Bone broth is one of the latest food trends taking the healthy eating world by storm. With bars popping up all over offering a plethora of warming flavored broths, this nutrient-dense beverage is starting to replace the morning caffeine fix among the health conscious.
So, what’s so great about this latest globe-sweeping trend? Despite a rather unappealing name, bone broth is a phenomenally nutrient-dense and healing food source. Rich in vital minerals, vitamins and amino acids, traditional cultures have long been touting the benefits of boiling bones as a miracle cure-all. As always, it is crucial to use the best source of bones available to you, ideally from organic pastured meats.
Some of the most popular and well-documented reasons for consuming broth are:
Boosting the immune system: Chicken soup has long been touted a healing remedy for colds and flu and with good reason. The consumption of bone broth helps to restore and support the healthy bacteria in the gut, which is critical to immune health.
Leaky gut: With the prevalence of food allergies and intolerance on the rise, many of us are looking to support and heal our guts from a lifetime of irritation. Bone broth is a rich source of glutamine, a soothing and healing compound used to repair and protect an inflamed and damaged gut.
Improved nutrient absorption: The bone broth is easy to digest and provides the body with an instant hit of readily absorbable essential vitamins and minerals.
For healthy skin, nails and hair: The collagen present in broth are essential in the development of healthy nails, strong hair and glowing skin. As a welcome bonus, it also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and unwanted wrinkles.
Detoxifies the liver: Bone broth is a rich source of glycine, the precursor to glutathione which is fundamental in assisting the liver to clear toxic waste, hormones and chemicals from the body.
A source of electrolytes: Broth is a great source of electrolytes fundamental for healthy muscle and nerve function. A rich source of magnesium, this also has a calming effect on the body and nervous system, encouraging restful sleep.
Fights inflammation: Providing a wealth of amino acids, bone broth fights inflammation throughout the entire body and has proven particularly beneficial in supporting an inflamed digestive system.
Supports healthy joints: Bone broth is an excellent and easily absorbable source of glucosamine, vital for the maintenance of healthy joints.
Improves mood: Alongside the calming magnesium, bone broth is able to support balanced mood by supporting the gut-brain connection. By contributing the healthy bacteria of the gut ecosystem, this, in turn, supports healthy brain function and balanced moods.
With such a phenomenal and far-reaching list of health benefits, it’s not hard to see why the broth craze has taken hold.
The bone broth itself can be used in a variety of different of ways so that you can ensure you are incorporating it into your diet on a daily basis. As well as drinking the warm broth on its own, these are some great ways to add a little extra nutrient density to your favorite meals:
- As a stock for soups and stews
- To add liquid to pasta or curry sauces
- As a base for homemade gravy
- For boiling vegetables
- For poaching chicken
As well as consuming broth in its liquid form, a good quality grass-fed gelatin powder can also provide you with the same benefits as drinking a broth. Gelatin powder can also be consumed in a variety of ways and is an especially good option for incorporating its healing qualities into children’s diets. Gelatin powder is perfect for:
- Adding to smoothies
- Making fruit gelatin
- Creating homemade gummy sweets
- Setting panna cotta
- Making marshmallows
- Using as an alternative to eggs in baking
The key to a good bone broth is ensuring the bones break down in the cooking process, releasing the gelatinous collagen from the ligaments that helps create a gelatin-like consistency when set. The best way to ensure this is by adding acidity to the bones when cooking. Most commonly, apple cider vinegar is used. This in its own right provides an additional host of phenomenal health benefits.
This recipe for herb-laden lemon broth, however, uses the juice of a lemon to not only create the acid needed to necessitate the formation of the broth but also provides a lovely zesty twist to the traditional broth.
A potent source of vitamin C, lemons are an excellent addition to this immune supporting broth.
- 1 medium pastured chicken carcass
- Water (preferably filtered)
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- A pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- Place the chicken carcass in a slow cooker and cover with water
- Add the garlic, lemon juice and herbs.
- Season with salt.
- Turn the heat to medium and leave overnight.
- In the morning, remove the carcass and herbs and pass the broth through a fine strainer.
- Serve warm as a drink or as the base of a zesty soup or curry.
For the ultimate anti-inflammatory healing broth, follow the recipe as above, replacing the herbs with a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger. Serve the broth steaming hot with a pinch of ground turmeric.
If drinking broth is not for you, there are still many ways in which you can benefit from its potent healing qualities. As the ideal base for soups and stews, broth cubes make the perfect ready-made stock.
To make your broth cubes, prepare the broth as above using lemon juice or 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Once the broth is ready, chop your favorite fresh herbs finely and scatter them into the molds of an ice cube tray. Fill the molds with broth and freeze until ready to use.
For recipes to decrease arthritis joint pain, check out Cooking for Joint Health, here!