By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
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.
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?
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 abundant 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”. 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
Getting More Gelatin 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.
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.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, I would encourage you to consider buying one. I have found it to be an indispensible and time-saving kitchen tool. If you’d like to learn more, click here to read my previous article on the US Wellness Meats blog.
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 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.
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
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