Bone broth is a deeply nourishing food that is centuries old. Nutritionists, health coaches and healthy eating cooks are extolling broth for its many nutrients, such as magnesium, calcium and amino acids; and its benefits such as healing a damaged gut, making the skin look more youthful (it’s the collagen) and improving joint and bone health.
Bone broth is as old as the hills, long used in cultures all over the world including Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and probably by your nan, as a fortifying food, especially when ill. It’s a digestible way to pack a lot of nutrients into the body when someone can’t stomach heavier food. You could call it the original comfort food.
The health benefits of bone broth include its ability to support the kidneys and therefore adrenal health, so great for those who have adrenal fatigue. Yep- that’s all you Vatas out there! Bone broth also supports bone health and builds blood (great for women).
With its ability to heal and protect the GI tract, it is especially useful for leaky gut syndrome and joint pain- including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a go-to food for Pittas and it’s good to sip when there are any periods of diarrhea and constipation.
It calms the mind making it especially beneficial in sleep disorders which in turn increases overall energy. Bone broth soup is an immunity builder resulting in increased skin and hair health. It helps build vitality and strength – all in all, the food to go when feeling tired and depleted.
The benefits of bone broth come from the bones which, when simmered, release several compounds and minerals that benefit our health in several ways. They are anti-inflammatory thanks to the amino acids such as arginine and glycine. They help with healthy hair, nails and skin. The first two because of keratin and gelatin; the skin because of collagen, which helps skin renew, tighten and remain firm, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
The collagen in the bones is thought to soothe the lining of the digestive tract, helping with IBS, acidity, damaged gut, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s. Gelatin also soothes the lining and can help repair a leaky gut and the autoimmune conditions that can result from that.
A study by the University of Nebraska found that the amino acids produced when making chicken stock help prevent colds and flu by reducing inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. Further research suggests it can boost the immune system’s function and benefit arthritis, allergies and asthma.
Sleep and memory are improved due to a neurotransmitter called glycine, which aids in calming the central nervous system.
In the Ayurvedic tradition, which uses food as medicine, bone broth is traditionally eaten to strengthen a person’s bones, based on the principle of ‘like increases like’. Modern science agrees, suggesting that chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, from the bones’ boiled-down cartilage, may help arthritis and joint pain. The minerals in broth include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and glucosamine, some of which are important for bone health.
Gelatin contains easily assimilated bone-building minerals that can reduce joint pain and bone loss. And an amino acid called proline regenerates cartilage to help heal joints.
Bone Broth Soup Recipe
Time: 30 minutes prep time, 12+ hours cook time in a crock pot
- 10 cups purified water
- 4 large “bone marrow” beef bones
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
- 1 small-medium beet, washed and chopped
- 1/2 of a sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 tsp each of turmeric, fennel, coriander, fenugreek, ajwain (celery seeds), brown mustard and cumin seed
- 5+ black peppercorns, freshly ground
- 2-inch cube of fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
- Fresh juice from 1 lemon (lime in the summer time)
- Lightly salt to taste (sea salt or pink Himalayan)
- Add the bones, veggies and spices (except the salt) to the crock pot. The veggies can be chopped as needed.
- Fill the crock pot with fresh water until it is just about full.
- Cover and turn the crock pot on a low temp setting. Cook for 12-20 hours.
- Strain the broth and lightly salt to taste. Add the fresh lemon juice and then place the broth into ball jars or glass Tupperware and let cool.
- Once cooled, place in the refrigerator. This broth will last up to a week. The remaining strained vegetable ingredients can be consumed, added to other dishes, given to the dog (NOT the bones!) or composted. The bones should be tossed (once again, do not give them to the dog after cooking).