If you’ve spent any time in a hospital you might have noticed that patients receive jello with nearly every meal. You’ll be surprised to know that it’s not only there to cheer people up with it’s bright colors and bouncy texture. The gelatin inside of jello actually has a wide range of healing properties that help to soothe the gut and speed up the healing process.
What Is Gelatin and How Is It Made?
Gelatin is made from boiling animal bones, cartilage and skin to extract the collagen. Collagen is the fibrous material that connects muscle, bones, and skin in animals, and when it’s processed it becomes what we call gelatin.
Gelatin is made up of 98-99% protein, and because of its high amino acid profile means that it has many healing properties for the human body, which explains why it is so often found in hospitals.
How Gelatin Heals
Bone and Joint Health
If you’re in the hospital, chances are you will be spending quite a bit of time in bed, which means that your bones and joints need all of the support that they can get in order to heal. In multiple studies, gelatin has been proven to improve bone and joint pain, particularly for those with osteoarthritis.
In one study, 80 people with osteoarthritis were given a gelatin supplement for 70 days. Those who had taken the supplement reported a reduction in pain and joint stiffness.
In another study, 97 athletes were given a gelatin supplement for 24 weeks and experienced a significant reduction in joint pain, both at rest and during activity.
Brain Function and Mental Health
When in the hospital it can be easy to get mentally disoriented, especially if you have just been through a difficult procedure. Gelatin may be able to help your brain get back on track because it’s rich in glycine, which has been linked to brain function. One study found that taking glycine significantly improved memory and certain aspects of attention.
Helps You to Sleep
Sleep and rest are essential components of healing. A body cannot heal itself properly if it constantly needs to be “on”. That’s why hospital staff encourage patients to rest as much as possible, and gelatin may help in that process.
The amino acid glycine, which is abundant in gelatin, has been shown to help improve sleep. This was proven in a study where individuals took 3 grams of glycine before bed. They reported an improved sleep quality, an easier time falling asleep, and feeling less tired the following day .
Improves Gut Health
Jello is commonly distributed in hospitals because it is easy to chew, easy to digest, and it can improve your gut in the process. One of the amino acids in gelatin, called glutamic acid, has been shown to improve the integrity of the gut wall and help prevent “leaky gut”.
“Leaky gut” is when the gut wall becomes permeable, allowing bacteria to penetrate the gut wall and move to the bloodstream. Leaky gut is thought to contribute to common gut issues, like irritable bowel syndrome.
In studies on rats, gelatin was shown to protect the gut wall from damage, though exactly how it helps has not yet been deduced.
The Downside of Jello
Jello is low in calories but high in added sugar, which can cause a multitude of health issues, such as an increased chance of heart disease and diabetes. The food coloring within jello has been proven to contain carcinogenic properties, which can lead to cancer.
Luckily, you can escape the nasty ingredients in favor of the good ones by making your own healthy jello at home.
Healthy Homemade Hospital Jello Recipe
3 tablespoons gelatin powder
1 cup organic green tea
1 cup organic fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon raw organic honey
- Make the green tea using boiling water
- Add honey to the tea
- Add the gelatin powder and mix until the gelatin is dissolved
- Put the mixture aside and let cool
- Once cool, add the orange juice and mix well
- Pour the mixture into a container and refrigerate for 3 hours
- Voila! You are ready to eat your homemade jello!
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in your fridge
More Ways to Consume Gelatin
If you’re not fond of the jelly texture of jello, but still want to reap the benefits that gelatin has to offer, you can get your kick with one of these easy options:
Bone Broth – Since gelatin is made from the bones, cartilage, and skin of animals, you can get the same benefits from creating a bone broth using these ingredients. Check out this recipe to see how you can make your own bone broth using your slow cooker.
Gelatin/Collagen Powder – Adding water to gelatin powder and allowing it to cool is what makes jello, but if you prefer to skip the jelly-texture of jello you can ingest the powder on its own. It is tasteless and odorless, so it can easily be added to any smoothie. We recommend Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate made from beef, that is kosher and full of the amino acids you need to stay healthy and heal.
Gelatin/Collagen Supplement Pills – For many people, taking supplements in the form of pills can be a great way to quickly and easily get the healing benefits that you desire. Luckily, there are many gelatin and collagen pills on the market, including Webber Natural’s Collagen supplement that will also provide you with lysine and vitamin C.
Gelatin can do wonders when healing a human body. Let’s hope you never end up in the hospital, but if you do, make sure that you eat up the jello dessert that they give you. It might just help you to get out of that hospital bed faster so that you can continue enjoying your life.
 Eman M. Hegazy, Nabil H. El-Sayed Khamis. (2014). Effects of Fresh Garlic and Ginger on the Shelf-Life of Gelatin Waste Used For improvement of Plant Growth. Retrieved from https://www.idosi.org/wasj/wasj30(1)14/15.pdf
 Schauss AG, Stenehjem J, Park J, Endres JR, Clewell A. (2012, Ap. 25). Effect of the Novel Low Molecular Weight Hydrolyzed Chicken Sternal Cartilage Extract, BioCell Collagen, on Improving Osteoarthritis-Related Symptoms: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22486722
 Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, Aukermann DF, Meza F, Millard RL, Deitch JR, Sherbondy PS, Albert A. (2008, May). 24-Week Study on the Use of Collagen Hydrolysate as a Dietary Supplement in Athletes with Activity-Related Joint Pain. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885
 File SE, Fluck E, Fernandes C. (1999, Dec.). Beneficial Effects of Glycine (Bioglycin) on Memory and Attention in Young and Middle-Aged Adults. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10587285
 Kentaro Inagawa, Takenori Hiraoka, Tohru Kohda, Wataru Yamadera, Michio Takahashi. (2006, Feb. 9). Subjective Effects of Glycine Ingestion Before Bedtime on Sleep Quality. Retrieved from
 Rapin JR, Wiernsperger N. (2010, June). Possible Link Between Intestinal Permeability and Food Processing: a Potential Therapeutic Niche for Glutamine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20613941
 Samonina G, Lyapina L, Kopylova G, Pastorova V V, Bakaeva Z, Jeliaznik N, Zuykova S, Ashmarin I I. (2000, Ap.). Protection of Gastric Mucosol Integrity by Gelatin and Simple Proline-Containing Peptides. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10825688
 Carol Potera. (2010, Oct.). DIET AND NUTRITION: The Artificial Food Dye Blues. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957945/
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