Gelatin is one of the most amazing superfoods with health benefits that range from preventing wrinkles to improving mental health. Our ancestors used to consume a lot of gelatin in the form of bone broth (see recipe for how to make bone broth here). Another easy way to get gelatin into your diet is to buy a quality brand of gelatin and add it to your meals.
When you shop for gelatin, you will see that there are two different options: gelatin and collagen hydrolysate. Both of these give the health benefits of gelatin, but there are some slight differences that you need to know about.
Gelatin is made by cooking the bones, connective tissues, skin, and tendons of animals. This causes a protein called collagen to come out. Collagen is gel-like, colorless, and odorless. Like all proteins, collagen is comprised of amino acids. The main amino acids are glycine and proline. To make gelatin powder, the collagen is dried. When it is mixed with water, it turns back into a gel again.
Note that not all brands of gelatin are the same. The chemically-made and flavored packs of gelatin you typically find in the supermarket aren’t going to provide you with the health benefits of real gelatin.
One of the most popular brands of quality gelatin is Great Lakes (it is also my favorite). Great Lakes makes two types of this gelatin: Porcine (which is from pigs that may not be eating a 100% natural diet and is the cheaper option) and Kosher (which is from 100% grass-fed cows). The kosher gelatin is better quality, but it is also a bit pricier. Both are going to do wonders for your health, so pick the one which suits your budget.
How to Use:
- Mix with WARM water. Don’t use cold water or clumps will form
- Use for making jelly foods like these gummies or these marshmallows
Gelatin is made of collagen — so what’s the difference between gelatin and collagen hydrolysate? Both gelatin and collagen hydrolysate contain the same proteins. However, there is a slight difference.
Collagen hydrolysate has been heated to higher temperatures and then treated with enzymes. The process breaks the bonds between the amino acids (though keeps the amino acids themselves intact). Because the amino acids are broken down, some people find collagen hydrolysate easier to digest. However, your digestive system is going to break down the amino acids anyway so there isn’t any difference in nutritional value.
The main difference between gelatin and collagen hydrolysate is how you use it. Collagen hydrolysate will NOT gel and can dissolve into both cool and warm liquids. Because the amino acid bonds are broken down, it is easier to digest, is absorbed by the body faster, and is good for people with digestion problems.
Great Lakes also makes collagen hydrolysate. It will be the GREEN canister.
How to Use Collagen Hydrolysate:
- Mix it into anything! Add it to your morning tea or coffee, put it in mashed yams, or even sneak in a scoop to condiments like ketchup and mayo to make them even healthier
|Made From||Bones, connective tissues, skin, tendons||Bones, connective tissues, skin, tendons|
|Amino Acid Profile||Collagen||Collagen which has been broken down to remove the bonds between amino acids|
|How to Use||Use when you want to make something gel, such as gummies. Always mix with warm water not cold water.||Use when you don’t want it to gel, such as when adding to tea or virtually anything|
|Where to Buy||Buy gelatin here|
Health Benefits of Gelatin and Collagen
Gelatin (and thus collagen) is one of the healthiest foods you can eat and has benefits ranging from reducing wrinkles (yes, gelatin is better than botox!), healing joints, building stronger bones, and even improving dental health.
The biggest benefit of gelatin in my opinion is that it is a gut healer. Our guts are considered our “second brain” and the gut is the direct pathway to the rest of the body. If your gut isn’t healthy, then all of those healthy foods you’ve been eating aren’t going to do you much good. After all, we aren’t what we eat but rather what we absorb from what we eat.
It is particularly important that we consume gelatin today because our diets have strayed so far from what our ancestors consumed. In the past, we ate all parts of the animal, such as by making broth and soups from the bones and connective tissues. Now, we mostly eat just the muscle meat. This causes a severe imbalance in the amino acid profile of our diet, leading to problems like arthritis, inflammation, and anxiety.
What If I Don’t Like Gelatin?
The green canister of collagen hydrolysate doesn’t really have much taste and it doesn’t make foods gel. So, you can slip it into just about anything. But, if you really don’t like it or aren’t good at remembering to put it in foods, you can still get the benefits of gelatin by taking a supplement. “NOW” makes a good beef gelatin supplement which you can buy here.