What is bone broth?
Bone broth is not new. In fact, it is around for a long time. Our grandparents already knew about bone broth benefits when you had a cold. It probably was the first natural thing that is recommended to eat to get healthy soon.
The new fame of bone broth started around 2014. From then on the popularity grew and is always peaking in January. The picture below shows the search queries for google for bone broth from 2004 until today (September 2018). There is an increasing interest in bone broth and it will be interesting to see how long the rise will continue.
By 2014 bone broth became a health food trend due to the resurgence in popularity of dietary fat over sugar. The focus went to “functional foods”. Their nutrient density has a variety of health effects and is beneficial for strong joints, healthy hair & skin, a strong immune system due to its collagen content.
Broth is a kind of soup. You get it from cooking bones, meat, fish plus vegetables. By boiling the bones for a few hours all the valuable nutrients get extracted.
Typically you use beef bones or chicken.
What is the difference between broth or stock?
A lot of times people use both terms for the same thing and don´t really distinguish between broth or stock.
But if you look closely there are a few key differences in the making process.
Stock is made by simmering the bones from your meat for several hours to extract all the nutrients and flavors from them. Because you use the bones the collagen content is higher than in broth. It also has a richer texture than broth.
The stock is great to use for sauces or soups.
Broth is usually made from the meatier parts of chicken or beef. It is often slightly lighter than stock. You can use it as a base for soups, to steam vegetables in or cook pasta in it.
Bone broth benefits
Drinking bone broth is an all natural, delicious way to cure conditions like:
- support joint health
- boost immune system
- treat leaky gut
- strong hair, glowing skin
1. Joint health
The most popular benefit of bone broth is its high content of collagen.
Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular space in the various connective tissues in animal bodies. It is the most abundant protein in our body and the main component of connective tissue.
The term “collagen” comes from the Greek and means glue. It literally holds together our whole body. You can find it in the skin, hair, cartilage, bones, muscles. It´s also the gel-like structure that covers and holds our bones together, allowing us to glide and move freely.
As we age, the joints tend to lose their flexibility and get “rusty”.
When you simmer bone broth, collagen from the animal parts get into the broth and is ready to be absorbed and to restore cartilage.
2. Boost immune system
Bone broth benefits include support for your immune system. The nutrient-dense liquid is full of vitamins and minerals. It has been credited for signs of overall improvement in the immune system.
People who regularly drink bone broth report they are less likely to have the flu.
(Google search results proof, that for every flu season people get online and look up “bone broth”, “bone broth recipes”, “bone broth benefits” or “bone broth nutrition”. )
There might be a connection between a healthy gut and a healthy immune system. Unhealthy guts cause the immune system to release antibodies that attack healthy tissue in an autoimmune-like response.
Traditionally made bone broth is believed to support healthy inflammatory response plus it can promote a healthy sleep, boost energy and lift up your mood.
Everything you need to have a strong immune system and be protected for every flu season.
3. Treat leaky gut
“Leaky gut syndrome” is a condition that refers to the break down of the stomach and intestinal linings. This leads to undigestable foods which cause toxins and bacteria to leak into the bloodstream.
Bone broth is full of amino acids, which are the building blocks that support inflammation prevention in your digestive tract.
Another benefit is, it´s easy to digest by your system. It is an amazing source of bio-available nutrients in an easy to digest form.
Its amino acid structure and high gelatin content makes it soothing and healing for the gut. (If you want to get deeper insights into a leaky gut healing diet, read my article “Best leaky gut diet“.)
4. Strong hair, glowing skin
And we´re back to collagen again. Besides the benefits, I listed before, it also helps to build elastin and other compounds within the skin. Together they maintain a youthful skin tone and a fresh appearance.
Collagen is known to reduce the signs time leaves on our skin. Including wrinkles, decreasing puffiness in your face and other unwanted traces of aging.
The gelatin content of bone broth benefits hair growth and strengthens the hair structure.
Bone broth nutrition
Besides collagen, there are many other vital amino acids. They are not exactly considered essential. But the body produces them in small amounts and it helps to consume them with your diet additionally.
Bone broth benefits literally every part of your body. It´s good for your brain function, healthy gut, muscles, ligaments, and cartilages.
The hot drink is low in calories and high in minerals. The mineral density makes it a great addition to your diet and supports a healthy lifestyle.
Besides minerals, you also benefit from the included electrolytes. Both are provided in an easy to absorb form. The most prominent electrolytes include calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They are important for heart health, support nerve functions, and bone density.
Bone broth amino acids
The following amino acids contribute to the health benefits. They are not labeled as essential amino acids but they are only produced in small amounts by our body. Certain conditions can actually reduce the production of these amino acids. Stress can be such a factor and illness will affect the production too.
What are these amino acids good for?
- improves muscle mass building
- increases metabolism
- protects gut lining
- lipid synthesis
- cellular energy
- precursor to proteins
- prevents break down of protein tissue like muscle
- necessary for DNA synthesis
- digestive health
- precursor for collagen
- improves skin elasticity
- helps with leaky gut
- supports regeneration of damaged joints
- important for cell division, wound healing
- significant for regulating blood pressure
- strong immune system
- important for growth hormone production
How to make bone broth
The best recipe for homemade bone broth is simple and only needs a few ingredients.
Add these items to your grocery list:
- 2 pounds of bones (chicken or beef)
- 3 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sea salt
1. Roast the bones in a pan or oven until they have a nice roasted color. It enriches the flavor later.
2. After roasting, put the bones in a big pot. Add water and vinegar and let it sit for about 30 minutes in the cold water. The apple cider vinegar helps to make the nutrients from the bones more available.
3. Chop vegetables roughly and add them to the pot. Add salt.
4. Boil everything. After it has reached a vigorous boil, reduce to a simmer.
Estimated times of simmering for optimal health benefits:
- chicken broth: 24 hours
- beef broth: 48 hours (Beef bones are a lot bigger than chicken bones. Therefore they need more time to get the nutrients extracted.)
5. Remove scum as it arises.
When the broth cools down, a layer of fat will harden on top. Discard the layer only when you are about to eat the broth. It forms a layer of protection for the broth beneath it.
As you can see bone broth provides a wide range of health benefits. It is an easy to digest, delicious food you should include regularly in your diet. Your body benefits from the hot beverage all year round but especially in winter time.
“Food first” is the motto we should live by. Before you reach for any pills or supplements focus on the right food first. Bone broth benefits are amazing and can prevent naturally some health issues.