From the creators of wheat grass shots, activated nuts, pressed juices and bulletproof coffee, I bring to you *drumroll* GELATIN!
Yep, that stuff in aeroplane jelly (or JELL-O for my US readers).
What is it?
Gelatin is a protein derived from animal bones, ligaments and/or tendons and is commonly used as a setting agent for fruit jellies, marshmallows and gummy candies. It’s widely used in manufacturing food products, cosmetics and even some pharmaceuticals.
So, why is the powdered form of gelatin gaining so much attention?
The amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline are the main components of gelatin and, although they can be manufactured by the body when needed, supplementing with gelatin has been found to benefit joint health. A 2000 study showed that patients suffering from osteoarthritis had significant improvements in joint mobility and a reduction in pain and stiffness when they were given 10gm gelatin daily along with vitamin c and calcium.
Interestingly, the most abundant type of cartilage in the human body is hyaline cartilage which derives it’s strength from a dense, criss-crossing, ropey network of collagenous fibres. It’s resilience can be attributed to the gel-like matrix in which these fibres are embedded.
So, what makes up cartilage?
You guessed it – predominantly glycine, proline and hydroxyproline.
These are all important amino acids for cartilage and joint health. Glycine has a talent for creating tightly packed chains while proline and hydroxyproline twist themselves into tightly wound helixes which form tight, tough, rod-like macromolecules which in turn create thicker rods known as fibrils. It’s no wonder people feel better when given gelatin; it gives joints everything they need to be strong and healthy.
Gelatin is also a collagen – the substance which gives skin its strength and elasticity.
Lets talk about Cellulite & Wrinkles
Cellulite is simply fat beneath the surface of the skin that pushes against connective tissue, causing the skin above it to pucker and create a dimple-like appearance. Think of a large net and when you push something soft (like fat) through it, you’ll see that it pushes through the network of criss-crosses. The tighter and closer the fibres are together, the less the fat will show through. It’s not a medical condition but many women are self-conscious of it.
This isn’t medically proven, but gelatin is rumoured to reduce cellulite as it strengthens connective tissue. This makes sense knowing that gelatin contains the main amino acids that collagen is made from. Degradation of collagen is also what gives us wrinkles as we age because our bodies slowly stop making it. So, consuming gelatin may reduce the appearance of wrinkles as it provides the raw materials for our bodies to create collagen.
Where can I get Gelatin from?
The only gelatin powder I would recommend is from grass fed cows; there is a brand called Great Lakes which you can get online. You can also get it from eating more gelatinous cuts of meat which are lovely when they’re slow-cooked; cuts like osso bucco, lamb shanks or oxtails are great to use. Making bone broths are good as well! Because the powdered gelatin aforementioned is falvourless, you can literally add it to anything sweet or savoury. Try it in your oats in the morning, stir it through fresh fruit juice to make fruit jelly, add it to mousses and custards – the possibilities are endless!
A Couple of Notes:
• Make sure to dissolve the gelatin until it is completely clear before using in food as it may cause bloating and excess gas. Because gelatin is hydrophilic, it has the ability to hold onto liquids which assists digestion as it lines and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract.
• Start with 1 tablespoon of gelatin daily – any more than this may cause stomach upset when you first start out. It’s difficult to recommend a dose because everyone has different needs so, to begin with, start small and work your way up to 2 tablespoons daily.
I haven’t tried gelatin as yet, but I’m curious to find out if it makes a difference. It’s on it’s way in the mail so I’ll keep you updated over the next few months.
Happy a lovely weekend everyone!
Love Stace x