While bone broth is enjoying some newfound popularity among humans and baby Yodas, it’s been around for thousands of years and has been consumed by civilizations all over the world. And for good reason: bone broth offers a wide variety of benefits, including high levels of gelatin, collagen, and amino acids. Beyond just tasting good, it has multiple health benefits, according to Harvard Medical School.
The No. 1 benefit that will please bodybuilders is that it’s a good source of protein, with anywhere from 6 to 12 grams in a cup. Advocates will say the broth can do much more than that, including improving bone health and digestion but Harvard’s experts refute those claims.
Some might tell you to drink it for joint health. Harvard says, “Although bone broth contains collagen, dietary collagen isn’t absorbed as is and sent straight into your joints. Like other proteins, collagen is broken down into amino acids, which become building blocks for body tissues. It won’t be transported directly to your knees, hips, or other joints.”
But will it strengthen your bones? Probably not. “Just because a soup is derived from bone doesn’t mean it will build bone or prevent osteoporosis,” Harvard’s website says. “Even when simmered for 48 hours, bones release very little calcium into the broth.”
But making the broth takes time (up to 24 to 48 hours). Luckily, there are plenty of health store-bought options that you can turn to. Caitlin VanDreason, a registered dietitian and clinical nutrition manager at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, suggests adding vegetables whether you go the homemade or store-bought route.
“Soup adds volume to what you’re eating so you get full faster. It’s a good way to have a really filling meal without a ton of calories,” VanDreason says.
Beware, though, of adding things like starches or even flour to thicken up your broth—that’s where unneeded and excess calories can start to hurt you.
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Kettle & Fire Bone
This broth comes in grass-fed beef and chicken flavors; both are 100% organic. ($10 for 16.2 oz; kettleandfire.com) Its beef broth flavor has 30 calories for 1 cup, and packs 6 gram of protein.
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Epic Bone Broth
Taste the bold and rich flavors like Beef Jalapeño Sea Salt, Turkey Cranberry Sage, and Bison Apple Cider. ($7 for 14 oz; thrivemarket.com) The Savory Chicken flavor has 60 calories per container, and comes with 15 grams of protein.
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Bonafide Provisions Bone Broth
This broth is made in small batches with organic ingredients that are simmered, filtered, and frozen. ($33.95 for 24 oz; wisechoicemarket.com) In its Frontier Blend Bone Broth—made from beef, turkey, lamb, and bison bones—has 50 calories per cup and gives you 9 grams of protein.
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Elevate chicken, beef, and turkey bone broths, with 10 grams of protein per serving. ($60 for 6-pack of 16 oz; barebonesbroth.com)
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Bru Bone Broth Beverage
A blend of 100% organic cold-pressed broth and roots and veggies like beets, greens, and carrots. ($7 for 16 oz; brubroth.com) The Cayenne Zen (made with beef bones) flavor offers 7 grams of protein with 60 calories.
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The Osso Good Company Bone Broth
This broth offers up broths with specific benefits, from boosting immunity to nourishing new moms. ($12–$16 for 20 oz; ossogoodbones.com) For 80 calories, you’re getting 15 grams of protein.