Bone Broth Benefits: EP Wellness and Functional Medicine Clinic
Bone Broth Benefits: Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue from just about any animal, including chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, lamb, bison, buffalo, and venison. It is a highly nutritious stock commonly used in soups, sauces, and gravies and recently as a health drink. Research has shown bone broth benefits, including increased immune system function and helping build up the body’s systems to overcome disorders like allergies, asthma, and arthritis. And the broth form allows the body to easily absorb minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur.
Bone Broth Benefits
Bone broth dates back to prehistoric times when inedible animal parts like bones, hooves, and knuckles were turned into broth. It is important to understand that most store-bought stocks and broths are not made of bone or animals. Companies, instead, use lab-produced meat flavors. Homemade bone broth is made by simmering bones, water, and vinegar for 10 -12 hours, extracting the collagen from the bones into the liquid. This creates a rich form of stock. Bones are often roasted before making the broth.
Making bone broth is very simple, and there are many recipes online. A large pot, water, bones, and vinegar are all that is necessary to get started, here’s an easy recipe:
- One gallon (4 liters) of water.
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) apple cider vinegar.
- Adding vinegar is important because it extracts valuable nutrients out of the bones and into the water.
- 2–4 pounds (around 1–2 kg) of animal bones.
- Salt and pepper, to taste.
- Vegetables, herbs, or spices can be added to create and enhance flavor.
- Garlic, onion, celery, carrot, parsley, and thyme can be added in step one.
- Place all ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12–24 hours.
- The longer it cooks, the better it tastes and provides more nutrition.
- Let the broth cool.
- Strain into a large container and discard the bones.
Because of the long cooking, large amounts of collagen are extracted, making the bone broth gelatinous at room temperature.
- Bone broth is a rich source of glutamine, an amino acid that improves digestion and gut health.
- It can be particularly beneficial for people with digestive conditions such as leaky gut syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Gelatin can also bind to water in the digestive tract, which helps foods move through the gut more easily.
- Bone broth can benefit individuals with the following:
- Leaky gut
- Irritable bowel syndrome – IBS.
- Inflammatory bowel disease/IBD like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Low Glycemic Index
- Homemade vegetarian or meat-based broths are very low glycemic, with no added sugar, low in calories, and a great way to hydrate the body.
- It can be a healthy snack between meals without an insulin spike that can lead to post-meal energy crashes.
Collagen Improves Hair, Skin, and Nail Health
- Bone broth contains collagen. Collagen is a protein in structural and connective tissues that includes skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- The fibrous structure contributes to strength, shape, and elasticity and can fortify hair, skin, and nails.
- Bone broth can be beneficial for pregnant women, as it can help preserve skin elasticity during pregnancy while the skin stretches and grows.
- The amino acids glycine and arginine have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Arginine may be especially beneficial for fighting chronic inflammation.
Protects Bones and Joints
- Bone broth contains calcium for maintaining strong bones and preventing bone loss as the body ages.
- Collagen also protects joints from age-related deterioration.
- It can help individuals with bone and joint conditions like osteoarthritis.
Instead of throwing leftover bones from meals in the garbage, save them. They can be collected in a bag and stored in the freezer until ready to roast and cook. Individuals who don’t buy and eat whole chickens and bone-in meat can ask for them at the local butcher or farmers market. The meat department at most grocery stores will often have them. They’re inexpensive, and a butcher may even offer them for free. It is recommended to find pastured chicken or grass-fed beef bones as these are the healthiest and provide maximum health benefits.
- Making broth in large batches is recommended, as it can only be stored safely in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To help the broth last longer, it can be frozen in small containers and heated up for individual servings as needed.
Koutroubakis, I E et al. “Serum laminin and collagen IV in inflammatory bowel disease.” Journal of clinical pathology vol. 56,11 (2003): 817-20. doi:10.1136/jcp.56.11.817
Mar-Solís, Laura M et al. “Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis.” Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania) vol. 57,11 1138. 20 Oct. 2021, doi:10.3390/medicina57111138
McCance, R A et al. “Bone, and vegetable broth.” Archives of disease in childhood vol. 9,52 (1934): 251-8. doi:10.1136/adc.9.52.251
Peterson, Orion J et al. “Neuroprotective Effect of Enriched Chicken Bone Broth as a Dietary Supplement in a Model of Migraine Mediated by Early Life Stress.” Journal of medicinal food vol. 23,12 (2020): 1259-1265. doi:10.1089/jmf.2019.0312
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