Bone broth has been around for ages, but sometimes it takes us a while to understand the significance of doing things the old-fashioned way. In this case, the benefits of bone broth are pretty substantial, and we find ourselves wondering why it took modern culture so long to catch up.
Back before factory farming and the disposable mindset, most animal parts didn’t go to waste. The family cook used every possible part of the animal.
What couldn’t be eaten was made into a broth and used for soups and stews. Traditional cultures practiced nose-to-tail eating and consumed even the skin, cartilage, tendons, and other gelatinous cuts of meat.
When you think about it, it’s the most conscious way to consume meat – ensuring that the animal lived and died humanely and that no part is wasted.
In their book The Bone Broth Secret, Louise Hay and Heather Dane explain that an entire cow could feed a family of four for a year, if they ate like their ancestors.
Choice cuts, like filet mignon and rib eye, make up only 15% of the cow. As demand for such cuts has grown, so has the demand for cows.
The Benefits of Bone Broth
So, when we eat like our ancestors, we waste less food and we get more out of the money we spend on it. It’s also infinitely better for our health than the standard American diet.
All About Bone Broth Nutrition
Bone broth contains all the minerals in the bones of the animal in a way that your body can easily absorb them. Think about it – collagen, amino acids, protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, silicon, gelatin, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine – all in a warm, nourishing broth that goes directly into your digestive system.
The abundance of bioavailable collagen is one of the major benefits of bone broth. In this case, bioavailable means it has already been broken down into gelatin, which is easily digested and assimilated in the body.
It’s why athletes, celebrities, and the age 40+ crowd have been so receptive to the revival of this ancient practice.
But the healthy goodness of bone broth goes far beyond athletic recovery time and natural beauty remedies. If you have any of these wellness challenges, you may find the health benefits of bone broth extremely helpful:
Protect Your Joints
As we get older, the cartilage in our joints breaks down (a natural part of aging). Bone broth contains collagen and gelatin to help the body rebuild cartilage and it reduces inflammation, which can cause joint pain.
It’s also a source of natural collagen, the protein found in the bones, skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone marrow of vertebrae animals.
Support Your Digestive System
Leaky Gut Syndrome can be helped or even healed with bone broth. The bioavailable gelatin in the bone broth helps to shore up the lining of the stomach and support healthy digestion.
Bone broth is a nourishing way to promote gut health and heal your microbiome. The amino acids and collagen help to support a healthy lining in the colon and the entire GI tract.
Boost Your Immune System
A healthy immune system starts with a healthy gut. By supporting a healthy immune system, bone broth helps to shore up your immune system and that includes a healthy inflammatory response. Many common illnesses start because of inflammation in the body.
Rev Up Poor Metabolism
Consuming bone broth is one of the best ways to get more glutathione into your diet. Glutathione is a must-have for antioxidant defense, nutrient metabolism, and strong cellular function.
The amino acids in bone broth also boost metabolism and help the body repair muscle tissue, support healthy bones, improve the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and maintain muscles and cartilage.
Improve Your Sleep
Research has shown that glycine, found in bone broth, may help improve sleep and ward off fatigue. (source)
Relieve Skin Issues
Whether you have rashes, breakouts, or are just fighting the aging process, the beauty benefits of bone broth are worth noting.
The collagen increases skin’s elasticity. Enthusiasts report bone broth skin benefits from glowing, clear skin to decreased wrinkles, cellulite, and overall skin sagging.
Help Tooth & Jaw Problems
In his book, The Dental Diet, Dr. Steven Lin explains that collagen is found both in our teeth and in the connective tissue that keeps our teeth in place in our jaw. In the tooth, collagen aids mineralization and stability. Collagen is also vital for improving your bone density, which is vital for healthy teeth.
How to Add Bone Broth to Your Diet
You can make bone broth using just about any animal bones — pork, beef, veal, turkey, lamb, bison, buffalo, venison, chicken, or fish. For vegetarians, you can make “mineral broth” using only vegetables.
