The Health Benefits of Bone Broth
1. It’s super nutritious
Bone broth is prepared by simmering bone and cartilage of poultry, beef, lamb, veal, fish, or pork for long periods of time, enough to extract such beneficial nutrients as collagen, several types of beneficial minerals and vitamins. Since the resulting substance is a fluid, it’s much easier for the body to digest and absorb all those nutrients compared to solid foods.
Bone broth is rich in many rare nutrients many people are deficient in or can’t get enough from their diets, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iodine, and healthy fats. The kinds of nutrients you’ll be able to get from the bone broth you prepare will depend on the ingredients, but all of them will contain collagen, a jelly-like substance that keeps our joints healthy and skin elastic and bouncy. Other nutrients include:
- Bone marrow contains many essential vitamins, such as vitamin A and K2, as well as iron, zinc, manganese, and selenium. It’s also rich in healthy fats, namely omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Bones are rich in essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Fishbones also contain iodine, a mineral that is necessary for the thyroid.
- Cartilage is rich in nutrients that support joint health, such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
There is no set quantity of bone broth recommended by nutrition experts, simply add it into as many foods as you can or drink at least 1 glass (237 ml) of it daily.
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2. Improves joint health
Several nutrients essential for joint health are present in bone broth, so it may be great for people with arthritis and other joint issues. Firstly, bone broth contains plenty of gelatin, the building block for collagen, which, in turn, is a key ingredient in connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, and even skin.
In addition, bone broth is rich in other compounds used to maintain the health of joints, namely proline, glycine, glucosamine, and chondroitin. The latter two have even been found to decrease joint pain, stiffness, and other symptoms in those suffering from osteoarthritis.
3. Promotes healthy digestion
Adding bone broth into your diet is especially beneficial for those suffering from digestive problems and conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), leaky gut syndrome, and others. This is because bone broth is rich in gelatin, an ingredient that helps food pass through your digestive tract more easily and was even found to repair the mucosal gut lining in animal model studies.
In addition, bone broth is rich in glutamine, an amino acid that is necessary for the intestinal wall to work properly and only absorb the good nutrients into the bloodstream. When the intestinal wall doesn’t function as it should, it starts absorbing unnecessary compounds into the blood, which leads to inflammation and a condition known as “leaky gut”. Therefore, drinking plenty of bone broth is great for those of you with digestive issues, particularly leaky gut syndrome.
4. Fights inflammation
Chronic inflammation is one of the major reasons why we develop degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and others. Likewise, it can also be the reason why our immune system is weak and the cause of joint and back problems. Therefore, reducing the overall level of inflammation in the body is the eternal goal, especially in older adults who are more likely to have underlying health conditions.
A healthy diet can help reduce the level of inflammation, and bone broth in particular is a great food to consider for that purpose. Bone broth contains the amino acids glycine and arginine, both of which have potent anti-inflammatory benefits.
5. Promotes healthy sleep and cognition
Drinking bone before going to bed may improve your sleep. This is because the broth is rich in glycine, an essential amino acid that has a relaxing property and helps promote sleep. Studies have shown that taking 3 grams of glycine in the evening helped participants with sleeping problems fall asleep faster and have a deeper and less interrupted sleep. This amino acid was also found to reduce daytime sleepiness, improve participants’ memory and other cognitive functions. Bone broth is suggested to offer these benefits as well.
6. Aids in weight loss
Bone broth may be a drink, but it’s actually quite filling while being quite low in calories. This is exactly why it’s so popular in the sphere of fitness and weight loss, as it helps curb food cravings and is super healthy in itself. Not only that, bone broth is actually quite high in protein and collagen as well so lots of people are drinking it to gain lean muscle mass.
Studies have also found that drinking bone broth decreased body weight and belly fat in participants, so it seems like a miracle drink for those who are on a weight-loss journey.
How to Prepare Bone Broth
Bone broth consists of just a few simple ingredients - water, bones, and vinegar. Any bones can be used to prepare a bone broth, including leftover bones from meals. Instead of discarding scraps like bones, skin, and cartilage when preparing a meal, put these ingredients in the fridge or freezer and reserve for the bone broth. If you don’t make bone-on chicken or steak that often, though, you can also ask for some bones at the butchers. It’s best to use a variety of bones.
Adding vinegar to the recipe is important as it helps extract all of the valuable nutrients from the bones. You can also add any veggies and herbs you enjoy into the mix - common ingredients include carrots, onions, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Most people don’t use a recipe when preparing bone broth since it’s so simple. That said, here is a suggested base recipe to give you an idea of the needed proportions:
- 4 liters (1 gal) water
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 1-2 kg (2-4 lbs) animal bones and scraps
- Salt, pepper, and other herbs or spices you enjoy to taste
1. Combine all the ingredients in a large stockpot or a slow cooker and bring them to a boil on medium to high heat.
2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 12–24 hours. The longer the cooking time, the better the taste and nutrient content.
3. Turn off the heat and let the broth cool. Strain out the solids and place the broth into a large container or several small jars or containers.
The resulting broth will stay fresh for 5 days, so we recommend freezing part of it you won’t be able to use it up within a few days. You can use the bone broth instead of water to prepare sauces, soups, gravy, and even rice, or just enjoy it separately as a drink.
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