Gelatin is derived from collagen found in the bones, cartilage, connective tissue, and skin of animals and humans. Collagen makes up almost a third of all the protein in the human body. It is a big, fibrous molecule that makes skin, bones, and tendons both strong and somewhat elastic. As we age, our body makes less collagen, and this may present itself with stiff joints (from less flexible tendons) or wrinkles (from loss of skin elasticity).
Traditionally many diets were high in gelatin because they consume bones and cartilage as a staple meal in homemade bone and meat stocks, soups and stews. Our grandparents and ancestors knew that the stock made from meat and bones was a rescue remedy for the sick. It is well known to aid in digestion and promote muscle strength for athletes.
Supplementing with gelatin helps with added protein and much needed amino acids to help rebuild the cells, (especially in a damaged gut wall). Proteins are made of smaller components called amino acids. The human body is able to synthesize some amino acids on its own; however other important amino acids need to come from our diet. “Essential Amino Acids” are the components that need to come from an outside source. Edible gelatin contains nine of the ten essential amino acids. Essential meaning they must be consumed through our diet. Glycine, (for example) an amino acid found in gelatin, must be present in order for the liver to efficiently remove toxins from our systems. Lysine, another amino acid (easily accessible through gelatin), helps the body to absorb calcium and develop muscle protein.
As a setting agent in jellies, jubes (lollies), mousse deserts, cheesecake or marshmallows, thickening gravy or sauces, add a tablespoon into stock, smoothies, juice or a warm tea for extra nourishment and sustenance. A recipe for a healing jelly is here and jubes (lollies) here.
The best way to get lots of natural gelatin into our diet is to make bone stocks (broths) and incorporate them into your diet on a frequent basis with sauces and soups. This isn’t always possible so if it’s something you want to add into your diet more regularly, try a gelatin powder.
It’s preferable to purchase a good quality grass fed beef gelatin. I source mine from GPA whole foods or you can source it from here. If you have other suggestions as to where to source good quality gelatin please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
References for this article include; http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com and http://gapsaustralia.com.au