A nourishing tradition packed full of wisdom.
When it comes to some of nature’s most healthy, nourishing and healing foods, bone broth stands tall and proud with the best of them. It really has an impressive CV when it comes to building optimal health and healing the body. There is a well-known South American proverb which states “A good broth will resurrect the dead”. When we look back into traditional cultures and learn more about the way they used natural properties to build optimal health and well-being and heal themselves from various alignments and chronic disease, we begin to see and understand the true healing potential of natural nourishing traditions. Bone broth is one of these traditions that has been used for years by various cultures throughout the world including the French, Italians, Chinese, Middle Easterners, South Americans, Africans and Russians who understood the amazing benefits bone broth provided in not only adding flavour to food but for living a healthy and fulfilling life.
Simply put, bone broth is homemade stock made from animal bones. You can use whole chicken or fish carcasses or parts of lamb, turkey, pork, venison – or any other animal of your choice. In days gone by, when our ancestors use to cook a lot more meat on the bone (rather than the boneless fillets and breast meat we tend to live on now days) they would use these bones to make stocks and broth and draw on the rich minerals and nutrients they provide. Thanks to our modern day meat processing techniques and fast paced, takeaway lifestyles, we have unfortunately seen a dramatic decline in the use of meat, chicken and fish stocks in our diets. Actually, sadly many people I speak to today look at me sideways when I mention I often have a nourishing cup of broth with a meal or when I am feeling a little depleted as they have no idea what broth is!!!! This shows just how much we have lost touch with the real healing traditions our wise ancestors all knew about and used regularly.
So what is all the fuss over bone broths, I am sure you are wondering?
Bone broths are known as a super food and have been used as a classic folk treatment for colds and flu, and historically for ailments that affect connective tissues such as the gastrointestinal tract, joints, the skin, the lungs, the muscles and the blood. They are also extremely nutritious and nourishing and contain essential minerals, nutrients, proteins, fats and electrolytes in the most absorbable form that your body can uptake and put to good use immediately. Let’s take a closer look into the amazing health benefits of bone broth:
Gelatin which is a key component of bone broth offers amazing health benefits and there has been extensive research undertaken on the benefits of gelatin when taken with food. First and foremost gelatin acts as a wonderful aid to digestion (your key foundation to optimal health) and has been used many times in the successful treatment in many of the gastrointestinal complaints we see today including, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, constipation, diarrhoea, colitis and chrons disease. Gelatin has also been found to play a key role in the treatment of many other chronic alignments including anaemia and other complications of the blood, diabetes and even cancer.
Cartilage which is also found in bone broth plays a key role in the treatment of bone disorders commonly known as osteopenia and osteoporosis which are both forms of osteoarthritis, and is also famous for its role in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Cartilage is deposited in varying places in the body including your nose, ears and joints and plays a key role in the maintenance of a healthy back and spine. It functions as a shock absorber to reduce friction and is a key player in keeping our joints running smoothly.
Collagen found in abundance in bone broth, is responsible for holding us together (and can be considered as the glue of the body) plays a major role in the health of our hair, skin and nails, and is what keeps us looking young and full of life (reduces premature aging) There are 3 key components of collagen which over the past few years have shown impressive results in the treatment and support of joint and skin tissues and in particular rheumatoid arthritis. These are Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Hyaluronic Acid. Yes you have probably heard of glucosamine before which is now an extremely popular supplement found in health food stores, but sadly this version is in synthetic form! Bone broth provides you with the true natural form! Once consumed, these nutrients go to the connective tissues of joints and other connective tissues of the body where they are needed and work their magic. Dr. Shanahan in her brilliant book Deep Nutrition stated:
Glycine and Proline are two amino acids found in abundance in bone broth and offer many important health benefits. Glycine is a simple amino acid required for the synthesis of other amino acids (building blocks of the body), a vital component in the formation of heme (oxygen carrying potential of the blood), is also involved in gluconeogenesis (the manufacture of glucose for energy), supports digestion by enhancing gastric acid secretion (HCL) and is essential for wound healing. If that is not enough glycine is also a precursor amino acid for glutathione (one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body) and also plays a key role in aiding the liver in detoxifying. Proline is an amino acid essential to the structure of collagen (mentioned above) and is therefore necessary for healthy bones, skin, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. An adequate amount of dietary protein is necessary to maintain an optimal level of proline in the body. It has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on memory and in the prevention of depression (another pretty key player!)
Making Your Own Bone Broth
When making your own bone broth at home, be sure to use the bones and other materials from grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, or pasture-raised chicken. This will ensure optimal nutritional value and less pro inflammatory fats. Making broth is extremely simple yet so rewarding!!!!
Nourishing Bone Broth Recipe
Collect bones from leftover roasts or pick up some stock bones from your local butcher or farmers market (bones with or without meat and skin are fine).
If you pick up bones from your butcher roast them on a tray prior to making your stock (this helps to prepare the bones).
Place bones into a stock pot (or large saucepan) and add water (filtered) to suit (I have a 5 litre pot which I fIll to just below top) a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (this helps to draw out the minerals from the bones), you can also add vegetables if desired.
Bring bones to the boil (I suggest starting by making a chicken broth), then simmer for as long as possible (10-12 hours or even 2-3 days). The longer you cook it, the more nutritious it gets as more nutrients are pulled from the bones (if you wish to switch it off overnight bring it to the boil again the next day before reducing to a simmer). Remember to check the water level and keep topped up as needed. Once finished drain stock and discard bones (bones should feel very soft and weak) Broth will keep for up to 5 days in fridge or can be frozen. Aim to drink 3-5 cups per week or add to stews, sauces, soups and gravies as desired.
Happiness and Health