Ancient beverage bone broth the latest food fad

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Bone broth has been around for centuries but has recently become a hot commodity at the market. (KABC)

Nutrition expert Jim LaValle is a big fan of bone broth. The byproduct of boiling bones with veggies and spices delivers hot nutrients and a dose of collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and joints happy.

"I'm old school. I like actually taking the bones and actually making the broth or cooking the bones and actually eating the bone marrow. It's kind of tasty. And why not do it the real way it was meant to be?" said LaValle.

Our bodies produce less collagen as we age, about 1% each year after age 20. That's why baby boomers and others have started adding bone broth to their day, or even powdered collagen supplements, for protection.

"So collagen is a huge factor for women and pain-related aging problems," said Sue Hitzmann, who created a self -care myofascia method called "MELT."

She says the research on collagen consumption is promising.

When collagen breaks down, skin is prone to wrinkles and joints may ache over time. Keeping the collagen healthy in connective tissue may also help protect the central nervous system from sending unnecessary pain signals.

"Anything that can help us keep the collagen active in our body. You can stimulate those cells to reproduce and stay supple," said Hitzmann.

Grocery stores are now packed with single-serve bottles and powders to keep it simple for consumers with all kinds of nutritional buzz words.

Some companies are actually sweetening their broth using alternatives to sugar such as stevia or monk fruit.

"I think it's a problem that we think we have to sweeten up everything anyway. We've developed this kind of over-sweet palate in our culture and that leads to problems," said LaValle.

Lavalle says stevia, and monkfruit sweeteners found in these broths won't hurt you, but they offer no benefit either. While he's a fan of the convenience that packaged broths bring, Lavalle suggests we stick to savory.

For those vegetarians who want to get in on the broth craze, look to the "Art of Broth."

"We've developed a method of cooking a plant-based system, which is anti-inflammatory in nature," said Art of Broth creator Jody Helfend.

Helfend developed vegetarian broth tea bags for those looking for a caffeine-free, gluten-free beverage to enjoy. No collagen, but plenty of flavor.

"Simply take a bag of the broth and dip it in 8 ounces of water. Steep it for three minutes and enjoy restaurant-quality broth. Chicken, beef and vegetable flavor," said Helfend.
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