By Rachel Fiske
Bone broth is definitely a hot trend these days, and you can find it in many major cities in food carts to broth bars to entire cafes and restaurants strictly focusing on this nutrient dense food. But, rest assured that there is definitely nothing new about bone broth; in fact, it has been used as a traditional medicine and nutritional remedy for centuries long before it became the trend we see today.
What is bone broth, exactly?
This superfood is really quite simple. Bone broth is just as it sounds: a broth made from the bones and connective tissues of various animals, often including certain vegetables in addition, similarly to a mineral (aka, vegetable) broth. You will always want to add some sort of acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, as this aids in the breakdown of collagen and connective tissue.
Unlike some health trends, this new hot trend is a good one, as bone truth truly is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
At the end of this article we’ll look at a simple recipe, but first let’s learn more about the nutrient benefits of broth.
Keep in mind that the nutrient density of bone broth directly correlates to the quality of the ingredients. Bones from organic and grass-fed animals are optimal, and can often be found at your local butcher shop or organic market that carries meat.
Bones in and of themselves offer impressive mineral benefits, such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and sulfur. Both bones and marrow are rich in collagen, which forms nutrient-rich gelatin upon cooking.
Bone marrow is rich in Vitamins K2 and A, omega 3 fatty acids and minerals such as zinc, manganese, boron and iron.
Connective tissue offers important nutrients for joint and bone health, including arthritis support due to their high content of glucosamine and chondroitin.
Just like any soup, you can feel free to add any other veggies, just as you might with a vegetable broth. Great additions include garlic, onion, celery or greens such as kale, chard or collard greens. While certain vitamins do not survive the heating process, minerals are not affected by heat (which is why vegetable broth is often called ‘mineral broth’).
What health conditions are supported by bone broth?
Due mainly to the nutrients from the cartilage, bone broth can go a long way in helping to cool internal inflammation in the body. This includes inflammation associated with joint pain and arthritis.
Bone broth is known for helping to heal the gut, as it is an easily digestible and soothing way to take in key nutrients. Especially for those who are unable to effectively digest (such as those with food allergies), broth is a way to better absorb the nutrients in foods that the GI tract might struggle to break down and assimilate. Gelatin plays a major role in this healing property of bone broth.
Fights colds and infections
The age old chicken soup to cure a cold remedy holds true. One study (http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/broth-is-beautiful/) has proven what our grandmother’s have been telling us for years, that chicken soup does; in fact, fight common infections. Remember, the type you buy in a can or box barely resembles the medicinal broth you can make in your own kitchen.
Because of its impressively high calcium content, bone broth supports bone health and density.
Promotes healthy hair and nails
Also thanks to gelatin, bone broth can support healthy growth of hair and nails.
You can make broth using bones from any animals, but ideally you are using bones from organic, grass-fed or pasture raised animals. Feel free to do a mixture of bones from different animals, or stick to a strictly chicken or beef stock, for example. Be sure to always include a type of acid (lemon juice or vinegar), as this allows for proper breakdown of bones and connective tissue and makes for the most nutrient rich broth possible.
*adjust amounts depending on how much broth you want, but remember that it freezes well.
1 gallon of water
2-3 pounds of chicken bones and connective tissue (feet, neck, etc)
2-3 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
**add any other vegetables you have on hand
*recipe courtesy of Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Broth
4 pounds of beef marrow and/or knuckle bones
1 beef or calf foot, cut into pieces (optional)
3 pounds of meaty beef bones
1 small can of tomato paste (optional)
1 gallon (or more) of water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 onions, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
fresh herbs to taste such as parsley, thyme or bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Feel free to opt for store-bought broth from one of the new trendy broth bars (as long as they use good quality bones, which they usually do), but remember you will pay upwards of $9 for 16 ounces of broth, where you could spend almost the same amount to make over a gallon at home. But there is a lot to be said for convenience, and bone broth is well worth it.
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