Gelatin is a flavorless powder derived from the collagen found in animal bones. It’s high in protein and amino acids, and has numerous health benefits, most notably for skin, digestion, and joint health.
For thousands of years gelatin was part of the human diet, through bone broths and animal parts we no longer eat much of (think ox tail, head cheese). Today, most people aren’t getting enough (if any) gelatin in their diet.
Fortunately, as a tasteless powder, gelatin is pretty easy to add into the food we’re already eating. It’s also easily available at most natural food stores. Great Lakes grass-fed beef gelatin is a high quality option.
There are a couple types of collagen products to note the difference between:
- Gelatin (the red Great Lakes container) dissolves best into a warm liquid. Also, very importantly, as the liquid cools it will gel.
- Collagen hydrolysate (the green Great Lakes container) dissolves into warm or cold liquids and does not cause the liquid to gel, so can be added to any recipe without changing anything about it.
Both options are essentially the same nutritionally (cooked collagen ground into powder), but collagen hydrolysate is treated with enzymes to break down the bonds between amino acids, resulting in a product that’s easier to digest, and thus even better for people with digestive problems.
Here’s a closer look at some of gelatin’s (many!) health benefits:
As a rich source of dietary collagen, gelatin helps build and strengthen the connective tissues that give skin its firmness and elasticity. This helps reduce wrinkles (caused by collagen depletion through aging), stretch marks, and cellulite (also caused by a breakdown of collagen). Similarly, collagen strengthens nails, teeth, and hair.
Not only does gelatin aid digestion and promote nutrient assimilation, but it also strengthens and heals the gut lining, a key treatment for leaky gut syndrome–the culprit behind many food allergies and intolerances (read more about that here). Gelatin also helps regulate metabolism and insulin sensitivity, which aids in weight loss (or maintaining optimum weight, if already reached).
Bones & Joints
Gelatin has long been known to support joint health, and is often added to supplements to treat arthritis. (Over time collagen does contribute to healing, but the immediate relief noticed is actually due to its anti-inflammatory properties.)
Some starter recipes to add gelatin into your diet:
Gummy Bears (or Squares)
* * * *
You can also add gelatin as a supplement to any hot liquid, like coffee, tea, soup/broth (just be sure to drink it all–if you let it cool it will gel!).