatin when you cook a whole chicken, or just bones and backs in the pressure cooker.

    If you don’t want to make it yourself, I would highly recommend buying from US Wellness Meats. They use only grass-fed beef or free range/non-GMO chicken bones to make delicious, nutrient-rich gelatin or bone broth. http://tinyurl.com/mhgclak

    Be Well!
    Kelley

  3. Thanks for the information on gelatin! I am wondering what the non-pressure cooker method would be for making bone broth? I don’t have room for another appliance. Can it be made using a slow cooker?

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Cathy!
      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

      The slow cooker is a tried and true method that works very well for making bone broth, albeit at a much slower rate. And while I believe that the slow method produces high nutrient broth, I have noticed a big difference in the amount of gelatin that is yielded from the pressure cooker versus the slow cooker.

      Also on slow cooking, please check out my post on lead in slow cookers and how to ensure that “secret” ingredient isn’t being added to your foods: http://healinggourmet.com/healthy-cooking/lead-slow-cooker/

      One final note on appliances and kitchen space : the new pressure cookers have a slow cooker setting, so you can use that machine for both purposes.

      Be Well!
      Kelley

  4. Hey Kelly! I love, love, love healing bone broth! It is amazing stuff. I make mine using the pressure cooker also, but, I cook the bones in the broth until the bones are soft. (Then the bones and some of the broth are given to my cats and dogs. The dogs love them whole -they think it’s forbidden food! The bones are still intact but are mush and therefore safe to eat. For the cats, I puree theirs in the blender and it smells so delicious! Nothing is wasted!)

    I digress. My bone broth is fantastic, super flavorful, and full of gelatin. I was wondering tho, am i hurting it by cooking longer than the 30 minutes you refer to? Normally, when i did it in a crock pot, this took 72 hours. It takes around 2 hours in the pressure cooker to equal the 72 hours. The broth has an even richer flavor. Your thoughts are appreciated….

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Barbara!
      Glad to hear you’re on the bone broth bandwagon too.

      I like your ideas about repurposing for your pets and letting nothing go to waste. Such a great alternative to those grain (and sometimes melamine!) based pet foods.

      My feeling is that longer cooking in the pressure cooker is not harmful, and can be beneficial. As a test, I took bones that were already “used” and put them back in the pressure cooker. I got another full cup of gelatin out of that, but the flavor was a good bit more bland. Regarding the science behind cooking byproducts, please check out my article on the health benefits of pressure cooking – http://healinggourmet.com/healthy-cooking/health-benefits-pressure-cooker/

      Be Well!
      Kelley

  5. Any plant-based (vegetarian) gelatin sources you can recommend for non-meat eaters, that will provide similar health benefits?

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Michelle,
      That’s a great question and I’m actually working on a follow up post right now on the topic…

      From a culinary standpoint, yes, gelatin can be replaced. The vegan substitute in cooking is agar agar. Like gelatin, it exhibits solid/liquid hysteresis – the ability to melt at higher temperatures and solidify and gel at lower ones.

      But that’s where the similarities end. In fact, agar agar is roughly 80% fiber (polysaccharides) whereas gelatin is a unique mix of amino acids (which are the reason for its many health benefits).

      Please stay posted for the follow up article.

      Be Well,
      Kelley

  6. I’ve read a small handful of articles similar to your about the benefits of gelatin and I’m wondering about the use of Great Lakes Collagen powder? I tried using their beef gelatin powder to make little “jello” like snacks, but I can’t stand the texture (not even as a kid). So I tried their collagen powder – adding it to my homemade iced mochas – am I still getting the benefits as the gelatin?

    Thanks!

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Debbie,
      Thanks for stopping by and for another great question!

      I use Great Lake collagen and gelatin – I think they are the highest quality powdered gelatin/collagen products on the market.

      With that being said, I am a firm believer that the nutritional value of fresh-made bone broth from grass-fed/pastured animals has more benefits than gelatin/collagen supplements can offer.

      When we consume bone broth we are getting a wide array of nutrients, fats, fat-soluble vitamins and other constituents (like powerful alkylglycerols) thanks to the bone marrow. For more on the health benefits of bone marrow, please check out my post here- http://healinggourmet.com/superfoods/bone-marrow-trendy-superfood-powers-brain/

      Be Well!
      Kelley

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