Seems like we’re constantly hearing about (or searching for) the newest in health foods and products that promise to improve our hair, skin, and overall health. While we tend to rely on the latest coming from science labs, we often don’t need to go much further than our own refrigerators and pantries.
Growing up with eastern European parents, the smell of simmering rich broth was quite the norm in our house each Sunday afternoon. Fast forward 20 years and I find myself writing a blog post as a Holistic Nutritionist about the immense health benefits this superfood can have on not just overall health, but specifically on our gut and immune system. It’s become such a staple in our house with my son coming home from school most days asking for his “soup” or me sipping it straight from my favourite mug on the regular.
Although bone broth is still having a moment on the health scene right now, it’s actually something that’s been made and consumed in most cultures and has been around for centuries. Still today when feeling ill, the first thing people usually think of…chicken soup of course!
Rather than rely though on only grandma’s trusty health advice, we are now starting to see studies and research showing the benefits of bone broth in helping to improve overall health and more specifically, gut health.
What is Bone Broth?
A rich source of easy to absorb proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, bone broth is basically liquid gold for your health. Bone broth is made by simmering bones (beef, chicken, fish, or venison) with vegetables, herbs and spices for a period of anywhere from 8-24hrs. The long cooking time helps to break down the bones and extract the incredible nutrients inside making them easy for your body to use providing healing properties and number of health benefits.
BONE BROTH BENEFIT
1. Improved Gut Health
We’re beginning to understand that all health starts in the gut. The gut is our first line of defence against pathogens such as viruses, toxins and other harmful bacteria. Bone broth rich in anti-inflammatory Glutamine helps to heal and seal the gut wall, protecting against leaky gut. Glutamine is also anti-inflammatory and plays a big role in muscle growth.
2. Better Digestive Health & Improved Immune System
Bones store an abundance of amino acids and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. These minerals are essential for bone health. Bone broth rich in these minerals improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Glycine which is one of the most widely used amino acids in the body, also helps with digestion by stimulating the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach, which we need to breakdown food. It will also help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Glycine reduces inflammation, stimulates human growth hormone, (which enhances muscle repair), and is also used to make collagen and gelatin which aid digestion by keeping bowel movements regular. Gelatin is what gives bone broth it’s jelly-like consistency when cooled. (This is a good thing!)
3. Optimal Skin Health (Go for the glow)
One of the most abundant proteins in human body is Collagen. Making up 30% of our body’s protein, it is the main component of connective tissue (skin, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and bone). Studies are now showing collagen consumption significantly improves skin elasticity and moisture as well as improvement of complexion and skin tone.
4. Stronger Joints, Bones & Muscles
Bone broth contains both hyaluronic acid and glucosamine which provide joint lubrication, reduced inflammation and joint pain. One single cup serving of bone broth contains around 6-12gr protein with a variety of amino acids like Glutamine that also aid in muscle growth and repair making it easier to recover post workout!
NOURISHING BONE BROTH RECIPE
Prep time: 15 mins. Cook time: 6-24 hrs
- Mixture of organic beef marrow bones or knuckles, chicken carcasses, chicken wing tips and/or chicken feet, or fish bones (can also add chicken hearts, stomach and liver known as giblets)
- 1 onion, cut in half
- 3 celery sticks, quartered
- 2 large carrots, chopped in chunks
- 4 garlic cloves
- Generous handful of parsley
- 5 litres water (or enough to cover bones)
- 1 Tbsp of salt
- Handful of peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
*Can also add rosemary, parsnips, leeks or any other vegetable you have on hand. Play with it!
**Some recipes call for adding a few Tbsp of apple cider vinegar to help the extraction of minerals from bones. Can do this if you’d like.
Note: You can also make a Vegan/Vegetarian broth by omitting the bones. While the vitamins from the vegetables would still be beneficial, you would not receive the health benefits from the minerals and gelatin from the bones.
- Heat olive oil in stock pot, add onions, carrots, celery and peppercorns and lightly fry for 3-5 minutes until aroma from peppercorns are released. Add chicken and beef bones and cook for another few min. Optional step if using beef bones: place raw bones and vegetables in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 250°C. Pre-roasting will give the broth a dark colour and richer flavour. I usually skip this step for time and still love the outcome.
- Cover the bones with water so the bones are submerged (using about 4-5 litres water depending on your pot size).
- Add parsley, salt and bay leaves and bring to a boil. If using stove top, reduce the heat to a slow simmer and partially cover with a lid. Simmer for 6-12 hours continuously. If using a slow cooker, turn on low heat and leave for 12-24 hours (this will allow for more nutrients to be extracted from the bones and the benefits are totally worth the long cook time).
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely. When cooled, remove the bones and strain the liquid through a colander or fine sieve into another large pot. Refrigerate for 5+ hours until the fat has completely solidified to the top. You can then remove it and discard. Tip- This fat layer will help to keep the broth fresh if leaving in the fridge to use in next few days.
- If not using entire pot of broth within 4-5 days, you can portion up and freeze whatever you won’t use immediately. You can also pour some into ice cube trays and freeze as ready to use stock cubes.
- Heat up and enjoy in a mug or add to variety of your favourite recipes for added nutrients and flavour!