After reading about Topsy and Tim making jelly, my 3 year old son was determined to make his own. But finding healthy jelly ingredients proved more difficult than I thought. A quick browse of online supermarket options revealed jelly crystals packed with sugar and chemicals or plastic-packed ready made jelly featuring the same. I was particularly disappointed to see one brand of vegan jelly advertising ‘no artificial colours or flavours’ yet containing the emulsifier carrageenan (one that often appears in plant-based milks). Among other unpleasant qualities emulsifiers can ‘act as a detergent on the gut microbes, reducing diversity‘ according to Dr. Lucinda Miller.
On the other hand, proper homemade jelly, using grass-fed gelatin, is one of the best foods for your gut. Read on to discover three ways gelatin can boost your health plus a simple recipe.
Note: Due to the natural sugar content of the fruit juice I would still limit this to a tasty treat rather than a regular food. However, I have previously made it using only 4 tbsp sour tart cherry juice, hot water and gelatin, significantly reducing the sugar content; my son still loved it. For a gelatin rich food you can enjoy daily, go for bone broth!
3 Benefits of Gelatin
Improves Gut Health
Gelatin helps to reduce inflammation in the gut and repair the lining of the digestive tract. Some studies also suggest it can help prevent leaky gut syndrome.
Natural jelly is not just a gift to your digestive health but also your liver! Gelatin is loaded with the amino acid glycine which helps the liver with its many detoxification duties. Considering the onslaught of chemicals we are faced with on a daily basis (and indeed our children’s increased susceptibility to them) any foods which are going to give our liver a helping hand should be embraced.
Glycine is particularly important during pregnancy. Although this amino acid can be produced by the body, during pregnancy the demand for glycine exceeds the capacity for its synthesis, making it ‘conditionally indispensable.’ Glycine is needed for the synthesis of fetal DNA and collagen.
Improves Sleep Quality
Who doesn’t want to improve their child’s sleep! I have been blessed with a very good eater and a very bad sleeper; so I am always looking for ways to optimise my son’s sleep quality. Again, thanks to the glycine, gelatin may also help with sleep(as would bone broth). I have added sour tart cherry juice to the recipe below since it is one of the highest known food sources of melatonin and studies suggest it can indeed help with sleep.
1 cup organic apple juice
1 cup boiling filtered water
1 tbsp gelatin ( I use Planet Paleo Pure Gelatin)
4 tbsp sour tart cherry juice (optional)
small amount of berries or cut up fruit (optional)
Place the cut up fruit at the bottom of a square glass dish. Mix the juice, water and gelatin in a glass container, giving it a good stir. Pour the solution over the fruit and leave to set in the fridge for approximately 3 hours.