6 ways to improve your health with bone broth

Flu and cold season is around the corner!  Zinc, vitamin C, elderberry extract are some of the natural supplements that can help fight off an illness, but there's a potentially less expensive - and more effective - option:

BONE BROTH!

Remember the saying "chicken soup cures the common cold"?  It turns out that the Mayo clinic performed research proving there is truth to this saying. However, further research has discovered that it is the bone broth that is the main ingredient in chicken soup that is responsible for its healing effects, and that it not only helps with upper respiratory illnesses, but also benefits our digestion, our joints, our skin/hair/nails, and is great for anyone with an autoimmune disease.  

How does bone broth benefit the body?

  • Improves skin/hair/nail health due to high amounts of COLLAGEN and amino acids
  • Aids digestion (L-GLUTAMINE, an amino acid, helps “heal and seal” a leaky gut)
  • Reduces inflammation by thinning mucus (due to the effects of CYSTEINE) - which is great for chronic allergies and asthma as well
  • Contains CALCIUM for bone/teeth health
  • Has natural sources of GLUCOSAMINE and CHONDROITIN, which are components of cartilage (these nutrients are often prescribed for joint pain associated with osteoarthritis)
  • High in ELECTROLYTES, which help with post-work out recovery and overall hydration

What is the difference between bone broth and meat stock?

  • Stock is cooked with meat (with or without some bones), for only 1-3 hours

  • Bone broth is cooked with mainly bones (in addition to an acidic substance such as apple cider vinegar or sea salt, which help extract nutrients from the bone marrow).  This is cooked over low heat for 24-72 hours (depending on the type of bones used)

Where do you find bone broth?

It's best to cook your own bone broth (less expensive, particularly if chicken bones are used, which can run around $5-10 per batch).  However, you can also purchase bone broth in select grocery stores (for example, EPIC brand is found in the refrigerator section at Whole Foods, or you can find frozen versions in the freezer).  Do NOT use broths that are at room temperature, often found on shelves with bone stock and other soups.  

Want to make your own?  Here's how:

  • Crock pot (these can be found for around $15 at Target or similar stores)
  • BONES from high quality, antibiotic-free meat (ideally, organic and pasture-raised as well, to decrease the chance of heavy metals and toxins) - enough to fill up 1/3 of the crock pot
    • Tip: Use the leftovers from a rotisserie chicken, or check your local health food store/butcher/farmers market for beef/bison/chicken bones - you can often find these in the frozen section, or ask for "chicken backs" which is the least expensive option
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, with or without 1/2 Tablespoon of sea salt
  • WATER to fill the pot (ideally, filtered water without chlorine or fluoride)
  • VEGETABLES  (for example, organic onion, garlic, carrots, celery, ginger, turmeric) and HERBS to season 

Place all ingredients in the crock pot, except your herbs.  If using chicken bones, let simmer 24-48 hours.  If beef/bison bones, let simmer 48-72 hours.  You may need to add more water as the broth simmers (keep the liquid level about an inch from the top edge).  Add in fresh herbs a few hours before removing from heat.  

Stir to redistribute the fatty layer (where a lot of the collagen and nutrients are located), strain out solid ingredients, transfer to a measuring cup to make it easier to pour, then pour into small 8 oz mason jars.  You can add pinches of different seasonings to each jar (e.g. salt, pepper, cayenne, dried herbs), depending on what your taste buds prefer.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (or you can freeze by first cooling in the refrigerator, then place the jars in the freezer WITHOUT lids to allow for liquid expansion - decreases the chance of jars breaking - and place the lids on the containers after the liquid freezes; thaw in the fridge before reheating).    

 

How do I take bone broth?

Drink 4 to 8 ounces daily for maintenance.

Increase your intake if you are sick (8 oz every 2-3 hours until symptoms resolve).  And it is safe to serve to children, but decrease dose to 4 oz every few hours.


For more information on this topic, and for other detailed recipes, click here or here.