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You already know that enjoying high-quality protein in your diet provides numerous benefits – from increased muscle mass and improved ability to retain muscle, to better immune function and a healthier metabolic profile.

However, you might not know that there is an important ancestral “power protein” that is missing in most modern diets. This unique compound can help heal your gut, improve your sleep, slow physical aging and ward off chronic disease.

Today, you’ll discover the best food sources of this protein – plus a simple kitchen trick that will help you increase your consumption of this vital nutrient with the greatest ease!

Gelatin: Mother Nature’s Beauty Serum

In today’s age of expensive “wrinkle-fighting” potions and (potentially dangerous) plastic surgery, you might be surprised to learn that one of the best ways to look years younger can be found right on your plate.

In fact, the beauty and youthfulness of your skin depends much less on what you put on the outside of your body compared to how you nourish the inside!

Your skin has a unique matrix structure that gives it elasticity and tone in our youth. This network includes numerous players, three of which have starring roles:

  • Collagen: Known as the “beauty protein”, collagen is the main structural protein of connective tissue. The amino acids glycine and proline are the principal components.
  • Elastin: As the name suggests, this compound provides skin with elasticity, allowing it to snap back when pinched or pulled. Elastin exhibits incredible “mechanical resilience” – meaning that it can extend and recoil billions of times! It is the unique cross-linking of glycine, proline, leucine and valine, that give elastin this property.
  • Proteoglycans: These compounds are made of proteins and sugars. They are designed to attract and retain water. Proteoglycans weave around the collagen network, providing additional structure.

When these three starring players combine to form a network that is strong, well-hydrated and elastic, the result is a “plump” fresh-looking complexion.

And here’s where gelatin comes in…

Producing and preserving collagen and elastin are essential for a strong matrix that gives skin a smooth and youthful appearance. And the two key amino acids for building and maintaining collagen and elastin are: glycine and proline.

And the food that is richest in glycine and proline is… Gelatin!

 

marrow, gelatin, bones, grass-fed beef, collagen

 

Boost Your Beauty Sleep with Gelatin-Rich Bone Broth

Of course, getting your “beauty sleep” is also critically important… and gelatin can help there too.

As a rich source of glycine – an inhibitory neurotransmitter – gelatin can decrease feelings of anxiety and promote a sense of calm, helping you sleep through the night.

Studies show that a few tablespoons of gelatin (providing roughly three grams of glycine) can result in measurable improvements in sleep quality.

Sip Your Way to a Healthier Heart

You may already know that quelling inflammation is vital to reduce your risk of chronic disease, including heart disease.

And the inflammatory compound, homocysteine, is a particularly concerning risk factor for heart disease (not to mention dementia, Alzheimer’s and more).

Homocysteine can build up in the blood from a deficiency in B vitamins. A diet that is high methionine (an amino acid found in eggs and muscle meats) can also raise homocysteine levels.

But Mother Nature has the solution: Nose-to-tail eating.

You see, bones and organ meats provide a rich supply of glycine. This, in turn, helps to keep methionine and homocysteine levels in a healthy balance. And while your body can make glycine, you typically don’t make enough to cover your needs.

To protect your heart, be sure you’re enjoying gelatin-rich bone broth and organ meats… along with your steak and eggs.

The Protein for Better Digestion and Gut Health

Having a healthy gut is critical to prevent disease and promote general well-being.

But unfortunately, many of us suffer from intestinal permeability (or “leaky gut”), which can cause a wide variety of symptoms and set the stage for chronic disease and autoimmune conditions.

Enter gelatin.

Rich in glycine, proline, and glutamine, gelatin can improve gut integrity and digestion by increasing gastric acid secretion and helping to restore a healthy gut lining.

Gelatin also promotes healthy elimination by absorbing water and improving intestinal transit time.

Getting More Gelatin in Your Diet

The best way to get more gelatin in your diet is to enjoy nose-to-tail eating. This means consuming the whole animal – including the skin and connective tissues found in bone-in meats, like ribs and shanks.

Bone broth is also an excellent source of gelatin and supplies vital micronutrients. Choose grass-fed and pasture-raised sources and include knuckle bones, marrow bones and chicken feet to create the most gelatin-rich broths.

And while many health proponents advocate slow cooking bones to make a gelatin-rich broth, there is a method that’s far superior: pressure cooking.

Making bone broth in a pressure cooker extracts more gelatin in far less time. This method also helps to reduce problematic histamines that can form during long-duration cooking or fermentation.

