The Many Wonders of Bone Broth

By Kristin Lehar –

Bone broth is one of those foods that has been around since before civilization and has been a staple food for many cultures around the planet. Like many traditional foods, it got lost somewhere in history when it was booted out by refined and imitation versions. Thus, it has long been a greatly undervalued and unappealing food. But bone broth is slowly but surely making a come back and rightly so because unlike its imitation counter part, true bone broth is loaded with minerals and amino acids that people pay a lot of money for in supplement form and along with them, incredible healing potential.

Bone broth soup. Photo:  www.123rf.com/profile_photosiber’

The richest sources of nutrients and what makes bone broth so healing is the minerals we get from the bones, cartilage, tendons, and marrow that is usually discarded with modern meat processing techniques. Bone broth is made simply by simmering these components in water on low heat for several hours with a bit of acid such as vinegar, which helps to extract minerals from the bones into the broth.

There are so many reasons you should start drinking and cooking with bone broth, most simply to gain status of an excellent cook because it is the secret to legendary gravies, soups, stews, and sauces—delicious and nutritious. Properly cooked bone broth will contain gelatin, which results from the slow cooking of collagen. Collagen makes up our connective tissue, so consuming it in an easily absorbed form provides the body with the necessary building blocks to keep our skin, hair, and nails strong and beautiful and slow the aging process and degeneration of these tissues just as the pricey collagen supplements claim. Collagen is vital to the maintenance of strong bones and preventing bone diseases in addition to the calcium and magnesium (and other trace minerals) bone broth provides. It also enhances the hormone responsible for depositing calcium from our diet into our bones as opposed to into our soft tissue where we do not want it to build up.

What makes bone broth as a source of calcium and other minerals unique is the bioavailability of the nutrients—that is, how easily they are absorbed and assimilated into the proper bodily tissues. Bone broth’s plentiful nutrients are in a form that is easily absorbed by the body, which is not the case for many calcium supplements where one may only absorb a fraction of the calcium they intake.

Drink it to reduce joint pain and inflammation; chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and proteoglycans are among the many compounds that are drawn from the boiled down cartilage and contribute to proper joint lubrication and cartilage formation, and prevent connective tissue break down by certain enzymes. Bone broth does wonders for our gastrointestinal tract. It is a hydrophilic colloid, which means it attracts liquids. In the case of digestion this is very powerful as it is attracted to our digestive enzymes and juices, which is part of the reason so much nutrition can be extracted from the broth. It has been used to heal a compromised gut, which can lead to all sorts of conditions and diseases that extend beyond the intestinal tract. As if that weren’t enough, bone broth is a great infection inhibitor and is excellent for speeding the healing process during and after a cold or flu.

This liquid is nothing short of a miracle and best of all, it is so incredibly inexpensive and easy to make, all it requires is a tad bit of planning.

Below I share with you the basic procedure for making a bone broth:

First you will have to seek out a source of good quality meats—beef should always be grass fed as the nutritional content of a grain-fed cow is significantly poorer. Chickens are ideally free range and organic. We are lucky to be surrounded by many excellent sources of these meats. Fish may also be used—all parts. Be sure to obtain as much of the good stuff as possible, that is an entire carcass of a bird, and joints of the larger animals. Broth made from chicken feet is an excellent source of gelatin and is therefore more potent, although if you are just starting out, I’d skip the chicken feet as it can understandably be somewhat off-putting. For a single chicken carcass, I find a five-quart pot to be perfect. If you have more than one chicken carcass or several beef bones, a bigger pot will be needed. Now put your bones into your pot, add water, salt, and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to the lowest, cover, and let it work its magic. Chicken broth requires less time than beef as do smaller batches. The longer you leave it to simmer, the more minerals you can extract. When I make beef broth in an 11-quart pot I leave it to simmer for a minimum of 24 hours. Store in the freezer in small and large batches and use it for all recipes that call for broth.

To help stay clear of the flu this winter:

Take a thermos full of hot broth with you to work as often as you can. Grate a fresh clove of garlic and put it into your thermos along with ground black pepper and a teaspoon of turmeric. Warm your broth, add it into the thermos, and voila! The garlic that was raw will slowly warm in the hot soup and will eventually cook so don’t worry about eating raw garlic, though that certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Kristin is a holistic nutritionist whose main goal is to live a simple and awesome life. She loves to inspire others to realize the power of the body and its amazing capabilities to restore and maintain health, and to realize we each have the power to bring our bodies back into well-being. Having love for and being connected to the language of the body is the first step on the path to a thriving life and planet.

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