Throughout history, bone broth has been used as a dietary staple, as well as a healing food. Many families would typically have a pot of broth, or stock, simmering on the hearth to use for soups and other recipes. Traditional broths range from the Korean ‘seolleongtang’ to the Italian ‘brodo’, to the ’sopa de lima’ in the Yucatan. Today our grandmothers and great grandmothers would probably laugh to see that this food is now considered trendy.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is typically made with animal bones, such as chicken, beef and fish. The bones are often roasted first to improve the flavor, and then they are simmered with vegetables and spices for a long period of time (often 24-48 hours). This produces gelatin from collagen-rich joints, and also releases many important amino acids and minerals from the bones and the marrow. The bone broth can last a week or so in the refrigerator or it can be frozen indefinitely. Bone broth is a nutritious addition to anyone’s diet.
What are the Benefits of Bone Broth?
Cooks have known about the wonderful qualities of bone broths for centuries. They are extremely rich in protein and necessary minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and trace minerals. Present in bone broth is the amino acid glycine, which supports the body’s detoxification system and is used in the synthesis of both hemoglobin and bile salts. Glycine also supports digestion and the secretion of gastric acids. It helps to make glutathione, which is the body’s major antioxidant. Proline, another amino acid found in bone broth, supports good skin health especially when paired with vitamin C. It assists in the creation of glutamine, which is the preferred fuel for our intestinal cells. Being rich in gelatin, bone broth supports digestive health, which is why it plays a critical role in the GAPS Diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome).
Have you ever wondered why chicken soup is good for a cold? Well, there is now science behind it, and studies show that chicken broth helps mitigate the side effects of colds, flus and upper respiratory infections. The amino acid cysteine, present in chicken broth, can thin the mucus in your lungs, to help you heal more quickly.
Broths are excellent for ‘healing and sealing’ your gut, according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, the neurologist who developed the GAPS Protocol. Due to assaults on our intestinal system by pathogens, environmental toxins and the unhealthy Standard American Diet, many people suffer with ‘leaky gut’ syndrome. This is a condition where undigested food particles seep through the intestinal walls and are flagged by the immune system as invaders. The battle that follows can wreak havoc in the body, leading to inflammation and autoimmune conditions. Bone broth is a superb healing food for the intestines. It can also boost the immune system and help reduce food intolerances and allergies. In addition, bone broth is also naturally full of chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, which are sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain. Drinking broth often may help improve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
How to Use Bone Broth
Bone Broths are popular today, and they are a healthy addition to any diet. You can heat some up and enjoy a cup with your meal, or as a snack. Use them as a base for a variety of homemade soups and stews. They can also be added as a nutritious ingredient to vegetable dishes, sauces and curry recipes. Broths are very easy to make in your own kitchen. Make sure you find a source for good quality bones that are organic or from grass-fed animals. Cover the bones with water, add a little salt and pepper, or some apple cider vinegar to draw out all the healing nutrients. Simmer for 24 hours or more, strain and enjoy. If you don’t have time to make your own broth, look for quality versions in health food stores or better supermarkets. A wonderful small company here in New Jersey is Bam Bam Broth Co., which delivers delicious, fresh homemade broth right to your doorstep. They also sell portable broth ‘pods’ that can be reconstituted into a wonderful cup of broth. The broth is made using locally sourced grass-fed beef and pasture raised chickens.
Followers of the paleo diet enjoy bone broth, and it is an integral part of of the gut-healing GAPS Diet. Whether you are on a special diet or not, the addition of bone broths to your meals will give you a delicious, nutritional boost!