Drink Bone Broth
If sipping a mug of straight bone broth doesn’t sound appealing to you now, there are ways to ease into it. My introduction to bone broth was during our Green Child Whole 30 challenge a few years ago. Even though I had broken my years-long sugar addiction by the third week, I still wasn’t an instant fan of bone broth solo.
Add Bone Broth To Soups
So I started adding chicken bone broth to soups, and within a few weeks, my husband and I started craving bone broth as the base over regular chicken broth. Here’s our favorite bone broth recipe: Roasted Garlic Chicken Bone Broth Soup.
With garlic, carrots, fresh herbs, spices, scallions, parsley, and root vegetables, it’s a soothing, nourishing way to enjoy all the benefits of bone broth.
When I make a batch of homemade bone broth, I store some of it in mason jars in the fridge to use over a two-week period and freeze the rest in these large square silicon freezer trays. Then I add a cube to just about everything we make… cauliflower rice, pasta, vegetables, anything in the Instant Pot because the homemade broth cube adds just the right amount of liquid and tons of healthy goodness.
Add Bone Broth to Boiling Water for Other Foods
I even add a cube of bone broth to the boiling water for spaghetti or mac and cheese. I figure it’s a great way to add bone broth nutrition to the easy meals my kids enjoy.
We’ve also helped heal some broken bones with it. Our oldest son fractured his hand, and 7-week week old kitten broke his leg. They both got their casts off two weeks earlier than scheduled, and we’re pretty sure their steady diets of bone broth-infused foods can take part of the credit.
Vegetable, Chicken, and Beef Bone Broth Recipes
The bone broth I make at home is pretty minimalist. You can certainly go to more effort as you’ll see in the recipes below. Here’s how I make chicken both broth.
We buy humanely raised whole chickens from our farmer’s market or an online source like Butcher Box so we know they weren’t treated with antibiotics. Butcher Box now offers two types of pre made organic bone broth you can add to your subscription. Over the course of a few weeks, I save the bones from chicken we use for our meals in paper grocery bags, wrapped up with a rubber band and stored in the freezer.
Once there’s enough to fill the crock pot or Instant Pot, I add the washed bones plus filtered water and about 1/4 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, along with onions, salt and pepper, and whatever other vegetables we have on hand.
In a crock pot, I keep it on a low setting for 2 days. In the Instant Pot, I run the manual setting for 120 minutes then usually let it slow cook for a few hours. Then I let it cool and separate it into mason jars for the fridge and silicone trays for the freezer.
Vegetable (or Mineral) Broth – Even if you don’t eat meat, you can enjoy all the benefits of bone broth (minus the actual bones). Rebecca Katz’s Magic Mineral Broth is a rejuvenating combination of super foods chock-full of magnesium, potassium, and sodium, that allows the body to refresh and restore itself.
If you’re into the healing power of food, check out her cookbook The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.
Chicken and / or Beef Bone Broth – You’ll find several chicken or beef bone broth recipes online and even some for the Instant Pot. We’re fond of Louise Hay’s bone broth method because it feels the most conscious and intentional.
Be sure to use a trusted source like Butcher Box for grass-fed beef and humanely raised, high quality meat.
Pre-Made Bone Broth
If I run out of homemade broth or if we’ve been really busy and I don’t have time to make it, I use one of the flavors of pre-made bone broth.
Their chicken bone broth is made with collagen-rich chicken feet and bones, and slow simmered with organic herbs and vegetables for more than 10 hours. It contains the same amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and compounds as homemade, and the best part is that they don’t add any preservatives or artificial ingredients.
Kettle & Fire is Non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. Kettle & Fire is also the first and ONLY bone broth company to be certified Glyphosate Residue-Free.
The benefits of bone broth are numerous. When you add this nutrient-rich substance to your daily schedule, your health and digestive system will thank you.
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Carola Jain says
From a nutritional standpoint, bone broth is incredibly underrated. I definitely agree with how well it aids the body’s digestion as you detailed here. Great insight!