Bone broth has recently risen to fame as a trendy health beverage, but what you may not know is that it dates back to prehistoric times. Back when it was unthinkable to throw away any part of an animal, hunter-gatherers mastered the art of making otherwise unusable animal parts like knuckles, hooves and bones into what we know today as bone broth. Bone broth has been a dietary staple for centuries, and has been recognized for it’s medicinal and healing properties across cultures.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is exactly what it sounds like: broth made from bones. It differs from regular broth (what’s used in most soups) in that regular broth is typically made using mostly meat and cooked for 1-2 hours. Bone broth on the other hand is made using mostly bones and is cooked for 24 to 72 hours. This allows for all of the nutritious minerals, gelatin and other materials to be released from the bones, providing a whole slew of health benefits and healing properties.
Why should you drink it?
Bone broth is one of the most nutritious and healing foods there is. The minerals found in bone broth are in a form our bodies can easily absorb. Calcium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur name just a few minerals that come highly concentrated in bone broth. These minerals have been proven to help improve immune function, fight infection, strengthen bones, and relieve symptoms of auto-immune disorders. Bone broth also contains broken down material from cartilage and tendons like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate- both of which are known to help protect joints, reduce pain and fight inflammation. Gelatin is also extracted from the bones, which promotes healthy digestion and has been proven to help heal and protect against leaky gut syndrome, constipation and diarrhea. Bone broth is also loaded with amino acids, making it high in protein. This along with the gelatin and collagen promotes healthy skin, hair and nails. Basically speaking, bone broth is liquid magic.
How can you make it?
Although it may sound intimidating, making bone broth is incredibly simple (not to mention economical). Instead of throwing leftover bones and carcasses into the garbage, throw them into a crock pot instead. (It’s especially beneficial to include knuckles, necks or other cartilaginous parts.) Add whatever vegetables and herbs you have laying around and fill the crock pot with water. Cook on low for 24 to 72 hours and voila! You have bone broth. If you’re not someone who regularly buys bone-in meat, you can usually get bones from a local butcher. Bones can also be frozen until you collect enough for a batch of broth. The broth itself can be frozen, too, and thawed for later use.
Where can you buy it?
Making bone broth at home is the most cost-effective way to enjoy its health benefits, but if you aren’t up for making your own, there are several companies that sell it. Bare Bones Broth, for example, sells bone broth made using bones from pasture raised chickens and grass-fed cows online. You can also stop at your local Whole Foods and pick up a container of Pacific bone broth (pictured below). You can cook with bone broth or sip it from a mug. Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, it’s definitely worth adding to your diet.
Take Away Message: Bone broth is one of the most nutritious and healing foods there is. Make it yourself or buy it from a store, add it to a recipe or sip it from a mug. Whatever you do, just eat it. Your body will thank you!