In their article Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin, The Weston A. Price Foundation explains that “Gelatin is rich in the proline and glycine components that people need, but weak in methionine, histidine and tyrosine and utterly lacking in tryptophan. Accordingly, textbook writers from the 19th century on have rated gelatin a “poor quality protein.” But in spite of its seeming limitations, gelatin was valued for its medicinal benefits for thousands of years and was long considered a panacea for everything from skin and joint disorders to digestive distress to heart ailments.”
Gelatin’s traditional reputation as a health restorer has hinged primarily on its ability to soothe the GI tract. “Gelatin lines the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract and guards against further injurious action on the part of the ingesta,” wrote Erich Cohn of the Medical Polyclinic of the University of Bonn back in 1905.
Here are some benefits of gelatin:
- Supports and strengthens skin, hair and nail growth
- Beneficial for joints and can help joint recovery
- Can help tighten loose skin
- Can improve digestion and can even heal digestive disorders
- Rumored to help improve cellulite
- Great source of dietary collagen
- Adding gelatin to food is an excellent way to supplement protein without having to fill up on extra food. It should not, however, be your only source of protein since gelatin is not a complete protein. When taken with food, it helps your body better utilize other proteins and nutrients.
- Gelatin contains 18 amino acids. Many of these amino acids are essential, meaning they can’t be produced by our bodies, and must be taken in as part of our diet.
- Its specific amino acids can help build muscle.
- Gelatin is a much better alternative to protein powders, which often contain artificial sweeteners and/or preservatives.
- Gelatin has a protein sparing effect, helping to take the edge off hunger.
The list above was compiled from information gathered in these articles: 12 Uses for Gelatin, Benefits of Gelatin in Your Diet, Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin and Gelatin: A Healthy Protein Powder.
A popular way to include gelatin in our diets is my making gelatin-based desserts. We don’t recommend Jello with it’s added sugar or artificial sweeteners, artificial flavor and food coloring. Instead we recommend buying grass-fed gelatin, which we link to via our Amazon affiliation, made by Vital Proteins, Great Lakes or Bernard Jenson and making a homemade jello. This is my favorite, fairly simple recipe provide to me by our community member Angie Needels of MamaKai, an organization we strongly support.
Angie Needels’ Raspberry Gelatina
- 2 baskets or 1 10oz bag frozen berries, rinsed and stems removed, if needed
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water [or tea, coconut water, if desired – I often just use water because fruits are already pretty sweet on their own]
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup [or less]. Recommend: Coombs Family Farms, Now Foods Hidden Springs
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tbsp gelatin such as Vital Proteins, Great Lakes or Bernard Jenson
- Heat fruits on low heat in a saucepan for 5-10 minutes on their own to start breaking them down.
- Use a wooden spoon to help break them apart as needed.
- Whisk in water (or preferred beverage), salt, honey (or preferred sweetener at desired amount) and lemon juice.
- Ensure the mixture is simmering but is not boiling for 2-3 minutes to combine and slightly reduce.
- Slowly sprinkle in gelatin while continually whisking for additional 2 minutes after it’s all been incorporated.
- Remove from heat and pour into preferred mold (I like 1/2 pint wide mouth mason jars … individual serving size and you can lid them separately and take them with you).
Should make 2 pints. The rule of thumb is 1 Tbsp per pint of gelatin. [I like to top it with crème fraiche.]