Bone broth has definitely emerged as a trendy, savory drink filling coffee cups and mugs, but this fad elixir has very ancient roots.
Bone broth has been used in many cultures for centuries. Traditional healers have turned to it to strengthen kidneys and support the digestive system, and the English have sipped beef tea (a mixture of cubed beef steeped in water) since the Victorian era.
But what is bone broth, exactly?
And is bone broth good for you, really?
What Is Bone Broth?
It really is as simple as it sounds: Bone broth is an aromatic broth simmered with beef or poultry bones and vegetables.
Andin case you are wondering, it is not exactly the same thing as stock. The difference between a broth and a stock lies mainly the amount of time it has simmered. The longer the liquid cooks, the more nutrients and minerals leach from the bones. Broths are made by simmering the bones and some meat of an animal or fish for a very long time, often more than 24 hours, versus a stock which can finish cooking in a few.
How to Make Bone Broth
Making homemade bone broth is easy enough. You might head off to the supermarket only to find they do not carry bones, or those from the well-raised, pastured animals you make an effort to source on your Paleo diet. Try your local butcher or farmer and look for the "boniest bones" you can find. These would include beef knuckles, chicken necks, oxtails, soup bones, and even tiny feet. You can also repurpose bones from other dishes you've cooked, like roast chicken or turkey.
Bones from healthy, pasture raised animals are filled with a rich array of powerful nutrients that are released into the water when simmered for an extended period at a low temperature.
Consider this bone broth method: Once you have the bones, cram them all into a pot with whatever vegetables and herbs you might have. Some examples could be one chopped carrot, two chopped stalks of celery, and aromatic herbs such as thyme, rosemary, parsley, or oregano. Add water to the top, and simmer on low for at least 20 hours. It will smell wonderful and you will end up with a nutritious drink, or if all else fails, a delicious soup base.
The secret to making the best broth is in the ingredients. Pete makes his bone broth with bones from animals that were humanely raised on open pastures with clean diets free of antibiotics, hormones and grains, organic vegetables and herbs and filtered water, ensuring the final product is as pure and flavorful as it is packed full of vitamins, minerals and gelatin.
Benefits Of Bone Broth
Bone broth offers a laundry list of body-boosting benefits: For one, it's a great source of protein (about 6 grams per cup) and minerals like calcium, phosphorous (good for bones and teeth), and potassium, which helps move nutrients into cells and waste out of cells.
Furthermore, it is known for supporting your immune function while feeling a little under the weather (your grandmother was right, home-made chicken soup will heal many ills), some of the many attributes of bone broth include:
Supports Gut Health & Integrity
A healthy digestive tract is the cornerstone of health. When the digestive system is healed and working well, nutrients are properly and efficiently digested, absorbed and assimilated. When the intestinal lining becomes too permeable and allows undigested food particles and disease-causing bacteria to leak from your gut and into the bloodstream the body sees these innocent food particles as a foreign invader and starts to attack itself. Increased intestinal permeability can be responsible for the formation of food allergies, autoimmune conditions, asthma, skin conditions, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue and most diseases associated with chronic inflammation. Leaky gut, affects a huge part of the population and is a growing epidemic due to poor food choices, stress, environmental toxins, overuse of NSAIDS, antibiotics, birth control and other medications.
The gelatin in bone broth is soothing to the digestive tract and actually helps repair the mucosal lining. It also assists in break down the protein and fat from foods, making them easier to digest.
Assists The Liver
The liver is so overburdened from the toxic and chemical nature of the modern world. Toxicity surrounds us from the air and water to the food supply and personal care products. The liver is responsible for removing these toxins from the body. The liver’s ability to eliminate these toxins effectively is largely dependent on the amount of available glycine. Gelatin-rich bone broth is rich in glycine, supporting your detoxification pathways.
Chondroitin sulfate is a structural component of cartilage and has been found to improve inflammatory conditions. Bone broth also contains large amounts of the amino acids glycine and proline, both of which are extremely anti-inflammatory.
Helps Relieve Joint And Muscle Pain
The specific amino acids in bone broth, glycine and proline, are necessary to build muscle, repair tissue and reduce inflammation. Bone broth is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin. These are often taken in supplement form for joint pain relief, but are more bio-available when you consume them in their naturally occurring state. The latest studies have shown that the gelatin in bone broth provides almost immediate relief to joint pain. The glycine in gelatin speeds wound healing, helps stiff joints and promotes recovery.
Strengthens & Repairs Bones
The large amounts of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in bone broth helps bones grow, strengthen and repair.
Bone broth provides a rich source of minerals and amino acids that supply the body with raw materials to rebuild stronger and healthier cells. Bone broth also boosts antioxidant activity in the body. In traditional Chinese medicine bone broth is used to boost the immune system and fight infections.
Increases Mineral Consumption And Absorption
In the modern environment, many people are deficient in one or more minerals due to dietary deficiencies or poor absorption. The soil is depleted in minerals resulting in lowered nutrient concentration in food. Getting these trace minerals through bones is extremely important. As the bones cook in water, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water. Homemade broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals. Bone broth offers easily absorbed extracted minerals and supports utilization of the minerals by promoting the health of the intestinal tract.
Improves Skin Texture & Elasticity
Collagen production decreases with aging. Bone broth is rich in collagen, the proteins found in flesh and connective tissues. Skin becomes smoother and more elastic in the presence of an abundance of connective tissue. Some have even suggested that bone broth helps eliminate cellulite.
Promotes Sound Sleep
Research has shown that consuming gelatin before bed helps induce sleep because of the amino acid glycine. Glycine plays an important role in the neurotransmitters within the brain. So not only will ingesting bone broth improve sleep quality, but it will also help reduce daytime sleepiness and help improve your memory when you are awake.
How to Use Bone Broth
If the idea of drinking it out of your favorite coffee mug feels a little odd, there is no need to worry: There are plenty of ways to eat, drink, and use bone broth.
- Drink it straight up. Pour it into a thermos and sip it on its own or as part of your lunch.
- Use it to simmer. When simmering your favorite root vegetables (to make a mash for example) use bone broth instead of water for added flavor and all the health benefits
- Freeze for later use. Pour bone broth into ice cube trays and freeze. You'll have individually portioned broth at the ready.
- Make soup, stews or braises.This is a tried-and-true way to use bone broth. Use it as a flavorful and healthy liquid base for your favorite soup, stew or braise.
- Make a bone broth smoothie. Yes, you read that right, add it to your favorite smoothie for a nutrient boost!!!
As the days get shorter and cooler, warm, simmered, comforting foods definitely become more appealing. Properly prepared bone broths are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals and amino acids of all the superfoods: bone, cartilage, marrow, collagen, gelatin with the addition of vegetables as electrolytes – all in a form that is easy to assimilate. The possibilities are endless when adding this nutrient-dense super-food into your recipes!
Michal Ofer is a wellness and digestion expert and nutrition coach. She is focused on assisting clients to take control of their health and happiness through the sustainable food and lifestyle choices that best support them. Through strengthening the body from the inside out, her clients are able to reach new heights of health, happiness and wellness. Michal obtained her Professional Training and Certificate from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. She has a further studied through the University of Colorado (Boulder) and Stanford University and is a Certified 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach. Michal has also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences and a Master Life Coach Certification. For further information and to connect with Michal visit her website at www.michalofer.com