J-E-L-L-O. You probably had it for dessert as a kid or your mom or grandma made Jell-O salads for the holidays. Jell-O is basically, gelatin. And gelatin is packed with protein, which builds muscle. To get the real benefits, though, you need to ditch the artificial coloring and flavors and get down to the basics.
The gelatin I’m talking about is pretty much translucent, colorless and flavorless, derived from the collagen found in animal bones, skin and connective tissue. Back a few decades ago, we all had more gelatin in our diet, because we ate more animal parts, not just the pre-packaged meat cuts we do now.
We’ve talked before about the benefits of bone broth – gelatin is basically dehydrated broth powder. Great for folks who don’t have time to make homemade bone broth. Gelatin is a good source of amino acids; in fact, it contains half of the 18 essential amino acids needed for survival.
With six grams of protein per tablespoon, powered gelatin is an easy way to add more protein to your diet. And, if you use unsweetened gelatin, which has no flavor, you can add it to various foods to boost their protein content. Mix powdered gelatin in yogurt, a smoothie, your hot cereal in the morning. It’s a different kind of protein powder.
What’s surprising about gelatin is that we don’t think about it very much, even though it makes up 25 to 35% of the total protein content of the human body. It’s vital for skin elasticity and tone. Gelatin makes up the connective tissues that are responsible for giving skin its strength and firmness.
That’s why gelatin supplements are considered anti-aging and recommended by some skin experts. They cite studies that show collagen found in gelatin helps reduce visible signs of wrinkling and aging.
Gelatin and the protein it contains provide beneficial minerals that are mostly absent in our modern American diet. Gelatin supplies calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which build strong bones, nails, teeth and hair.
- Gelatin can also speed up wound healing, improve your quality of sleep and help with weight loss. The protein makes you feel fuller and so you eat less.
- It’s a so-called “super-food” that can also soothe the aches and pains of arthritis. Gelatin contains Chondroitin, which is used as a supplement for people with arthritis pain and stiffness. Chondroitin supports joints, cartilage and tendons.
For a supplement that does all this and more, your next question, might be: how much? It’s recommended that you take 2 – 3 tablespoons of powered gelatin each day. And, it’s not a bad idea to try and get more gelatin in the food you eat.
After all – the more protein, the better your chances at being stronger and healthier.