Bone broth has a long history dating back to prehistoric times, when the hunters could afford to waste nothing, absolutely nothing, from a good catch. It’s not hard to imagine that, after the game, fish, or fowl were roasted over the open fire and stripped of most of the flesh, they went into the making of a wholesome broth, along with the heads, tails, claws, and hooves. Even if it were more out of necessity than anything else, the highly nutritious broth did help satisfy more than hunger.
The renewed interest in broth is heartening because it is an excellent nourishment for body and mind. Not surprisingly, diverse cultures from across the world have had their own versions of bone broth, be it the clear Bouillon of the French and the fish broth Garudhiya of Maldives or the thicker and creamier ox bone broth of the Koreans and the Japanese tonkotsu made from pork bones.
Strictly speaking, broth is any liquid in which meat or fish is cooked, while the liquid obtained from the prolonged cooking of bones is called stock in culinary language. However, this distinction was rather hazy in home cooking. Old cookbooks stand testimony to this. A bone broth was ideally made from large, meaty bones with joints having bits of flesh and cartilage. It was enjoyed on its own as a light drink and as a base for many curries.
Our grandmothers were clearly onto something when they insisted on serving broth for supper. The bones and cartilages, when boiled for several hours release a number of minerals, amino acids, and structural proteins like collagen. A steady supply of these nutrients can keep our body healthy and help ward off disease conditions. While it can take up to 48 hours and a ready supply of organic, high quality bones to make bone broth, you can purchase a ready-made, as-good-as-homemade bone broth from Kettle & Fire here.
Here are a few of the health benefits of bone broth that may prompt you to try it yourself and enjoy the goodness.
1. Makes your bones strong
What food could be better for bone health than bone broth containing the breakdown products of bones and cartilages? When we think of bone health, we think calcium and phosphorous are the most important components of bones, but the structural protein collagen is just as important. It forms the main scaffold of the bone and gives it tensile strength and flexibility.
More often than not, deterioration of bone is a result of collagen deficiency rather than mineral deficiency. Aging, disease conditions, and metabolic disorders like insulin resistance and diabetes adversely affect collagen production by the body, resulting in weak and brittle bones. Natural collagen in the bone broth can counteract collagen deficiency and keep your bones pliant and resistant to breakages.
2. Keeps your joints healthy
People with osteoarthritis report significant relief from symptoms on switching from coffee and tea to bone broth. On the other hand, coffee and alcohol are known to exacerbate the swelling and stiffness in the joints as they increase inflammation. Caffeine in beverages is particularly troublesome because it blocks adenosine receptors, tampering with the inflammation-regulating processes of the body. Caffeine in beverages is particularly troublesome because it blocks adenosine receptors, tampering with the inflammation-regulating processes of the body.
Osteoarthritis is clinically treated with supplements of chondroitin sulfate and gelatin, but these same substances are aplenty in bone broth. Moreover, many of the commercially available supplements are substandard; hence making your own bone broth is the best way to ensure a regular supply of these substances to relieve arthritis symptoms.
3. Helps in repair and regeneration of tissues
As mentioned before, collagen is a structural protein. In fact, it is the most common one, constituting more than 25 to 35% of the total protein content of the body. It is present not only in bone and cartilage, but in the skin and blood vessels and in every organ in the body.
All these body cells and tissues require constant repair and renewal through cell division. That makes the requirement for collagen quite high. Although the collagen in the bone and cartilage break down during the cooking portion, the resultant gelatin has all the substances required for the formation of new collagen. Bone broth has been found to accelerate wound healing and resolution of internal injuries because it is an excellent source of collagen constituents.
4. Counteracts mineral deficiencies
Bone broth is a storehouse of minerals because the bone gets demineralized during the cooking process. It is accelerated by the small amount of wine or vinegar used during the cooking. Bone broth is particularly rich in calcium and phosphorus, the main components of bones.
