Unless you have been living under a rock for the past five years, you likely have heard of bone broth. Loaded with nutritional and health benefits, bone broth has become a staple in healthy pantries all over the world. It should be of no surprise that once a health food becomes popular, it also becomes a watered-down version of itself. That means that not all versions of bone broth are created equal. If you are looking to enjoy all of the health benefits of bone broth, or you just want to add it to your favorite soup or stew, here is what you need to know.
Table Of Contents:
- What Is Bone Broth
- How To Make Bone Broth
- The Health Benefits Of Bone Broth
- How To Choose The Best Bone Broth
What Is Bone Broth?:
Bone broth is the golden liquid that results from the long simmering of meat, bones, and joints in water to make broth. It is protein-rich and slightly thicker than stock because it is simmered for a longer period of time. Bone broth comes in many forms and can be flavored with a host of herbs and spices that make it a great addition to soups and stews or a meal in itself. Bone broth is a great way to start your day, especially if you are into intermittent fasting. It is also the perfect remedy when you are not feeling your best. It is great for immune health, gut health, weight loss, and the list goes on.
How To Make Bone Broth:
I like to make a simple bone broth from a leftover roasted chicken. It is even better if you made the roasted chicken yourself and you know that all the ingredients used to make it are also healthy. Ensure that your chicken is organic and local if you can. You can use a similar process with a different animal as well. Just make sure you use grass-fed, local, and organic animals. If you want to enjoy the health benefits, you will need to choose high quality meats and filtered water.
- Add a chicken carcass to a huge pot and cover with filtered water. Depending on the size of the pot, I would use around 12 cups of filtered water.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to the pot. This is used to help the chicken joints break down in the water for collagen and protein.
- Add a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of coconut aminos to season the broth.
- Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 12 hours.
The Health Benefits Of Bone Broth
Bone broth is one of those quintessentially healthy foods. You probably already knew it was good for you but did you know why?
Bone broth contains collagen, a component of the joints and cartilage of animals that’s really good your hair, skin, and nails. A study published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that “after four weeks of follow-up treatment, a statistically significantly higher skin elasticity level was determined in elderly women.” Another study published in the journal of Medical Nutrition & Nutraceutical found “that a combination of hydrolyzed collagen and hyaluronic acid, together with other ingredients, when consumed orally for 9 weeks can significantly reduce the depth of wrinkles, whereas there was no significant reduction with placebo. In fact, there was an 8 percent reduction in wrinkle depth in the group taking the test product, which was found to be significant.” If you want to give your skin an extra boost, bone broth might help.
2. Gut Health
Bone broth also contains important amino acids that are key to gut health. This may be particularly true for those that have gut health issues, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, and Crohn’s disease. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that “recent studies in animal models have identified dietary amino acids that improve IBS, but amino acid supplementation may not be adequate to replace conventional therapy.” Another study published in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care found that glutamine may be helpful for those with leaky gut. The study authors wrote that “glutamine supplementation can improve gut barrier function” in the body. If you need to amp up your amino acid game, bone broth might be just the thing you need.
3. Prevents Bone Loss
We are all looking to protect our bones because they are the only ones we have. And if you are looking for an easy way to do just that consider bone broth. As mentioned above, the collagen in bone broth has a host of benefits including preventing bone loss. A study published in the journal Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism found that “collagen hydrolysate is of interest as a therapeutic agent of potential utility in the treatment of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Its high level of safety makes it attractive as an agent for long-term use in these chronic disorders.” Another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that a collagen supplement may help reduce bone loss in women. Bone broth is a great way to add in collagen without having to supplement.
4. Improves Immune Health
There are good reasons as to why you should be drinking bone broth on a regular basis, but it is even more helpful when you are sick because it boosts your immune health. Many of the amino acids associated with bone broth improve your gut health. Good gut health = good immune health. So the next time you feel a cold coming on, hit the store and load up on bone broth or follow the recipe above and start brewing a huge batch. Additionally, reducing leaky gut is crucial to improving your immune health. A study published in the Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine found that “early enteral glutamine supplementation led to a declined intestinal permeability in critically ill patients.” Load up on the amino acids that are so important for your immune health with bone broth. Sip away when you are sick or when it is cold and flu season to avoid getting sick.
5. Joint health
It is also worth mentioning that the collagen found in bone broth is really good for protecting your joints. If you work out often or you put repetitive movement on your joints, starting your day with bone broth a few days a week may improve your workout. Bone broth contains a natural source of collagen that means you do not have to take a supplement form into order to protect your joints. A study published in the journal Nutrición Hospitalaria found that collagen supplementation worked to reduce joint pain in study participants. Another study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that oral supplementation of collagen peptides and other minerals significantly improved the clinical parameters related to skin aging and joint health, and might be an effective solution to slow down aging. Joint health is so important as you age and bone broth is a delicious solution.
6. Loaded With Nutrients
Bone broth is not just chalk-full of health benefits, it is also loaded with important nutrients including protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. We know about the importance of protein but what about the others? Here is why magnesium, zinc, and potassium should be a regular part of your diet:
- Magnesium. Magnesium is a nutrient that is important for regulating muscle and nerve function as well as blood pressure. It is also important for helping the body make protein. It can be hard for those with type 2 diabetes to get enough magnesium as well as those that have gastrointestinal issues like Crohn’s disease and those with long term alcoholism.
- Zinc. Zinc is really important for immune health. It helps your immune system fight off bad bacteria to keep you from getting sick. The body also needs zinc to make protein, DNA, and genetic material in the cells. Zinc helps wounds heal more quickly and it is also important to our sense of taste and smell. Vegetarians, those with gastrointestinal problems (like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and those who drink excessive alcohol have trouble getting enough zinc.
- Potassium. Potassium is a mineral that is normally abundant in the body. It functions as an electrolyte in the body, helping the muscles with contractions and regulating the body’s fluids. It also helps with nerve signals in the body. Both magnesium and potassium are associated with the nervous system which is why a deficiency due to dehydration can also immediately impact your mood. If you have ever noticed that you are angry when you get really thirsty, this is why. Pre-workout electrolyte drinks tend to contain ample electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and sodium which can also be found in abundance in bone broth.
How To Choose The Best Bone Broth:
It is so important to choose high quality bone broth (or make your own) if you want to enjoy the benefits of bone broth. Here are a few tips on buying it at the grocery store:
- Choose fresh. When it comes to choosing the best bone broth, the fresher the better. If you cannot make your own, you will want to make sure that your bone broth is fresh and does not contain preservatives. This means choosing those found in the refrigerated or frozen food section of the grocery store. Would you want bone broth that had a long shelf life? The good stuff can also be pricey because there is a lot of love and expense that went into producing it.
- Choose grass fed. Just like you choose grass fed meats to eat, the same is true when you are choosing the best bone broth. Choose bone broth made from animals that were allowed to roam free and fed on grass rather than corn and wheat, which is harder for them to digest and results in the release of methane (a nasty greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere.
- Choose organic. Make sure that all the ingredients that went into your bone broth are organic. This includes the feed that the animals are eating which should also be organic.
- Keep it simple. When you look at the ingredient label, the fewer the better. Choose bone broth that contains as few additives and preservatives as possible because when foods are whole, they are much better for you. If you make it yourself, you know what is in it, but if you do not, you will have to become an expert label reader.
- It is not the same as stock. The collagen, amino acids, and thickness of bone broth result from the fact that bone broth is cooked on average four times longer than stock. And while it makes a delicious addition to any soup or stew, it is not the same thing. Bone broth is worth the wait.