“Bone broth is a powerhouse superfood that is known to help improve everything from digestion and immunity to cellulite and joint flexibility” - Dr Mark Hyman
Bone broth has been a popular addition to many diets lately. Most weeks I am asked What is it? How do you make it? Is it good for me? Why is it good for me? So – here are the details on Bone Broth!
I have heard bone broth called a super food - this is because it is a nutrient rich brew packed with minerals and lots of goodies in a form that your body can easily absorb! - collagen, rich source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, silica and sulphur plus minor trace minerals and essential amino acids such as glutamine, glycine, collagen and proline.
Bone broth protects the joints, is good for the gut, helps to maintain healthy skin and immune function, boosts detoxification and aids metabolism. It is recommended to support the treatment of leaky gut syndrome, food intolerances, to improve joint health and arthritic joint pain, for its anti-inflammatory properties and to boost the immune system.
When you think about a bone – hard on the outside – but soft on the inside - locked away inside in the marrow is an abundance of essential nutrients which provide anti-inflammatory and gut healing properties, a store house of protein and amino acids, minerals and healthy fats. So how do we get at all this goodness? – of course, we cook the bones. Although an animal’s bones, feet, ligaments and tendons have great nutritional value not many people want to eat them I am assuming! The bones of grain fed animals are best to avoid the hormone load of factory raised stock. Your butcher should be able to help you out here – ask them to cut the bones into smaller pieces, easier to fit in the pot!
While I am not going to get into the particulars of the specific ‘illnesses” it is used for, and there is much conflicting information out there, I am going to focus on what it is and what is in it so you can make a bit more of an informed decision.
The knowledge about the health giving properties of bone broth is a bit of a worldwide phenomenon and apparently there are bone broth bars in the United States where you can pop in and get your daily cup of bone broth! Bone broth has had its fair share of detractors as well – Paleo chef Pete Evans was vilified in the press recently for touting the benefits of bone broth. Those following a paleo or GAPS diet will be well versed in bone broth and its benefits.
Roasting and then simmering the bones in water or stock very slowly for a long period of time releases all the goodness. A crockpot or slow cooker is ideal for this purpose. Basically you cook it until the bones fall apart in the pot. You can drink the finished broth or you can use it in stews and cooking. Some people add vegetables and Braggs apple cider vinegar to increase the goodness. At the end of the cooking process you are going to end up with a protein rich stock full of collagen proline, glutamine, glycine, amino acids, minerals and gelatin.
The stock tends to be coloured depending on the bones you use, fish bones will be translucent, chicken bones stock turns a golden yellow and beef bones will be a deep brown stock. Of course adding vegetables will affect the colour – if you put beets or orange vegetables in that is going to change the stock colour. After cooling in the fridge the stock takes on a jelly like quality -this is how it is supposed to look. A layer of fat will usually form over the top and you can scrape that off if you choose. Aside from its healing properties it also makes an amazing base for soups and stews
“Stock/Bone Broth contains minerals in a form which the body can easily absorb – not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons – stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain” – Sally Fallon
So what do the components of bone broth do for you – this is by no means a comprehensive list – but the basics are :
The collagen in the bones breaks down during the cooking process and releases gelatin. Gelatin isn’t a complete protein as such, but it does contain some very essential amino acids like proline and glycine. Collagen/gelatin helps form healthy connective tissue. Gelatin/Collagen helps to improve hair and nail quality plus the gelatin in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid which means it attracts liquids - especially digestive juices and this helps with gut health.
Bone broth contains glycine which stimulates the production of stomach acid which, of course, affects digestion and helps treat acid reflux. It is also involved in the synthesis of glutathione and uric acid and helps in the process of detoxing.
The proteins in bone broth provide the raw material needed to make healthy bone and cartilage, and so can be of help in painful arthritic conditions, also due to its anti-inflammatory nature.
Glucosamine and chondroitin – the glycosaminoglycan’s found in bones have been shown to be helpful in reducing joint pain. Glucosamine is one of the more popular and well tolerate supplements taken these days, usually with chondroitin as well.
Arginine is an anti-inflammatory amino acid which helps to boost the immune system and is used by the body in processes such as detoxification, methylation, protein synthesis its involved in the production of collagen and elastin and stimulates the immune system by increasing natural killer cells (NK Cells)
Gut healing Glutamine – is an amino acid which is the “go to” product for gut healing and sealing as it helps maintain the function of the intestinal wall. Leaky gut is a condition where tiny microscopic holes in the gut lining allow molecules and proteins that should stay within the gut to cross into the blood stream, and cause havoc by starting a cascade of autoimmune reactions.
Perhaps you might like to give bone broth a try?