There are other food items, milk and other dairy products including, that may contain more calcium than bone broth. However, the bioavailability of the minerals is higher in the case of bone broth because they come directly from the bones. They are in the form that body can absorb more easily.
Magnesium and potassium are two other important minerals you can get from chicken and beef bone broth, while fish broth may provide the additional benefit of iodine.
5. Improves immunity
Bone broth is traditionally given to children and the elderly to build up stamina and increase their resistance to infectious diseases. It is an excellent tonic to keep you in good health during the flu season. You can add immunity-enhancing herbs like ginger, turmeric and astragalus to the bone broth to make it even better.
6. Reduces inflammation
Inflammation is our body’s natural response to injury, but chronic inflammation can result in many disease conditions, including diabetes and arthritis. Bone broth can bring down inflammation since it has many anti-inflammatory amino acids. Among them, arginine deserves special mention because it is clinically used for treating widespread inflammation.
7. Works as a digestive aid
Broth has been used as the main food while one recuperated from prolonged illnesses. It is easy on the digestive system because the long cooking process has already broken down complex protein and fat molecules into their simpler components. The gelatin in the broth promotes collagen formation and the rapid healing of damaged intestinal wall. It is especially useful for people suffering from gastrointestinal ulcers and Crohn’s disease.
Broth restores appetite and increases the absorption of nutrients, thanks to glycine, an amino acid that is a constituent of many types of proteins. It is, in fact, used in certain drugs to enhance their absorption.
8. Relieves autoimmune diseases
Leaky gut syndrome is considered one of the main culprits of autoimmune diseases. They are initiated when the intestinal wall is damaged and food particles pass through it into the bloodstream. Body counts these foreign bodies as toxins and responds by unleashing an immune attack which is misdirected towards our own cells.
An amino acid called glutamine in bone broth has a remedial action on damaged intestinal wall, preventing the entry of food toxins into the bloodstream. There have been many cases where autoimmune conditions have been reversed by taking bone broth regularly.
9. Bone broth has a calming effect
The hormone osteocalcin can reduce anxiety and improve mood. A similar effect comes from glycine too. As a matter of fact, it is the smallest amino acid, and commonly occurs as a breakdown product of proteins. Not surprisingly, it is abundant in bone broth, making it an excellent comfort food to turn to when you’re feeling the blues.
10. Increases male fertility
Osteocalcin is a hormone produced in bone cells. It has regulatory effect on the endocrine system which includes enhancing the function of pancreas as well as testes. It increases the secretion of insulin and the male hormone testosterone. Making bone broth a regular habit may help male fertility and virility.
11. Regulates hormonal imbalances in women
Bone broth is good for female reproductive health too, but gelatin plays a major role here. It is known to have a balancing effect on estrogen, down regulating its production whenever necessary. Uterine contractions are regulated by magnesium and calcium, and they prevent painful menstrual cramping.
Read More: 10 Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally
12. Helps improve sleep
There has been enough anecdotal evidence to show that drinking a cup of bone broth guarantees restful sleep. Now it is backed by solid science. It is the high glycine content of the bone broth that makes it an excellent sleep aid. Research on the effect of glycine supplementation has shown that taking a dose of 3 grams can improve the quality of sleep. The amino acid diffuses into the brain and reduces core body temperature and inhibits muscle activity, thus facilitating sleep.
If uncontrollable thoughts are keeping you from falling asleep, a therapeutic dose of glycine placed under the tongue can help. If you have been sleep deprived, it can keep you from feeling tired the following morning.
Glycine has been found to increase serotonin levels without affecting dopamine levels. This selective action on the neurotransmitters can help regulate the circadian rhythm.
13. Source of quality protein
Bone broth is an excellent source of quality protein that the body can utilize directly. It is particularly beneficial to people who have higher protein requirement. That includes athletes and bodybuilders, pregnant women and lactating mothers, and those who are recuperating from debilitating diseases and serious injuries. Besides being rich in minerals, it contains many of the essential and nonessential amino acids that the body requires for rapid building and repair of bone and muscle mass.
