From Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to Salma Hayek and Hollywood’s leading ladies, to commercial soup giants, everyone seems to be jumping on the bone broth bandwagon. But there’s nothing new about it. Abuelita has been brewing it for centuries. “Bone broth represents a return to simple ancestral eating, just like our grandparents and those before, they understood that food really is medicine,” says Niki Castro,L.C.S.W., founder of Body By Design Wellness in Miami.

Does the soup-er food live up to its liquid gold status? Here’s what you need to know to bone up on the soup du jour.

What’s the difference between broth and bone broth?

It mostly comes down to content and cooking time. Regular broth is simply water simmered with vegetables, aromatics and meat (which may include some bones), cooked for a short period of time from about 45 minutes to two hours); it’s thin, light, and flavorful and what you’d likely use as a soup base.

True bone broth, however, is made with bones, cooked for a long period of time (often 24 hours or more) and the goal is to actually extract the gelatin from the huesos and release their nutritious minerals.

What are the health benefits?

Build up bones. Bone building nutrients in bone broth—calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and magnesium—can help strengthen your bones.
Prevent leaky gut. The gelatin that seeps in can help seal up holes in the intestines to prevent gut-irritating bacteria and undigested food particles from leaking out, which can cause irritation.

Boost the immune system. The abundant array of minerals and nutrients in bone broth can help provide immune support.
Speed up muscle recovery. Bone broth delivers on collagen, gelatin, amino acids, protein, magnesium and calcium, all of which are essential for muscle repair and growth.

Ease achy joints. The supper sip is brimming with the glucosamine, shown to help with joint pain, and chondroitin sulfate which is found to help prevent osteoarthritis.

Look younger. Lap up collagen, a protein known to increase skin elasticity and decrease aging of the skin.

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