The Benefits of Gelatin
Gelatin is an animal product that is classified as a food. Though it is classified as a food, it is rarely used as a primary ingredient in any food recipe, except in a popular product called Jello. It is actually a gelling agent that gives food a chewy, gel like texture that resembles agar agar. Foods that routinely use gelatin as an ingredient in their recipes are foods like marshmallows, candy products, certain desserts and a few types of yogurts and ice creams.
As mentioned earlier, gelatin is an animal product. It is generally made with a mixture that contains animal bones, animal hides and pig skin. Gelatin doesn’t have any taste or color and is generally sold in sheets. There are two kinds of gelatin sheets that people can buy. One is the kind that will have to be soaked in water before use while there is another kind that can be used instantaneously.
Though gelatin seems like a small addition to a recipe, it does have several health benefits to offer. Some of them are discussed below.
Gelatin's Health Benefits
Aids with muscle growth – Gelatin contains a compound called lysine. Lysine is actually an amino acid that plays a critical role in muscle growth, helping muscles recover and grow back bigger after intense bouts of weight lifting or intensive use. Many bodybuilders snack on Jello, a food that contains a lot of gelatin. Additionally, gelatin contains a high amount of glycine that can reduce inflammation that commonly occurs after a workout, by reducing estrogen and serotonin levels in the body.
Increased metabolism – An amino acid called arginine, found in gelatin, has the ability to lift or speed up the metabolic rate in a person. This can in turn allow a person to burn more calories than usual, leading to possible weight loss. Some studies have however suggested that arginine is an element that should be avoided by people who have suffered a heart condition or by people who are at risk of heart disease or a heart condition, as arginine has been known to trigger heart attacks in some people.
Low calorie count – Jello is available in sugar free versions which reduce the calorie count to very insignificant numbers. As a cup of Jello can be fairly filling, one can control their hunger pangs with these light calorie snacks, thanks to the gelatin content in them. Jello and other snacks that primarily use gelatin are available in fat free versions, allowing people to eat snacks that are both sugar free and fat free.
Suppresses joint problems – Though gelatin cannot stop the onset of joint pain and other joint related conditions, it contains amino acids that can prevent a deterioration of the joint pain or condition.
Stronger hair and nails – Gelatin or Jello is often prescribed as a diet supplement for those who suffer from weak, brittle nails, in addition to brittle hair. Unique proteins in gelatin’s nutritional profile help the body repair hair and nail proteins that over time can lead to healthier hair and stronger, smoother nails.
Sleep inducer – Some studies and common public opinion seem to suggest that just a little bit of gelatin before bed can help induce sleep. Glycine, available in plentiful amounts in gelatin, has the ability to influence neurotransmitters that induce sleep. The same studies also suggest that glycine can also possibly improve memory, albeit by small levels.
Help with diabetes and cholesterol – Gelatin has the ability to reduce the absorption of fatty acids into the blood stream, thereby reducing cholesterol levels. Since it can also improve insulin resistance, the risk of diabetes is also reduced.
Prevents osteoporosis – The anti-inflammatory properties of gelatin can help a person reduce the risk of osteoarthritis, a painful conditions where the bones gradually lose density, making it generally difficult for person to move around or just maintain an erect posture.
The general understanding is that one can safely consume about 10 grams of gelatin in a day, for long periods of time. If one experiences symptoms like heartburn, bloating or stomach cramps after eating gelatin, they are most probably overdosing on gelatin. In such cases, the dosage will have to be reduced or maybe even eliminated from a diet.