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Eating Bone Marrow: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts And Ways To Work It Into Your Diet

<article> <section> <p>We hear all the time about superfoods like acai berries and quinoa, but what about superfoods that fit better with a keto or paleo lifestyle? When you’re focused on eating healthier, you want to get the most bang for your buck: ketosis, weight loss, stronger joints, better immunity, smoother skin, the works. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a (keto-friendly) superfood that promoted all that and more?</p> <p>There is! Cue the nutritional wonder that is bone marrow.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Is Bone Marrow?</header> <p>Bone marrow is the soft substance inside most animal bones, including livestock like cattle, pigs, and chickens. Made of 96 percent fat, this tissue produces stem cells that eventually become red or white blood cells or platelets<sup>1</sup>. It enables good muscle and respiratory function, supports a healthy immune system, speeds wound healing, and generally maintains the circulatory system. Best of all, you get all that from one simple food that’s super-easy to prepare. Delicious, nutritious, <i>and</i> foolproof? What’s not to love?</p> <p>Bone marrow foods, specifically, are what you get when you cook bones. Beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and other meats like venison or bison can all provide bone marrow. Most recipes, though, will ask for beef bones.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="oxtails-raw-together-0187"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Is Eating Bone Marrow Good for You?</header> <p>Bone marrow is amazingly nutritious! This superfood has been enjoyed for millennia by cultures all over the world<sup>2</sup>. Its extremely high healthy fat content, coupled with a bit of protein, make it ideal for both the very young and the elderly, as it offers a lot of easily digestible calories. Here are some of the many health benefits of eating bone marrow.</p> <div class="sub-head">1. Rich in B12</div> <p>Our bodies require vitamin B12 to create DNA and to build amino acids and proteins—it’s essential to every part of our metabolism<sup>3</sup>. But we can’t make B12 ourselves. That’s because B12 is made by bacteria; we can either get it by taking pills containing B12 produced by bacteria or by eating animal products, since the animals get B12 from the unique bacteria in their guts<sup>4</sup>. And guess what? Bone marrow happens to be particularly rich in this important nutrient!</p> <div class="sub-head">2. Boosts Energy</div> <p>Because it manufactures red blood cells and other key cells in your body, bone marrow needs to be an energy-producing powerhouse. It contains essential B vitamins like <i>pantothenic acid, thiamine</i>, and <i>biotin</i>, which support metabolism and energy production <sup>5</sup>. Whether you’re living a keto lifestyle or not, more energy is never a bad thing! But particularly when you’re starting with keto, you may hear stories about ‘keto flu’ and possible energy issues from going so low-carb. Because it’s loaded with energy-enhancing B vitamins, bone marrow can help avoid these issues. You can also support your energy levels with other <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">micronutrients like beta-<i>Hydroxybutyrates</i></a>, which work together with diet-based nutrients to give you the boost you need.</p> <div class="sub-head">3. Keeps Skin and Joints Healthy</div> <p>Bone marrow is also a great source of collagen. This crucial protein helps keep your skin wrinkle-free and your joints flexible <sup>6</sup>.</p> <div class="sub-head">4. Fights Inflammation</div> <p>Oh, and all that fat in bone marrow? It’s a specific type called <i>conjugated linoleic acid</i> (CLA), which has been shown to decrease inflammation and boost your immune system <sup>7</sup>. It may even help with weight loss, metabolism, and cardiac health <sup>7, 8</sup>. Talk about a superfood!</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="raw-bone-marrow-on-plate-0187"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Is Bone Marrow Dangerous to Eat?</header> <p>Some folks may balk at eating bone marrow because, well, it’s the squishy part in the center of bones! That can seem a little off-putting at first. </p> <p>But don’t worry. Eating bone marrow is no more dangerous than eating a steak—you’re just making use of the whole animal! As long as it’s cooked thoroughly, bone marrow is perfectly safe and healthy. You don’t even need a recipe. Just roast to an internal temperature of 145°F, rest for 3 to 5 minutes, and enjoy!