To make Pressure Cooker Gelatin-Rich Bone Broth, simply add 2-3 pounds of beef and/or pork bones, 5-6 chicken feet (optional, but recommended), two chopped onions, two chopped celery stalks, two chopped carrots, two bay leaves, two tablespoons fish sauce, one tablespoon apple cider vinegar and eight cups filtered water to an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker.

Be sure your ingredients are below the fill line. Close and lock the lid and cook on HIGH pressure for two hours. Allow the pressure to release naturally, then strain the broth and refrigerate. Once cooled, you will have a beautiful, thick and gelatinous bone broth. Skim the fat and store in the refrigerator for up to five days… or freeze for longer-term storage.

Gelatin: Mother Nature’s Prescription for Healthy Aging

As the ancestral superfoods of our forefathers have all but disappeared from our modern plates – and nutrient-void Neolithic foods have taken their place – rates of chronic disease and degeneration have skyrocketed.

By returning to a more genetically-appropriate way of eating, you can support your body and your brain as you age, increasing your odds of enjoying a healthspan that is equal to your lifespan!

 

kelley herringEd Note:

Need a little help planning your keto-friendly holiday spread? Kelley has put together a free guide – Keto Holidays – that will help you keep the joy and delight in your holiday meals… while leaving the unwanted carbs aside. Inside, you’ll find 20+ keto-friendly recipes (including each one mentioned in the article above), all nutritionally analyzed and containing 5 grams of net carbs (or less!). Grab your free copy here…

 

 

 

 

References

  1. Danile, Kaayla. Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin. Weston A. Price Foundation.
  2. François-Xavier Maquart, Stéphane Brézillon, Yanusz Wegrowski. Proteoglycans in Skin Aging. Textbook of Aging Skin 2010, pp 109-120
  3. Fred W Keeley, Catherine M Bellingham, and Kimberley A Woodhouse Elastin as a self-organizing biomaterial: use of recombinantly expressed human elastin polypeptides as a model for investigations of structure and self-assembly of elastin. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2002 Feb 28; 357(1418): 185–189.
  4. Kielty CM, Sherratt MJ, Shuttleworth CA (July 2002). “Elastic fibres”. J. Cell. Sci. 115 (Pt 14): 2817–28. PMID 12082143.
  5. Carrino DA1, Onnerfjord P, Sandy JD, Cs-Szabo G, Scott PG, Sorrell JM, Heinegård D, Caplan AI. Age-related changes in the proteoglycans of human skin. Specific cleavage of decorin to yield a major catabolic fragment in adult skin. J Biol Chem. 2003 May 9;278(19):17566-72. Epub 2003 Mar
  6. Tzaphlidou M1. The role of collagen and elastin in aged skin: an image processing approach. Micron. 2004;35(3):173-7.
  7. López-Corcuera B1, Geerlings A, Aragón C.Glycine neurotransmitter transporters: an update.Mol Membr Biol. 2001 Jan-Mar;18(1):13-20.
  8. Yamadera, W. , Inagawa, K. , Chiba, S. , Bannai, M. , Takahashi, M. And Nakayama, K. (2007), Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 5: 126-131.
  9. Meléndez-Hevia E1, De Paz-Lugo P, Cornish-Bowden A, Cárdenas ML.A weak link in metabolism: the metabolic capacity for glycine biosynthesis does not satisfy the need for collagen synthesis.J Biosci. 2009 Dec;34(6):853-72.
  10. Ganguly P, Alam SF. Role of homocysteine in the development of cardiovascular disease. Nutr J. 2015;14:6. Published 2015 Jan 10. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-14-6
  11. Sudha Seshadri, M.D., Alexa Beiser, Ph.D., Jacob Selhub, Ph.D., et al. Plasma Homocysteine as a Risk Factor for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. N Engl J Med 2002; 346:476-483
  12. Rapin JR, Wiernsperger N. Possible links between intestinal permeability and food processing: A potential therapeutic niche for glutamine. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2010;65(6):635-43.
  13. Lima AA, Brito LF, Ribeiro HB, Martins MC, Lustosa AP, Rocha EM, Lima NL, Monte CM, Guerrant RL. Intestinal barrier function and weight gain in malnourished children taking glutamine supplemented enteral formula.J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2005 Jan; 40(1):28-35.
  14. Rubio, G., Castro, G., Zanini, A., & Medeiros, G. (2008, March). Oral ingestion of hydrolyzed gelatin meal in subjects with normal weight and in obese patients: Postprandial effect on circulating gut peptides, glucose and insulin [Abstract]. Eating and Weight Disorders, 13(1), 48-53.
  15. Diagny, V., & Wang, Z. (2001, September). Gelatin: A valuable protein for food and pharmaceutical industries. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 41(6), 481-492.
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