5 Reasons That Beef Broth Should Replace Your Post-Workout Shake
Beef broth is a powerful healing food. It protects your joints, provides healthy vitamins and minerals, and improves your skin. It’s also an excellent source of collagen, which provides valuable amino acids which help support your muscles, joints, and overall health.
Beef broth is an obvious choice for overall nutrition, but it makes a great substitute for your post-workout shake for five reasons—the five powerhouse nutrients it contains, which we’ll break down in this article.
The amino acids found in bone broth are the building blocks of protein. They help build muscle, promote longevity, and aid in fat loss. Amino acids are popular amongst bodybuilders, weight lifters, and performance athletes because they help maintain lean muscle mass while burning fat (1). While protein powders commonly advertize amino acids on their labels, beef broth is a more natural (and tastier) way to get these nutrients.
What Is Beef Broth?
Ever wonder why you’re told to eat soup when you’re sick? Bone broth has been used for thousands of years as a healing agent. Beef broth is made by simmering beef bones and connective tissue with an acid (typically apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) and water. Fresh herbs and vegetables are often added for flavor.
The original intention of beef broth was to not waste anything. Bones, cartilage, marrow, tendons, and ligaments—things commonly thrown away today—were used up. By simmering over the course of 24 hours (or longer), these ingredients transform into a broth that supports the gut, brain, and immune system.
5 Incredible Nutrients Found in Beef Broth
There are 20 amino acids available, nine of which can only be found from animal sources. Bone broth—no matter the kind—is an excellent source of these amino acids, especially compared to plant sources.
The nutritional profile of bone broth will vary slightly depending upon the bones used. Below, you’ll learn about the nutrients found in beef broth.
Collagen is not an amino acid; rather, it contains the amino acids you’ll read about below. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body. It makes cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and even your skin (2). There are roughly 20 different types of collagen in your body that help wounds heal and give strength to tendons and bones (3). Collagen can slow signs of aging, reduce the roughness of skin, and improve skin moisture and skin elasticity in elderly women (4)(5). When simmered in water, collagen forms gelatin, which gives bone broth a Jell-O consistency when cooled.
Glutamine is another amino acid found in collagen—with some powerful uses. Glutamine is used to counter some of the negative side effects of chemotherapy, helping patients overcome diarrhea, nerve pain, and muscle pain. Since it helps aid digestion, glutamine also helps those with stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Glutamine has also been shown to help with ADHD, sickle cell anemia, anxiety, and insomnia (8).
Glycine is an amino acid that helps provide mental clarity, improves memory, and reduces stress (9). Glycine has also been shown to improve your sleep and prevent daytime fatigue (10). Glycine also maintains lean muscle mass, prevents loss of cartilage, and improves athletic performance (11).
There are higher amounts of proline, glutamine, and glycine than arginine in both broth, but it’s still an important amino acid to consider. Arginine may help prevent heart disease and fatigue and improve the immune system (12). It may help benefit athletic and physical performance, as it’s considered crucial for muscle growth and repair (12).
How to Make Homemade Beef Broth
To reap the benefits of beef broth after your workout, here is an excellent recipe. You’ll need a mixture of beef bones (preferably from grass-finished beef bones or marrow bones from a local butcher), vegetables, herbs, cold water, and an acid. Oh, and a lot of time.
While recipes make cooking easier, don’t feel obligated to follow them to the letter. With bone broth, you can experiment with what flavors you like best. Add a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley or fresh thyme instead of bay leaves, or add in a few white potatoes and an extra medium onion to your celery stalks and carrots.
You can swap out your cooking tools if time is not on your side. While our Kettle & Fire recipe uses a Crock-Pot or slow cooker, a pressure cooker will speed up the cooking time considerably. You can also make your beef broth in a deep stockpot or Dutch oven on the stovetop.
Once your beef broth has finished simmering, you will need a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer to strain out the browned bits and soup bones. In addition to a post-workout shake replacement, use beef broth to make your favorite soups or beef stew, or freeze in ice cube trays for later use.
What to Look for in Store-Bought Beef Broth
Unfortunately, most beef broth or beef stock found in grocery stores comes canned, highly processed, and lacking in nutrients. Here are three things to look for on the label of a store-bought brand:
- Grass-finished: Grass-fed is not a government-regulated term, meaning grass-fed cows could eat corn or soy products in the colder months. For optimal nutrition, search for a brand that makes their broth from grass-fed and grass-finished cows.
- Slow simmered: Simmering bones for long periods of time helps extract the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
- Organic: Whenever possible, purchase a brand that uses organic vegetables and bones from animals raised according to organic guidelines.
Finally, triple-check the ingredients. Real bone broth (like Kettle & Fire Beef Broth) should contain only apple cider vinegar, bones, vegetables, and seasoning.
Want to Include More Beef Broth in Your Diet?
To maximize the healing power of bone broth, it’s recommended to drink eight ounces (or more) per day. You can use beef broth, chicken broth, or other broth, depending upon your tastes and preferences.
We have a number of recipes for soups, stews, and bisques. You can also replace your morning mug of coffee with a mug of bone broth to get the healing benefits. You could also get creative, adding bone broth to a smoothie, juice, or tea.
Say goodbye to chalky protein powder and enjoy the nutritional benefits of a steaming cup of beef broth.
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