With a hectic work schedule and long hours on the set of the award-winning series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", actress Rachel Brosnahan credits bone broth with keeping her healthy and full of energy.
While the murky brown liquid might not look as appealing as a fresh fruit smoothie, what it lacks in appearance it makes up for in good-for-you nutrition.
"For the first season of the show, I was feeling very tired," Brosnahan, 28, told Shape. "And because I have a fast metabolism I felt like I was dropping weight in an unhealthy way. Bone broth has collagen and fat in it, along with all kinds of vitamins and minerals, and I really think it helped me."
She added, "I was the only person on our set who didn't get sick that season." Sounds pretty amazing, right? But what is it about bone broth that makes it so special?
What Is Bone Broth?
Essentially, bone broth is made by boiling the bones and connective tissues of various animals — typically chicken or beef— in water for an extended period of time. Herbs, spices, and sometimes small amounts of vegetables are added during the boiling process, and the result is a rich, savory and nutritious broth.
Bone broth is not just for the rich and famous: In fact, you can find the price-savvy product in the soup aisle of many grocery stores, or you can whip up a batch from scratch by following an easy bone broth recipe. There are even bone broth cafes and restaurants popping up in cities around the globe.
If you're wondering about the difference between stock and bone broth, the Journal of Renal Nutrition explains that the broth takes substantially longer to cook. With bone broth, the animal bones — often with connective tissue and meat still attached — are simmered in water for between 12 and 48 hours, rather than just an hour or two like stock. Collagen-rich gelatin is pulled from the bones, and this is where many of bone broth's benefits lie, according to the journal.
Health Benefits of Bone Broth
Gelatin is essentially cooked collagen, and collagen rich-foods are known for a plethora of potential health benefits.
"All bone broth, made properly, has good collagen protein," Marco Canora, chef and owner of New York City's Brodo — an eatery dedicated to broth — told TODAY Food. "Collagen is the protein that holds our bodies together — the elasticity in our skin and the strength in our nails, joints and ligaments."
So you can see how your brittle hair and nails or creaky knees might benefit, but what other bone broth benefits can you expect?
Well, there has been research that suggests upping your intake of collagen may help reduce joint pain, and could even alleviate arthritis symptoms. In addition, bone broth is said to be good for the gut, because gelatin promotes probiotic balance and growth. Studies have even shown that collagen soothes and protects the lining of the digestive tract.
And there's a reason that chicken soup — often made using bones — is said to be good for a cold! Brosnahan credits drinking bone broth for keeping her from getting sick, and she could have a point: The University of Nebraska Medical Center did a study on what makes chicken soup so beneficial to cold sufferers.
Researchers noted that there was a mild reduction in inflammation, and that the boiled chicken extract assisted in reducing the symptoms of respiratory infection. (A significant amount of vegetables was also added to the soup, which likely had a positive nutritional impact as well.)
But Rachel doesn't just rely on her getting her calcium, protein and amino acids from bone broth; she couples her go-to superfood with an overall healthy diet.
"I start a typical day with a green smoothie in my NutriBullet, or I eat a piece of gluten free toast with a poached egg and some avocado," she told Shape. "For lunch, I have a salad or a sandwich with some kind of protein — like salmon, chicken, or quinoa — and lots of vegetables, and I really like roasted root vegetables with fish for dinner."
Keeping Her Body Strong
Brosnahan also values the benefits of exercise , but admits she has to find ways to fit it into her unpredictable schedule.
"Exercise keeps me focused and clear-headed," she added. "These days, I find it difficult to have any kind of set routine because my schedule seems to be constantly in flux. So I'm working out where I can and when I can. It's hard to hold on to a gym membership because I travel so much, but I've had fun finding new classes wherever I am."
She continued: "If I'm left to my own devices in a hotel room or in my apartment, I probably will choose an extra hour of sleep. It's harder to skip a class you've signed up for. In truth, my most consistent form of exercise is when I'm home is taking really long walks everyday with my two dogs. I live in a fifth-floor walk-up, so I also get a lot of stair action in."
But just as she likes to be active and eat well, Rachel also recognizes that she needs to get rest too.
"Sometimes I find that the best thing for my body is to just take that extra hour of sleep and not work out," Rachel revealed to Shape. "I'm good at making time for self-care when I get overwhelmed. I read a book or take a bath or snuggle with my doggies and watch Survivor.... or I have coffee with friends. One of my favorite things is to spend the time catching up with someone doing nothing but drinking coffee with them for hours and hours."
Coffee and bone broth — now there's a great combination!