By now, you’ve probably at least heard about the trendy hot beverage known as bone broth. Many health experts and fans of this near magical elixir have been singing its praises, but it’s actually been considered an excellent healer in numerous cultures for centuries.
Basically, the saying, “what’s old is new again,” has proven to be true – modern culture is catching up to what traditional cultures have known for years: bone broth is a versatile, rich source of nutrients, and it’s inexpensive too.
Learning all of this had me curious. I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my health – and, while following a gluten-free diet had significantly improved my struggles with IBS, I was still occasionally suffering, so why not find out if bone broth might help?
Reported Health Benefits of Bone Broth
Renowned doctor of natural medicine, Dr. Axe, ranked homemade bone broth as one of the top foods that helps the body heal from IBS, thanks to its proline and glycine that make up collagen and can aid in repairing intestinal permeability, which is the number one reason I wanted to try bone broth, but there are said to be a wealth of other benefits that can be derived from it too.
Resolving all sorts of digestive problems
Not only can bone broth benefit those with IBS, it’s said to help heal leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease, acid reflux and ulcerative colitis. That’s because bone broth is one of the richest natural sources of collagen, which is a type of protein necessary for forming the tissue that makes up the lining of the GI tract. It helps to protect and soothe the digestive tract lining. Studies have found that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients produce less collagen in their digestive system, and increasing collagen helps to strengthen and normalize mucous membranes that are in the GI lining, as well as to prevent undigested food particles and other compounds from leaking from the gut and into the bloodstream. The gelatin in bone broth contains the amino acids glutamine, proline, glycine and arginine which promote probiotic balance and growth while aiding in breaking down proteins, reducing symptoms of autoimmune disorders, leaky gut and a host of other digestive conditions.
Bone broth can help you look younger
Who doesn’t want to look younger? Unless you’re very young already, you can probably use a boost of youthfulness, and thanks to the high content of collagen in bone broth, it can help make your skin look younger, and improve the appearance of your hair and nails too. Collagen helps to form tissues in the skin that make it stronger and smoother. Scientific research has shown that a higher intake of collagen is linked to improved hydration and skin barrier functions, and a reduction in signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and sagging.
This is one benefit I could really use, so I was happy to learn that bone broth can improve sleep – I couldn’t wait to find out if it really works. Experts say it’s due to the amino acids in bone broth which act like inhibitory neurotransmitters for the production of chemicals and hormones that are important for sleep. Increasing glycine intake has been shown to help people who suffer from sleep problems get better rest as well as improve memory – that makes sense as when you’re well-rested, you can think clearer too.
Stronger bones and healthier joints
The phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium in the bones that are used to make bone broth, seeps out into the liquid to provide you with the essential building blocks for healthy bones. Bone broth also contains chondroitin sulfate, which has been shown to lower the risk of osteoarthritis. If you suffer from joint pain, you probably know that taking glucosamine supplements can help, but bone broth contains this important compound too, along with other nutrients that keep the joints healthy and pain-free.
A better mood
I don’t know about you, but with so many negative headlines in the world these days, a happy mood seems to be harder to come by, but according to neuroscientists, bone broth can help. That’s because your diet influences gut bacteria and gut bacteria influences the brain. Known as the microbiome, gut bacteria actually influences how the brain is wired from the start, including one’s mood, how they deal with stress, learning, and memory. When your gut microbiome is healthy, it sends signals to the brain to “be happy,” but when it’s not, it can send anxiety signals. That’s certainly another great reason for becoming part of the bone broth bandwagon!
Strengthening the immune system
The amino acids in bone broth, like arginine, glutamine, and cysteine, have been found to strengthen immunity in both humans and animals. Mark Sisson, the author of The Primal Blueprint, has called bone broth a “superfood” due to its high concentration of minerals and notes that it can boost the immune system. Dr. Axe has also explained that going on a bone broth fast can help as it can increase the healthy, beneficial bacteria in the gut which has been highly correlated with stronger immunity.
An energy boost
A boost of energy is something else most of us could use with our very busy schedules often leaving us drained by late afternoon. While there isn’t much in the way of scientific evidence just yet, as bone broth is a great source of electrolytes, like potassium, magnesium, and sodium which help to sustain energy and are important for muscle, nerve, digestive and cognitive function, it makes sense. And, many bone broth fans swear by the boost of energy they get when consuming it. Some even claim it works better than coffee, without the side effects. Health writer and as she calls herself, “a formerly wiped out, haggard mother-of-two,” Sarah Maber, told MailOnline, “I also want to shout about it as loudly and as often as possible. Ditch the sugar-loaded juices and jitter-inducing cappuccinos, and choose health-boosting, healing bone broth instead.”
All that was enough to convince me that bone broth is surely worth a try, but I needed to know one more thing.
How Hard Is Bone Broth to Make?
There was one last thing I needed to know before taking that first step. How hard is it to make?
