Move over kale, there’s a new superfood in town…bone broth. Despite it’s less than exciting name, bone broths are making their way from ancient fireside hearths to “broth cafe’s” in big cities where you can swap your cappuccino for a cup of broth. The health claims range from curing digestive disturbances, improving hair and skin, to relieving achy joints. It’s true, bone broths do have highly nutritive qualities due to the slow cooking process which releases minerals, amino acids, collagen and gelatin from the bone, into the broth.
A bone broth is just what it sounds like….a bunch of animal bones boiled with vegetables and herbs, and an acid like vinegar to help extract the nutrients from the bone. It needs to be cooked a long time, about 5 hours minimum and up to 48, as it is through the extensive cooking time that the bones begin to break down and the ‘liquid gold’ is created.
Not all broths are created equally. For example, a store bought box of broth pales in nutritive comparison to the real deal. Broths can be made with beef marrow, chicken carcass, fish heads, duck bones, and everything in between. The longer it cooks, the more nutritive it becomes.
Sally Fallon, founder of the Weston A. Price foundation which is a group dedicated to promoting the benefits of pre-industrial food and cooking, talks a lot about the healing powers of bone broths. She even wrote a book, called “Nourishing Broth” that discusses the importance of incorporating this ancient tradition of bone broths into modern society. From quick recovery from illness and surgery, the healing of pain and inflammation, increased energy from better digestion, or lessening of allergies, bone broths are an easy and inexpensive way to improve your health.
Here is a list of some of the nutrients found in bone broths and their benefits:
Healing amino acids: helpful in improving digestion, skin, and joints:
Glycine: helps with the breakdown of fats and supports the detoxification process
Arginine: necessary for immune function, helpful in treatment of erectile dysfunction because of it’s ability to improve blood flow, wound healing.
Glutamine: helps to rebuild the mucosal lining of the gut, acts as antioxidant.
Proline: helps regenerate cartilage, necessary for the production of collagen
Helpful in relieving joint pain:
Chondroitin Sulfate: natural anti-inflammatory, slows breakdown of cartilage
Glucosamine: helps cartilage regeneration, repair, and protection
Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and selenium, silicon, sulphur and other trace minerals
Collagen is found in the connective tissue of animals, for example chicken feet are an excellent source and can be added to create a collagen-rich broth. When broken down in the process of cooking, it also creates gelatin which is useful in soothing digestive disturbances such as IBS, crohn’s, leaky gut and acid reflux because it is easily digested.
You don’t have to sit around all day sipping broth to obtain it’s benefits. Simply keep on hand to make delicious soups, sauces, gravies or for basting meat and vegetables.
French Gastronomic writer, Brillant-Savarin, says about broth:
“good for all of humanity; it pleases the stomach, stimulates the appetite and prepares the digestion.”
- 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source (grass-fed, organic meat would be the cleanest option)
- 2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
- 1 onion, top cut but left unpeeled. The skin gives it beautiful color and flavor
- 5 garlic cloves, skin on
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery, with tops
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- Optional: 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon or more of sea salt, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, additional herbs or spices to taste.
- Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and fill with water.
- Bring to a boil
- Reduce heat to simmer for 5 hours minimum, skimming any froth that may form.
- Strain broth and store in air-tight containers, like mason jars.
- Freeze extra.
- Leaving the skin on of the onion provides beautiful color and adds flavor