America as a nation seems to be under extra stress right now. Increased stress hormones can lead to inflammation. These stress hormones are called adrenaline and cortisol. In order to have low inflammation and good health we need to keep these hormones under wrap! Lowering inflammation is also extremely important because most disease states are related to inflammation inside of the body. Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from injury, infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses. It often causes pain, redness, heat, and swelling in the affected area. Inflammation can be short term, like a sprained ankle, or chronic, like arthritis.
Some signs or symptoms of inflammation in the body are:
- Swollen joint that is warm to touch
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- Loss of joint function
- Fatigue/loss of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle stiffness
- Any health condition that ends in “itis” (colitis, arthritis, bursitis)
Besides stress, the foods that you choose to consume can also increase inflammation. One of the biggest issues with the American diet is that we do not eat the whole animal and primarily consume muscle meat. In common terms, the muscle meats are the breast, fillets, chops, steaks, roasts, stew meat and ground meats.
This practice of only eating muscle meat creates an imbalance in our amino acid intake. We are missing gelatin, which used to be found in traditional bone broths, and is known to be very high in anti-inflammatory amino acids such as glycine and proline. Making bone broths or adding gelatin to your diet can reduce inflammation and even help joint recovery after workouts.
There are 2 different types of gelatin: hydrolyzed and non-hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed gelatin will dissolve instantly in any liquid, where non-hydrolyzed gelatin needs hot water added to dissolve completely. If you want to have a quick snack, you can add hydrolyzed gelatin to some pure fruit juice. Non-hydrolyzed gelatin can be used to make healthy gelatin similar to Jell-O. Here is a quick and easy recipe for healthy gelatin:
- 2 cups of fresh OJ cold
- 2 cups of fresh OJ near the boiling point
- 3 tablespoons of non-hydrolyzed gelatin
1. Put the cold juice in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it.
2. Let it dissolve and stir it gently.
3. Let it sit for about 3 minutes. Then slowly add the very hot juice to the cold juice and stir until the gelatin is totally dissolved.
4. Drink as is or put in the refrigerator and let gel.
5. Serve alone or with heavy cream or whipped cream.
Another benefit of gelatin is that it contains 5 grams of protein per tablespoon. This is a great way to increase your daily protein intake, as well as to add anti-inflammatory amino acids to your diet.
Not sure where to get gelatin? Check out these resources:
Non-hydrolyzed Gelatin (dissolves only in hot liquids) — Available in Madison at Woodman’s West (Great Lakes Gelatin)
Also available online at:
Hydrolyzed Gelatin/Collagen (mixes easily with any liquid or soft food) — Available in Madison at Woodman’s West, Woodman’s East (Custom Collagen, located in the nutritional supplement area with other protein powders at the front of the store) or Core Health & Fitness.
Also available online at:
- Custom Collagen (5 lb bulk container use coupon code “THiN” to receive $2 off your order)
Have fun experimenting with the many ways you can use gelatin on a daily basis to reduce inflammation. To help you get started, here are some easy ideas for incorporating gelatin into your diet:
- Mix 1/2 c applesauce with 2 T hydrolyzed gelatin for a quick, balanced snack.
- Add a few tablespoons of either type of gelatin to your morning coffee (along with cream and a little maple syrup or honey) or to a warm bowl of soup.
- For a delicious snack on the go, add a few tablespoons of hydrolyzed gelatin to juice or smoothies.
- If you’re a tea drinker, try this super quick recipe for Easy Chai Latte.
- Be sure to check out my blog for tons of great recipes, many of which include gelatin.
Finally, check out this blog article if you want to learn how to make your own bone broth and get the A+ version of gelatin in your diet!