This much-hyped superfood can strengthen your soft tissues against the rigors of running.
Dialing in your nutrition is as important as your training when it comes to powering your runs. So why aren’t runners appreciating a superfood that can give them an edge?
Bone broth has been known to be a health elixir for years, and with good reason, It’s packed with ingredients that can strengthen your joints and ligaments, help you refuel and aid in post-run recovery. But what is it, exactly?
“Bone broth is that liquid that’s left over after simmering animal bones and connective tissue over heat,” says Sarah Schlichter, R.D.N., owner of Nutrition for Running. “It provides an array of nutrients, including electrolytes like sodium, magnesium and calcium, as well as Vitamin A, Vitamin K2, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are dependent on the animal marrow that’s simmered.”
Anyone can benefit from bone broth’s nutrient makeup, especially runners who have been using this stuff at aid stations in endurance events even before it went mainstream.
How does bone broth help runners?
« Bone broth’s main ingredient is collagen », says Katie Kissane, a registered dietitian at UCHealth in Colorado and owner ofFuel 2 Run.
“Since collagen is made of connective tissue and amino acids that are important in the building of our own joints and ligaments,” she explains, “it’s thought that taking collagen helps us strengthen these tissues.”
Running can be tough on your soft tissues and joints, for exemple a 10-minute mile that may consists of 1,700 steps, each one producing ground reaction forces about two and a half times your body weight. Collagen, which also contains an anti-inflammatory amino acid called glycine, says Kissane, can be a welcome nutrient in bulletproofing your body against some of that impact.
“While you can get collagen from your diet, those with a poor diet or who deal with constant injuries may want to consider additional collagen,” says Schlichter.
How to incorporate bone broth into your everyday diet:
Since bone broth is a liquid, it’s an easy add to any diet. You can use it as a base for soups or sauces, use it in your post-workout smoothies, and even drink it like hot tea.
To make your own bone broth, just place the animal bones of your choice like the leftovers from a roast chicken dinner in a large pot with water and some spices of your choice, sea salt can boost the electrolyte benefits.
You don’t need to consume a lot in one go to get the benefits. Kissane suggests having somewhere around 10 to 20 grams per day, one to two cups. “About 10 grams is a standard dose,” she says.
The best time to have those cups would be before or after your workout. The naturally occurring electrolytes you get from bone broth like sodium, potassium and magnesium turns it into a solid hydration choice pre or post-workout. Plus, it can contain various amounts of protein, which could help with decreasing muscle protein breakdown after a workout, says Schlicter.
Just don’t count it as part of your daily protein needs, says Kissane “it’s not a complete protein, so it doesn’t contain all of the essential amino acids,” she explains. Instead, think about pairing it with another protein source and carbohydrates to enhance post-workout recovery.
Just remember, “as with anything, bone broth is not a cure at all or a magical solution to a ‘healthy’ diet,” says Schlicter. If you’re looking to strengthen your muscles and connective tissues and boost your recovery, “habits and behaviors always count as well!”