We have all heard the age-old belief that chicken soup is good for colds and flu, but did you know that there are real scientific basis behind the health-affirming effects of bone broths and stocks?
The staple of many traditional diets across all cultures and cuisines around the world, broths of chicken, beef, lamb, fish and more are easy to make and have been proven to be incredibly beneficial to our health. They are filled with nutrients, packed with rich flavors, and exceptionally helpful for anyone who is feeling rundown or suffering from adrenal fatigue.
The origins of bone broth began with our ancestors, who were looking for a way to make use of those parts of an animal that could not be consumed directly. This means the feet, skin, ligaments, bones, marrow and tendons. By boiling these parts over several days, a nutritious, delicious liquid was created that has stood the test of time and remains enormously popular to this day. So what exactly is it about bone broth that gives it such wonderful healing powers?
Bone Broth Is A Nutritional Powerhouse
The cooking process involved in making bone broth is a large part of the reason for its health benefits. The act of boiling and simmering the parts of animal mentioned above causes the ligaments and bones to release a number of healing compounds. These mix with the water and create a soup that has tremendous power to support your health. Let’s break down a few of the beneficial ingredients that bone broth provides.
Real collagen is marked as being a primary source of broth’s great immune-boosting properties. It is the protein source found in the connective tissue of vertebrate animals, and is also plentiful in bone, marrow, tendons and cartilage. The consumption of collagen helps to protect and soothe the lining of the digestive tract, and has also been known to help IBS symptoms, Crohn’s disease, acid reflux and ulcerative colitis. Collagen is found in that top, wiggling layer on top of homemade broth. Remember not to get rid of this layer; it is full of beneficial nutrients.
Gelatin is produced through the breakdown of collagen, and has been used for medicinal purposes in China for thousands of years. Gelatin has been proven to help those with food allergies and certain intolerances related to dairy and gluten. It also encourages probiotic growth and balance. Gelatin provides the body with bone-building minerals that are absorbed and help to reduce joint pain. It has also been known to soothe the lining of the gut, therefore helping those with leaky gut syndrome and certain autoimmune disorders.
- Amino Acids
A group of conditional amino acids can also be found in bone broth. Conditional amino acids are acids that your body cannot produce effectively if you are ill; therefore bone broth replenishes these needs through consumption. This is why bone broth is so great when you’re ill! These acids are arginine, proline, glycine and glutamine, and together they possess a large number of beneficial properties. These include, but are not limited to, the releasing of growth hormones, regenerating damaged liver cells, improving sleep and memory, regenerating cartilage and easing joints, improving metabolism, and building muscle.
Another, slightly more superficial benefit of bone broth is its power to reduce the appearance of both cellulite and wrinkles. This is caused by the gelatin in the broth. Although wrinkles and cellulite are perhaps not as important a concern as gut health and joint pain, nevertheless they are issues that some individuals struggle with and issues that the magical properties of bone broth can help to rectify.
For anybody who has yet to test the healing powers of bone broth, or even if you are a regular broth connoisseur, here is a simple and delicious recipe to try:
- 4 quarts of filtered water
- 2 lbs. of beef (or chicken) bones
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. of sea salt (Himalayan if possible)
Put all ingredients in a large pot. Cover, and place on a high heat.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a low setting.
- Allow the broth to simmer for a minimum of 12 hours. If you can leave it longer, up to 24 hours, that’s even better. A longer cooking time generally means more nutrients.
- Turn off the heat and allow the broth to cool down.
- Strain the broth through a fine metal strainer.
- Put the cooled stock in to containers for storage (only up to a few days) or freezing (can be stored frozen indefinitely).
- Drink a glass of broth each day, or freeze it in small batches and use it for cooking. Enjoy!
A slow cooker is the easiest way to make bone broth if you have one.