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Does Bone Marrow Taste Like?</header> <p>Most of the time, when we talk about bone marrow foods or bone marrow recipes, we’re talking about beef. That’s because beef bones have the most marrow and are the most readily available in supermarkets or from butchers.</p> <p>Beef marrow is smooth, slightly creamy or gelatinous, and very mild tasting. It’s often been described as <i>steak butter</i>!</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="cooked-marrow-on-cast-iron-0187"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>How To Cook With and Eat Bone Marrow</header> <p>There are lots of ways to incorporate bone marrow into your meals, and it's especially beneficial to those on a keto or paleo diet. Most don’t even require a complicated recipe—just pop them in the oven or onto the stovetop! </p> <p>One of the best ways to get started with bone marrow is to use marrow bones when <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">making bone broth</a>. You can enjoy this <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">gut-healing, collagen-boosting kitchen staple</a> on its own as a snack or as the base for soups and other tasty recipes.</p> <p>Bone marrow is also great on its own. Just roast the bones in a 450°F oven for 15 minutes, let rest for 3 to 5 minutes, then scoop out the marrow. Instead of the traditional carb-laden toast base, try a healthier modern spin: spread roasted bone marrow on a <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">fathead bagel</a> and sprinkle with a little sea salt for a savory treat.</p> <p>You can also add beef marrow bones to your favorite soup or stew recipe. In addition to creating a great depth of flavor, the marrow will also give the stew a luscious, creamy texture from all that good fat and collagen. It’s basically bone broth with extra <i>oomph</i>.</p> <p>And don’t forget oxtail soup, a classic dish beloved from the UK to the Caribbean and beyond. Another gussied-up bone broth cousin, we think the Jamaican version that incorporates hot peppers and allspice is a real winner.</p> <p>For a keto-friendly recipe twist, try whisking in some roasted bone marrow when making scrambled eggs. You’ll get a creamier egg with a hint of rich, savory flavor that steals the show at breakfast!</p> <p>Head over to the butcher counter at your favorite market, ask for a bunch of oxtails, marrow bones, shanks, or neck bones, and start experimenting! Mix roasted marrow into roast vegetables like zucchini or broccoli, fold it into a sour cream-based dip, or mix it into meatloaf to add even more hearty beef flavor. The recipe possibilities are endless, and your body will thank you for the nutritional boost!</p> <p>For more fresh ideas on how to keep your keto diet diverse, give our weekly meal plans a try with the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made Tribe</a>! Workouts, meal plans, grocery lists, and more.</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li>Wang H, Leng Y, Gong Y. Bone Marrow Fat and Hematopoiesis. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2018;9. doi:10.3389/fendo.2018.00694</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Guts and Grease: The Diet of Native Americans</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">B vitamins and folic acid</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Vitamin B12 </a></li> <li>Hassan A, Sandanger T, Brustad M. Level of selected nutrients in meat, liver, tallow and bone marrow from semi-domesticated reindeer (Rangifer t. tarandus L.). Int J Circumpolar Health. 2012;71(1):17997. doi:10.3402/ijch.v71i0.17997 </li> <li>Avila Rodríguez M, Rodríguez Barroso L, Sánchez M. Collagen: A Review on its Sources and Potential Cosmetic Applications. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017;17(1):20-26. doi:10.1111/jocd.12450</li> <li>Kim JH, Kim Y, Kim YJ, Park Y. Conjugated Linoleic Acid: Potential Health Benefits as a Functional Food Ingredient. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2016;7(1):221-244. doi:10.1146/annurev-food-041715-033028</li> <li>Cawthorn W, Scheller E, Learman B et al. Bone Marrow Adipose Tissue Is an Endocrine Organ that Contributes to Increased Circulating Adiponectin during Caloric Restriction. Cell Metab. 2014;20(2):368-375. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2014.06.003</li> </ol> </section> </article>

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