With the winter months just around the corner, and cold and flu season setting in early, we could all do with as much nutritional insurance as possible. If I told you that there was one thing you could eat that would boost your immune system, warm your belly AND support bone, joint and muscle health, support digestive health, help your skin glow AND be anti-ageing… would you believe me?
It won’t cost a fortune either…
Well, believe it! Bone broth is all of the above, and more.
This healing elixir has long been used as a “cure-all” in traditional cultures and thankfully is making a resurgence in our modern diet.
So why is broth so amazing?
Digestible Protein for Growth, Repair and Immune Function
Bone broth is a fantastic source of protein, which we know is needed for appropriate growth and repair, but did you know that protein is also supportive of your immune system? Protein-calorie malnutrition is well documented to have a negative effect on immune function. Not only will broth provide you with essential amino acids, but it is also known to be protein sparing. This is due to the high gelatin content, which helps you to better assimilate nutrients, increases satiety and by balancing the amino acid profile prevents the breakdown of endogenous proteins – like your own muscles!
Minerals and Electrolytes for General Support and Balance
While it is impossible to give an estimation of the exact quantity of various minerals found in your broth (this is largely impacted by where the bones are sourced from, how the animals were raised, etc.), we do know that broth, on the whole, is a great source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, potassium and sodium. These trace minerals are often lacking in a typical Western diet, resulting in widespread deficiencies, so including broth in your regime will assist in preventing this.
Glucosamine, Hyaluronic Acid & Chondroitin Sulphate for Joint Support and Repair
This group of glycosaminoglycans are found in high amounts in bone broth and are known to not only reduce the pain associated with joint, cartilage and tendon issues but actually to help repair the structural integrity as well. Furthermore, when consumed in the form of broth, they are easily digestible and well assimilated by the body.
Gelatin and Collagen for Healing and Structural Support
Not only will the gelatin and collagen help to further support your joints, muscles and tendons, but they are restorative for all connective tissue. This means you can expect improved quality of hair, skin and nails (and even a reduction in wrinkles and cellulite!), as well as soothing and healing of the delicate mucous membrane that is the digestive tract. There is a large body of emerging research that shows optimal digestion is key to improved health in every system of the body. Plus, the better your digestion is working, the more nutrients you will be able to absorb from the food that you eat.
Convinced? Why not try it out for yourself… The recipe below can be added to cooking, consumed as a tea (with some salt, pepper and herbs), or even added cold to smoothies (you won’t even taste it I promise!)
- 2 kilos of marrow/knuckle bones/whatever other bones you can get – these can be beef, chicken, fish, lamb etc. (grass fed is most important, and organic if you can)
- Approximately 4L water
- 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 carrots roughly chopped
- 3 celery stick, roughly chopped
- Herbs, salt, pepper (whole peppercorns) to flavour as desired (thyme, parsley, rosemary, bay leaf and oregano work well)
- Place any knuckle, marrow bones or calves feet in a very large pot with vinegar. Cover with water and let stand for 1 hour.
- OPTIONAL: Place any meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 180 degrees in the oven. When well browned, add to the pot along with the vegetables.
- Add additional water, if you need, to cover the bones, but be careful not to overfill – you don’t want it to boil over.
- Bring to a boil and spoon off any scum that rises to the surface.
- After you have skimmed, reduce heat to low and add the herbs/garlic and seasoning
- Simmer the stock for anywhere between 3-72 hours with the lid on.
- Strain the stock and remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon. Divide into glass jars/containers and allow to cool in the fridge.
- Will last in the fridge for approximately 1 week, or in the freezer for a few months
- Place all ingredients in the slow cooker. Set to low and leave for 8-72 hours
- Continue with steps 7 & 8 as above