Bone broths are a staple food in many traditional diets. As with most traditional foods, bone broth is very nourishing, healing, easy to digest, and most of all, delicious.
Just as the name suggests, bone broth or stock is made from using the bones of various animals. This is a technique developed out of sustainable eating practices that involved utilizing all parts of an animal. In their raw state, bones, marrow, skin, feet, tendons and ligaments are not necessarily edible, at least not palatable. However, rendering these parts of the animal into a well-cooked stock not only produces a delicious liquid, but a nutritious one.
Through the process of slow cooking the bones and several tissues around the bone, various nutrients and healing compounds such as collagen, gelatin and various amino acids become bioavailable. Additionally, bone broth contains bioavailable minerals that the body can easily absorb including, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur. Bone broth is also rich in various other healing compounds like chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and MSM. These nutrients, along with others, are what give bone broth its wonderful health benefits.
Science-Backed Benefits of Bone Broth
1. Protects Joints: Bone broth is the number one natural source of gelatin and collagen, an important protein responsible for healthy joints and cartilage. As we age, collagen production and synthesis diminishes, resulting in joints and tissues that regenerate less. The highly absorbable collagen in bone broth is one easy way to help restore cartilage around the joints. Additionally, gelatin provides the body with the raw material needed to form and preserve the bones. This helps take the stress off the joints.
According to research, athletes who supplement with collagen regularly show noteworthy improvements in joint mobility and recovery from exercise stress.
2. Improved Digestive Function: Gelatin is also beneficial for improving the health of the digestive system. First, gelatin is a potent agent for reversing fibrotic tissue, which can form under severe bowel inflammation. It also assists with maintain a healthy microbiome, which reduces inflammation in the digestive tract. Additionally, bone broth helps to assist the production of HCL (hydrochloric acid), which is necessary for good digestive function. And these are just a few of the beneficial effects bone broth has on the GI tract, you could research this subject much further!
3. Promotes Healthy Skin: Another great benefit to bone broth is its beautifying properties. One of the fundamental ways bone broth improves the quality of the skin and hair is by its effects on the liver. As mentioned, gelatin in bone broth is anti-fibrotic. Fibrosis in the liver as a byproduct of inflammation can cause the skin and scalp to become fibrotic as well. By improving the health of the liver and bone broth’s anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects, the skin and scalp improve. Additionally, the collagen in bone broth assist in the formation of elastin, which is responsible for sustaining skin’s youthful texture and appearance. Regular consumption of collagen/gelatin from bone broth is associated with reduced appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dryness, inflammation and other signs of skin-aging.
4. Supports Immune System Function: It is postulated that 80% of the body’s immune system lies behind the gut wall. And as a tonic to the GI tract and entire digestive system, bone broth helps to support healthy immune function. Take leaky gut for example. When undigested food enters the bloodstream through a leaky gut wall, the immune system senses these foreign bodies and attacks them. The problem with this is that every time a person eats, the body sends off an immune response, causing chronic inflammation and immune hyperactivity. By restoring health and equilibrium to the gut, inflammation is regulated and so is the immune system.
5. Detoxification: Bone broth helps the body in the detoxification process by promoting digestion. Before the body goes through detoxification, it first goes through digestion, metabolism, assimilation and then lastly, detoxification. So the secret to healthy detoxification, is health digestion. Furthermore, bone broth contains proline, glycine and potassium. These all promote cellular detoxification of the liver; improving its ability to remove toxins and secret antioxidants. Additionally, bone broth supplies nutritional sulfur and glutathione, which are necessary for phase II detoxification. Healthy detoxification means less oxidative stress, which means less disease and more graceful aging.
6. Optimized Metabolism: In addition to detoxification abilities, the glutathione in bone broth helps with metabolism, a process with over 10,000 physiological functions. Some of the roles of the metabolism include regulating gene expressions, DNA and protein synthesis, cell proliferation and apoptosis, signal transduction, cytokine production, and immune function – all which bone broth can assist in by providing glutathione. Furthermore, the amino acids in bone broth are important for various aspects of the metabolism, including developing and repairing muscle tissue, regulating bone mineral density, and the synthesis and absorption of nutrients.
One particular important amino acid in bone broth; glycine, plays a huge role in the metabolism. It is necessary for the conversion of glucose into useable energy, which every organ in the body needs, especially hair follicles, various muscles and other mini-organs. So, it can be helpful for hair growth, muscle building, and decreased signs of aging by improving the body’s ability to utilize antioxidants. Then there is glutamine, another amino acid that’s important for a healthy metabolism. Glutamine helps energize the body by delivering nutrients and nitrogen into the cells. Lastly, arginine in bone broth can provide benefits by assisting in the breaking down of nitric oxide, which can be a source of metabolic stress in abundance. Arginine also improves circulation, which helps to carry nutrients to cells, which is necessary for muscle and tissue health and recovery.
How to Make Bone Broth
If you want to reap the benefits of bone broth, then you’ll need real home-made bone broth. For those who are not a fan of cooking, you can purchase some quality organic bone broths from various local markets or and even online; although we recommend making it fresh!
Bone broth does take time but it is very simple and easy to make, all you need is a few ingredients:
1 Place 1 lb. of grass-fed organic bones into a large pot and cover with filtered water.
2 Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the pot to help pull out alkaline minerals from from the bones.
3 Add onions, garlic, ginger and celery for flavor and more minerals.
4 Heat slowly and bring to a boil for 60 seconds and then reduce heat to simmer for 6-48 hours.
5 Once done, let the broth cool and strain into large glass mason jars and store in the fridge. A layer of fat will form on top once cold, you can discard this once you eat the broth, but not soon as it helps to keep the broth preserved.
If you want to try a next-level version of bone-broth, please refer to this blog on a bone broth with wild elk stew.