What’s the big deal about bone broth? I’ve been asking myself this question since reading Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions, 10 years ago. Recently, bone broth has gained an incredible amount of popularity, covered in the New York Times, along with news that Kobe Bryant was a fun! Is it the magic cure that people think it is? While the latest news has it as the newest trend, if we look back at our ancestor’s diets, as Dr. Weston A. Price did, we realize it’s actually an ancient tradition. In this article, let’s explore bone broth basics and its health advantages and find out, if it’s “all that?”
First, the basics: What the heck is the difference between bone broth, stock, soup, etc? Quite simply, bone broth is made with bones (typically roasted) and simmered for a long period of time (more than 24 hours). At the end of cooking, the minerals have leached into the soup, thus the numerous benefits. Check out TheKitchen for an explanation of the subtle differences.
The real question here– Why bone broth?
- The minerals in bone broth aids in building strong bones, helps prevent tooth decay, regulates kidney function, cell growth and water balance. Bone broth is an incredible source for providing macro minerals– sodium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur – which are the primary contributors to these benefits. The broken down “stuff” from the bones contains glucosamine and chondroitin, so no pricey pill popping – eat the real thing.
- The collagen supports strong hair, skin and nails. Bone broth contains collagen that is supportive to healthy hair, skin and nails – you can’t beat that. When you put it in the refrigerator, you will notice that it jiggles – but, this is the good stuff. Collagen can help heal the gut, reduce intestinal inflammation, allergy prevention and autoimmune disorders. The gelatin also supports digestive health, thus promoted in the GAPS diet.
- Amino acids in bone broth aids in digestion. Arginine, glycine and proline, support healthy detoxification and the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other chemicals in the body. Glycine helps with the secretion of gastric acids and aids in digestion. What’s so great about proline? Again, back to healthy skin.
- Bone broth helps heal colds: history has shown us this is true, but science supports it. The chicken stock stops neutrophil migration, which basically means that it wards off some of the side effects of colds and flus.
Is bone broth for weight loss?
Let me be clear here: bone broth is a nutrient dense food, but it is not a weight loss supplement. I suppose you could lose weight if you only drink bone broth (and some cleanses recommend that), but, if you add it to a regular diet, it is not the answer to your weight dilemma.
How should I drink bone broth?
My amazing holistic pediatricians have been recommending putting in sippy cups for years. Unfortunately, I didn’t do this, but when I gave it to our son, he drank it up. I added noodles to my daughter’s soup, and she absolutely loved it (it’s all about balance, remember?). My husband sipped it at his desk, and I found myself sipping it as a snack. Besides all of the advantages listed above, you’ll find the psychological benefits are pretty incredible as well.
How should I cook bone broth?
Without going into every single recipe, I will tell you that it’s quite simple. Get some organic chicken bones (or chicken), roast, add any vegetables you want and add water, salt, pepper and a bay leaf. Many swear by adding Apple Cider Vinegar, and this may help level off pH balance in stomach acid, so, the choice is yours. I prefer perpetual bone broth (slow cooking for several days), or simmer as long as you feel comfortable. The simmering actually releases some of the important compounds that people tout as “the cure” – including, but not limited to collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine.
My personal favorite recipes:
If the above benefits don’t convince you, take a look at some of my notes below specifically outlining the benefits and notes from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, book. Just remember, there’s no magic bullet food, but, a combination of nutrient dense, organic foods in the diet should contribute to an overall feeling of well-being.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Some say it helps pull even more minerals from the bones for bone broth. Also has quality amino acids and vitamins. It may help with insulin sensitivity.
Calcium: strong bones and teeth. One of the reasons bone broth is so popular in Paleo communities is we tend to avoid dairy products for the most part. Therefore, sipping some bone broth is a great source of usable calcium that can also help the nervous system, muscle growth and contraction. Remember, if you are simultaneously eating sugar, it will pull calcium from the bones. If you are eating wheat, the phytic acid pulls from the calcium absorption.
Magnesium: enzyme activity, calcium and potassium absorption, nerve transformation, bone formation and metabolism of carbohydrates and minerals. Helps with tooth decay.
Chloride: Helps correct acid-alkaline balance in the blood. It also helps with producing HCL (Hydrochloric Acid) that helps with protein digestion (and overall digestion).
Phosphorus: Bone growth, kidney function and cell growth. Again, helps with acid-alkaline balance for proper digestion.
Potassium: works hand-in-hand with sodium. Believe it or not, it helps with high blood pressure.
Sodium: water balance regulation, muscle contraction and expansion and also helps with adrenal glands. Meat broth is a good source of sodium.
Sulfur: aids in slowing down the aging process, part of several amino acids.