The health benefits of bone broth have been widely acclaimed for ages. It is a staple of many traditional recipes from all different cultures. In fact, many chefs agree that the secret to a great soup is an ever-simmering stock pot filled with bones, water and vegetables! Here are the recipes I use for Chicken Bone Broth and Beef Bone Broth.
As we get back into healthy eating habits (starting with the GAPS diet), I find myself making a lot of bone broth – after all with five growing boys and their farm boy appetites, they can put the food away – think, 5 gallon stock pot simmering in the stove! So, I thought I would share with you bone broth benefits and why you too should include them in your diet.
In fact, after you read the numerous health benefits of bone broth, I think you will agree with me that they should be included as a regular part of everyone’s daily meal plan!
As you can probably guess by the name, bone broth is made from bones! If beef bones are used, they are typically roasted for about an hour or if chicken bones are used, they are just put in the stock pot. Once covered with water, a small amount of apple cider vinegar is added which makes the water slightly acidic – this helps leach the nutrients out of the bones.
The best bone broth is one that gels when cooled indicating a high gelatin content. The secret to good bone broth that gels is a slow cooking time for 24 hours or longer. This long cooking time allows the minerals and other nutrients (amino acids, gelatin…) to be removed from the bones. At the end of the cooking process, the bones actually crumble when pressed between your fingers. This is proof that the minerals have leached into your broth!
Sound like a lot of trouble?
Once you start, you will be surprised at how simple bone broth is to make!
15 Health Benefits of Bone Broth
1. It Heals and Seals the Gut
Turns out, chicken soup (or any other bone broth based soup) is good for more than just your soul! In fact, more and more is being published about the health benefits of bone broths – like this article recently published in the New York Times!
I first discovered the benefits of bone broth while on the GAPS diet. In the first stage of the introduction diet, it is one of the first foods eaten and continues to be consumed throughout the diet. To use Dr. Campbell-McBride’s words from the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book, bone broth is excellent for “healing and sealing” your gut.
Bone broth contains many nutrients and because it is easily digestible, those nutrients are readily available for your body’s use. Gelatin is one of those nutrients. You probably already know that gelatin supports your connective tissue and makes fingernails grow. But, it also plays an important role in digestive health. The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid – it attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices. It also protects and soothes the digestive tract (specifically the mucosal lining) and aids in its healing.
2. It Helps with Arthritis and Joint Pain
Bone broth contains glucosamine and chondroiton which are thought to help with arthritis and joint pain. You don’t have to buy expensive supplements, just add bone broth to your diet!
3. Is an Inexpensive Protein Source
Bone broth can be rich in gelatin which is a protein and since it is so economical to make, it is an inexpensive source of protein.
4. Is a Good Mineral Source
Bone broth contains minerals in a form that is easily accessible for your body’s use – these include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and trace minerals.
5. Contains Important Amino Acids
Bone broth is a good source of the amino acids arginine, glycine and proline. Glycine supports the body’s detoxification, supports digestion and the secretion of gastric juices. Proline supports skin health. Glycine promotes a healthy immune system, digestive tract and central nervous systems.
6. Is a Good Source of Healing Fats
Bone broth contains fats that are important in restoring gut health and thus help the body absorb more quickly the minerals that are found in bone broths.
7. Help Repair Gum Damage
Bone Broth increases oral health by the readily available glycosaminoglycans which are proteins that are abbreviated GAG. These include glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid which have been shown to support the connective tissue of the joints and the body. GAG’s have been shown to help repair gum damage caused by “bad” bacteria.
8. Fights inflammation
Because bone broth contains the amino acids glycine, proline, and arginine which have anti-inflammatory effects, it helps fight inflammation.
9. Helps Fight Degenerative Joint Disease
Bone broth may help fight degenerative joint disease thanks to the gelatin content which is known to support your connective tissue.
10. Helps Hair and Nails to Grow
Bone broth promotes hair and nail growth because of the gelatin found in the broth.
11. Helps Combat Allergies
Bone broth may help people overcome food allergies because of the collagen content.
12. Gives a More Youthful Appearance
Bone broth can help you look younger because of the collagen content. The “plumping” factor in many beauty products used to diminish the appearance of wrinkles is collagen – what better and more economical way to get it than through your real food intake!
13. Stimulates the Immune System
Bone broth supports a healthy immune system thanks to it high mineral content and the fact that these minerals are readily absorbable by the body.
14. Helps Build Healthy Bones
Bone broth supports healthy, stronger bones – The high concentration of calcium, phosphorous and magnesium that leach from the bones into the broths gives great building blocks for strong healthy bones. They encourage healthy bone formation, help bones grow and repair and is a great way to fight osteoporosis.
15. Helps Give You a Good Night’s Sleep
Bone broth promotes sleep and calmness because of the amino acid, glycine.
Given the health benefits of bone broths and the fact that they are so economical, it is no wonder that they have been used for ages and in all cultures!
Be sure to use good quality bones from grass fed animals if at all possible. The quality of the bones will affect the quality of the broth. Right now, I have bones in the freezer from butchering our own steer. I have purchased a variety of bones from a local grass fed meat company (you can find local sources here) and from my affiliate, US Wellness Meats who offer a wide range of quality grass fed animal products