Bone Broth is an ancient food that traditional cultures and trained chefs have been using for ages, and it has recently regained popularity and was even called “trendy” on the Today show.
A true “what’s old is new again” story that our great grandmothers would probably laugh about, modern culture is finally catching up to what traditional cultures have known for years… that broth is an inexpensive and versatile source of nutrients.
Years ago, many families kept a pot of broth simmering on the hearth. This provided an easy base for soups and other recipes and also a way to keep the broth fresh before the invention of refrigerators. It’s one of the many traditional foods that we’ve largely forgotten in modern culture, but I’m glad to see it making a come back.
Broth is easily and simply made by boiling bones (beef, chicken, fish, etc) in water with an acid (like vinegar) and optional spices, vegetables and herbs. Broth can boil for as little as 4 hours or up to 48 (or more as traditional cultures did). These are some of the many reasons to consume broth regularly:
The Health Benefits of Bone Broth
- Broth is wonderful for nutrient absorption. It is a source of bio-available nutrients and in an easy-to-digest form. Its amino acid structure and high gelatin content makes it soothing and healing for the gut and enhances the absorption of nutrients from other foods as well.
- Supports Hair, Skin, Nails & Joints . Broth contains the collagen, which supports hair, skin and nail health. It also contains glucosamine, chondroitin, sulphates and other compounds that support joint health.
- Bone broth provides the amino acids needed for collagen production. Collagen keeps the skin smooth, firm and reduces wrinkles. The gelatin in bone broth also helps strengthen hair and nails and speed their growth.
- Broth is an excellent source of several essential amino acids that are often difficult to get from diet alone:
Proline: A precursor for hydroxyproline, which the body uses to make collagen, proline helps the body break down proteins and helps improve skin elasticity and smoothness (and avoiding wrinkles). It is often recommended for its benefits to the heart, including keeping arteries from stiffening.
Glycine: Necessary for DNA and RNA synthesis and digestive health. It is used for the production of glutathione, for blood sugar regulation and digestion (though bile salt regulation). Glycine also enhances muscle repair/growth by increasing levels of creatine and regulating Human Growth Hormone secretion from the pituitary gland.
Arginine: Helpful for muscle protein synthesis and vasodilation.
5. Glutamine: Bone broth is an excellent source of glutamine and is recommended (required) on the GAPS protocol. It is important to note that these amino acids are not technically considered “essential” since the body does make them itself. Since they are only made in small amounts in the body, much of the research I’ve read suggests that it is beneficial to consume them from dietary sources as well.
6. Gut and Immune Health are so interconnected because 80% of your immunity is found in your gut!
7. Chicken soup is a timeless remedy for illness, but modern research is starting to understand its role in immune health. As we now understand that much of the immune system is in the gut, broth is especially helpful because its high gelatin/collagen content supports gut health and its amino acids help reduce inflammation.
Broth vs Bone Broth vs Stock
Nourished Kitchen provides a great explanation of the difference between these terms:
- Broth is typically made with meat and can contain a small amount of bones (think of the bones in a fresh whole chicken). Broth is typically simmered for a short period of time (45 minutes to 2 hours). It is very light in flavor, thin in texture and rich in protein.
- Stock is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat (think of the meat that adheres to a beef neck bone). Often the bones are roasted before simmering them as this simple technique greatly improves the flavor. Beef stocks, for example, can present a faint acrid flavor if the bones aren’t first roasted. Stock is typically simmered for a moderate amount of time (3 to 4 hours). Stock is rich in minerals and gelatin.
- Bone Broth is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat adhering to the bones. As with stock, bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the bone broth. Bone broths are typically simmered for a very long period of time (often in excess of 24 hours). This long cooking time helps to remove as many minerals and nutrients as possible from the bones. At the end of cooking, so many minerals have leached from the bones and into the broth that the bones crumble when pressed lightly between your thumb and forefinger.
How to Use Broth
Broth is extremely versatile and many chefs use it as a base for soups, gravies, sauces and more. Some ways to use bone broth can be as a base for soups and stews, in a mug by itself as a warm drink, as a base for gravy and sauce and use it to cook veggies in for extra nutrients. I like to pour my bone broth in ice cube trays and freeze it to use in my dishes. I pop 2-6 cubes out every time I cook a dish to add extra nutrients into my meals.
Bone Broth Recipe
• 2kg of ORGANIC beef bones with marrow
• 4 carrots, chopped
• 4 celery stalks, chopped
• 2 medium onions, pool on, slice in half length wise and quartered
• 4 garlic gloves, peel on and smashed
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon pepper
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
• 5-6 sprigs of parsley
• ¼ cup of ORGANIC apple cider vinegar
• 18-20 cups of cold water
1. Place all ingredients in a crock-pot
2. Add water
3. Turn on, walk away and be your brilliants self for the next 24-48 hours
4. Remove from health and allow to cool slightly
5. Discard solids and strain remainder in a bowl through a colander. Let stock cool to room temperature, cover and chill
6. Use within a week or freeze up to 3 months.
Written by Racheal Maree – ATP Science Naturopath