Eating chicken feet may sound unappealing to some but for Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipinos, they are a culinary delicacy. South Africans, Jamaicans, Trinidadians and South Americans also include chicken feet in their diets. Even if you don’t regard chicken feet as a delicacy, you cannot ignore the fact that eating them offers many health benefits. They supply your body with calcium and other trace minerals, vitamins and collagen. The benefit of the collagen is top of the list.
Collagen is a structural protein, and it contributes to the integrity and function of multiple bodily systems. The human body contains 25 different types of collagen found all over the body, including in the bones, muscles, skin, tendons, digestive system and blood vessels. Collagen is what replaces dead skin cells and gives the skin its elasticity. As we age, collagen production decreases, and we start to develop sagging skin, wrinkles, fragile bones and aching joints. Chicken feet provide an excellent and cheap source of collagen and supplementing our diets with them helps to keep our bodies healthy.
When chicken feet are included in a bone broth, the nutrients are slowly pulled from the bones and cartilage, forming a nutritious liquid. Many other recipes use it for preparing chicken feet, giving them a gelatinous texture. They can have a chewy texture too, depending on whether they are fried, boiled or stewed.
Collagen is the word used for the substance found in the body. Gelatine is what you get when you cook the bones and tissue down to become digestible. Bone broth, for instance, produces rubbery gelatin once it cools down. Whether you talk about collagen or gelatin, the health benefits are similar.
1. Healthy, younger looking skin
The Dept. of Animal Science at National Chung-Hsing University in Taiwan conducted research that indicated generous amounts of collagen in chicken feet. Collagen maintains elasticity of the skin so when collagen production declines, sagging, dryness and wrinkles are the results.
Collagen supplements are expensive. Some of the collagen pills available at drugstores simply ground up chicken feet. It makes no sense to pay for these supplements when chicken feet are cheap and readily available as a good source of collagen. Some research shows that the collagen in a food source like a bone broth is absorbed more readily by the body than pills.
In studies investigating the anti-aging properties of collagen, women aged 35-55 using collagen once daily for eight weeks improved the elasticity of their skin, suffered less dryness, and their skin was smoother. Collagen appears to be one of the most effective, natural skin care ingredients.
The doctors of Chinese traditional medicine have said for hundreds of years that the skin mirrors what’s happening inside your body – especially what’s happening in your digestive system. Chronic digestive problems have the potential to cause various inflammatory skin issues. As collagen improves the health of the gut, it can also improve the appearance of your skin. Sometimes all the work of slathering creams and potions on the outside works less well than addressing your skin problems from the inside.