Although I love to cook, I have a really busy schedule, and just don’t have much, if any, in the way of extra time. While the process is fairly easy, I discovered there was an even better way, at least for someone in my situation: Kettle & Fire produce an organic bone broth that matches anything I could make myself at home.
Kettle & Fire produces a delicious, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO bone broth that uses only the highest quality ingredients, many of which can be hard to find. The Kettle & Fire Chicken Broth is made with the highest quality organic chicken bones, organic vegetables, and herbs and is free of all hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients. It was slowly simmered for over 20 hours to ensure the maximum amount of nutrients and packaged while hot to ensure no germs are present. That means it never has to be frozen.
That solves that problem! I placed my order and it arrived in just a couple of days. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen. Was it all hype, or would I actually reap those benefits?
Using Bone Broth
There are lots of ways to start incorporating bone broth into your diet – I decided to do a fast, only drinking bone broth for the first two days, as Dr. Axe mentioned those with IBS can especially benefit from this. It’s also important to note that Dr. Axe says that “fasts are not for everyone” and come with some risk as they involve consuming little nutrients because of the significantly reduced calorie intake. But if you’re healthy, using bone broth for a fast is ideal due to its high level of important macronutrients, including amino acids; vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, collagen, and electrolytes.
I would follow the two-day fast consuming bone broth along with only whole, organic foods the next five. I kept a brief daily journal of the experience so that I could track the changes if any.
On a side note – I’d heard that many people experience flu-like symptoms while fasting with bone broth, so I was prepared to feel miserable for at least the first couple days. Fortunately, because I had already been following a relatively healthy, gluten-free diet that focused on unrefined, nutritious carbs like fruits, vegetables, and brown rice, I didn’t suffer as much as I expected.
My Bone Broth Diary
I started out the day with a serious lack of shut-eye after my dog woke me up at 3 a.m. and I was unable to get back to sleep. The toughest part was skipping my usual morning habit of heading straight to the coffee pot. Instead, I drank a cup of water with a squeeze of lemon, followed by a cup of the Kettle & Fire bone broth. While I was a bit groggy, the morning went well, I was able to focus on work and didn’t feel horribly hungry until around noon when I drank another cup of the bone broth. I had a gnawing hunger throughout much of the day, was a bit lightheaded, and by late afternoon was really fading. I drank LOTS of water, which meant constant trips to the bathroom too. Still, I was determined to see this through, drinking my last cup of broth around 6 p.m. I managed to fall asleep fairly easily after a long day, despite still experiencing hunger pangs.
Just one more day, I told myself. I downed the cup of lemon water followed by the bone broth and didn’t feel too bad. My mood was improving, and I wasn’t super groggy. I was hungry, but not horribly so, and, surprisingly, I felt quite a bit more energetic throughout the day. I fell into a deep sleep at bedtime, relishing the thought of finally eating solid foods the next day.
I started out the third day as usual with my glass of lemon water, but this time, I drank my bone broth along with a couple of scrambled free-range eggs, spinach, and turmeric. I have to admit, it felt wonderful to actually be eating food again. For lunch, I had some leafy greens with a small piece of grilled salmon, along with the broth, and for dinner, paired the broth with a hemp milk smoothie loaded with kale and organic frozen fruit. I had loads of energy, felt pretty fantastic and slept incredibly well today.
I was so optimistic on Day 3, but today, I was getting tired of the bone broth and was in need of a little extra motivation/inspiration. A conversation with a friend who’d started her own bone broth diet a few days before I had, did the trick. I managed to soldier on, following the same formula as Day 3, bone broth with each meal, which included organic veggies and protein. By the end, I was very happy I did, I felt amazing!
Last night I actually slept for 8 ½ hours. A near miracle for me – and, I woke up feeling very energetic and ready to start the day… without a cup of coffee! My mind was clear, no fog, and I got a lot done too.
I can’t believe I’ve managed to get this far eating so little, but I feel better than I have in a long time. I slept great again, was clear-headed and productive.
Goal accomplished! While it wasn’t always easy, the bone broth diet proved to be well-worth trying. I experienced no IBS symptoms whatsoever, slept better, and after the initial grumpiness and hunger, had more energy and felt incredible. I even had some thoughts about continuing, but following a diet so low in calories for too long can cause the metabolism to slow and make exercise difficult. Instead, I’ll continue drinking a cup of bone broth a day, while focusing on eating a diet of mainly whole, organic foods – enough to keep my metabolism revved up while providing fuel for workouts too.
Ready To Add Bone Broth To Your Diet?
As with anything, what works for one, might not work for another, but if you would like to see if bone broth could have a positive impact on your health, then you can purchase Kettle & Fire Bone Broth from their official website here.
You can choose between organic chicken (like I tried) or organic beef bone broth. Both are the highest quality bone broths you can buy – and they’ve also started stocking bone broth soups in recent months.
Take a look at their range of products here.