14. Protects from anemia
Not having enough red blood cells or hemoglobin reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. The resulting anemia affects more than a quarter of the world’s population. Young children are at greater risk, with nearly half of the schoolchildren in developing countries being anemic.
Iron supplements are usually prescribed to treat this condition, but problems with absorption of iron from the gut often make it less effective.
Wholesome foods rich in iron and other minerals are best for combating anemia. Since bone marrow is where the blood cells are formed, bone broth contains all the substances required for the making of red blood cells.
15. Protects against muscle cramps
Leg cramps are a common complaint of sports persons, but it is not rare among others. Some people experience these painful muscle spasms during and after strenuous activities like swimming and running, while others get it during rest at night. Of the many causes of muscle cramps, depletion of minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium is the most prevalent.
Being rich in these minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, bone broth is an excellent sports drink to replenish the electrolytes lost through perspiration. Drinking a cupful before and after a workout and before bedtime can protect you from painful cramps.
16. For Hair, Skin and Nail health
If your skin and hair looks dull and the nails are brittle, you could be lacking in keratin, which is a structural protein similar to collagen found in the skin and bone. Amino acid-rich bone broth can provide the building blocks of keratin and strengthen the nails and hair.
Natural gelatin has always been used externally as a hair conditioner and to thicken the nail, but it can probably do a lot more, if taken internally.
17. Anti-aging food supplement
The Chinese have always valued bone broth as an anti-aging tonic. Now it turns out that they have been right all along. Again, the amino acid glycine is suspected to be responsible for the anti-aging effect. In laboratory studies, it has been shown to have the potential to reverse certain age-related defects in the connective tissue cells called fibroblasts.
How To Make Bone Broth:
When buying meat was a regular affair with your local butcher, you could get the choicest bones for making the bone broth. Even today, it is best to source the bones locally from organic farms. Try to get larger bones such as thigh and calf bones with plenty of marrow. Get the butcher to break them into smaller pieces. But some joints with lots of cartilaginous tissue too. Neck and tail pieces are great, so are feet and giblets.
Broth is basically made by boiling the above in plenty of water. You should add an acidifying agent like wine or vinegar to the water to help extract maximum minerals from the bones. Include some vegetables and herbs to improve flavor.
Here’s a simple recipe for a flavorful broth:
- 2 lb bones from organic, grass-fed oxen/buffalo/cow
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 bunch parsley chopped
Roast the bones on a large tray for half an hour. Sprinkle vinegar on the roasted bones and set aside for another half hour. Transfer the bones into a crock-pot and add all the other ingredients. Pour 1 gallon of water into the pot and keep it on high heat until water boils. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer at the lowest setting. Skim away any foam that forms on the surface. Continue to cook the broth for 2 days, adding more water if necessary. Strain the liquid and adjust seasonings according to taste. Store the broth in glass jars.
The broth will congeal due to the high gelatin content. There’s no need to skim off the fat that solidifies on top. It is part of the goodness of bone broth. Reheat the required quantity for a satisfying drink. Use it in place of other beverages. Either start your day with a cup of hot broth or make it a habit before bed. You can use it to make soups and gravies too.
The Best Bone Broth You Can Buy
If you’d like to experience the wonderful benefits of bone broth but don’t have time to make it yourself, then you should try Kettle & Fire Bone Broth.
They are lovingly regarded as the best suppliers of high quality, organic, grass fed bone broth. Their bone broths are never frozen, absolutely packed with gelatin, collagen and protein and can last up to two years – despite having no additives or preservatives.
They offer both Organic Chicken and Organic Grass-Fed Beef Broth and have a huge number of five star reviews from real life customers.
Ready to try Kettle & Fire Bone Broth? Visit their official website here and browse their products.