Ok, so we all know that chicken soup – homemade, of course – is purported to have great health benefits, particularly for colds and flu, but have you ever stopped to wonder WHY?
Answer – BONE BROTH!
The University of Nebraska Medical Center conducted a study to find out exactly what was in bone broth that made it so beneficial for colds and flu. They found that the amino acids that were produced when making the stock (hours of simmering the bones) actually reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion.
Other studies have been done since which show that bone broth actually has multiple health benefits, including boosting the immune system, providing joint pain relief, protecting the gut and promoting healthy skin.
One key thing to point out here (and I think you knew this was coming…) is that the store bought versions are just not the same as homemade! Boxed and canned broths and stocks are commercially available, and you can purchase organic and free-range meat broths; however, these watery stocks pale by comparison to both the nutrient density and flavor of homemade bone broths. These commercially prepared broths are often highly processed, not to mention, expensive! You can make a pint of homemade broth for just pennies; you’d be paying at least $5 for organic grass fed store versions. Besides, what else were you going to do with those chicken carcasses, soup bones and veggies going bad in your fridge??
Also, most store-bought broths are not actually “real”, they are a laboratory produced copy using meat flavorings, such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) – also a recognized neurotoxin, ie. something that you should be avoiding like the plague!
So why are real, grandma-style bone broths so good for you? Well, to start with they are extremely high in protein and collagen as well as being rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and other trace minerals. Perhaps even more importantly, the minerals in broth are easily absorbed by the body. (We all know – don’t we? – that most over the counter pill supplements are NOT well absorbed by the body and are, therefore, pretty mush useless.) Bone broth even contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (if I’d know this, I wouldn’t have forked out $90 for supplements for my dog’s arthritis pain!)
Drinking a cup a day of good quality bone broth – or using it in your cooking if you can’t face drinking it – will provide you with the many benefits, but if I could stress just three, they would be these:
- Heal and seal your gut
Too many people today suffer from “leaky gut syndrome” (sounds hideous, can come in a variety of forms, including IBS, stomach cramps, digestion issues, etc.) A cup a day of broth will seal those pesky little intestinal holes and solve that problem for good. The gelatin helps seal the holes which also helps cure associated issues such as chronic diarrhea, constipation and even some food intolerances, such as to wheat and dairy. It is also recommended as a preventative measure as gelatin is proven to be beneficial in restoring gut lining strength and helping with the growth of probiotics in the gut.
- Protect your joints
Bone broth is one of world’s best sources of natural collagen, the protein found in vertebrae animals — in their bones, skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bone marrow. All the parts of the animal that we don’t usually eat. As we get older, our joints naturally experience wear and tear, and we become less flexible. Taking glucosamine supplements to help with joint pain has been common knowledge for years, but unlike most expensive pills, bone broth also includes a host of other goodies that help keep your joints happy, healthy, and pain-free. The chondroitin sulfate found specifically in bone broth has been proven to help prevent osteoarthritis.
- Maintains healthy skin
Bone broth is a rich source of collagen. Collagen helps form elastin and other compounds within skin that are responsible for maintaining skin’s youthful tone, texture and appearance. Many expensive anti-aging creams claim to contain collagen. It’s what skin loses as it ages. Many people also report a decrease in cellulite when consuming foods and supplements containing collagen, since cellulite forms due to a lack of connective tissue, allowing skin to lose its firm tone.
Bone broth also contains potassium and glycine, which support both cellular and liver detoxification. If you’ve ever done a “De-Tox” program, you will know that your skin also reaps the benefits, revealing that youthful glow once more.
Now you have all the information you need, here’s how to actually make your own broth. Start with all ready cooked bones – from that chicken you roasted for Sunday dinner for example. And don’t be afraid of adding in small amounts of the meat, ligaments, skin, etc. Put it in a pot and cover with water. Add whatever vegetables you have that need using up, onion, carrots, leek, garlic, celery and a couple of bay leaves and/or other herbs for flavor. Black peppercorns and a little salt if you wish. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar if you have it. Make sure the whole lot is just covered with water, then bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours. When it’s ready the bones should crumble when squeezed between your fingers. Strain the liquid to remove all the pieces of vegetables and bone, etc. Drink or use in your daily cooking.
It will keep in the fridge for up to a week or you can freeze it in amounts that you can just take out and use (small ziplocks work just fine).
Of course if you can’t bear the thought of handling all the bones and ligaments, or just don’t have the time to make your own there are a few goods ones out there.
Thrive Market have a bunch of organic bone broths available – see the ingredients list actually includes grass fed bones!