It’s nothing new, Grandma’s have been making bone broth forever… so why the recent hype? Ama’s to Ya-ya’s around the world: Smile with validation that your lost knowledge may just be returning.
That wonderful liquid obtained from boiling bones in water; any bones from chicken, turkey, beef, fish…. is delicious on its own, makes a wonderful and nutritious base for soups and stews, and your holistic doctor may even recommend it to heal achy, arthritic joints and reduce inflammation in your lungs and digestive tract.
Beyond ‘Good for the Soul’: Bone Broth Superfood Nutrition
When you boil bones for a long period of time, the simmering releases healing nutrients. There are dozens of different nutrients found in bone broth, many of which can’t be obtained easily from other commonly eaten foods.
- Proteins like collagen / gelatin that help form connective tissues throughout our bodies but especially in our joints and digestive tract.
- Over 19 amino acids like proline, glycine and glutamine that you need as building blocks throughout the body. Protein is also an excellent source of energy.
- Minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others.
- Healthy fats that we need to absorb those various minerals.
- Special nutrients like chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain (although the scientific research on supplements, usually derived from shellfish shells and sometimes wheat or corn, shows very mixed or no results).
If the added nutrition is enough incentive, here’s our “mom’s healing bone broth” recipe at www.OurNutritionKitchen.com We recommend wild caught or truly pastured animals, fish… any bones will do. But please avoid the cheap commercial, grain-fed, hormone injected… toxic animals and their bones. Please.
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Grandma made chicken soup when we were sick
Our bodies have basically one simple response to “foreign invaders,” the “common cold” or, for that matter, the allergic response, chemical irritation, metal toxicity… the body sends fluids (a.k.a. the “runny nose”) and sends white blood cells to the scene of the crime to mop up anything infectious, the damaged cells, and the chemical toxicity.
Quickly sending in a strong cleaning crew reduces the chance that any real infection gets out of hand. This is good. This is the “I feel like I’m coming down with something” phase.
But, if it isn’t resolved quickly, these white blood cells (neutrophils) can have harmful effects as well. If the problem isn’t a microbe, hasn’t been destroyed, or something is over-stimulating the white blood cells (chronic inflammation), then the many enzymes and chemicals released can damage to healthy tissues causing an inflammation chain reaction.
Think about this: antibiotics only work on certain types of bacteria. Antibiotics do not help against viruses, yeast, parasites, chemical irritation, metal toxicity… but bone broth just might:
In what sounds like the most fun study yet, Gramma’s chicken soup was shown to have a number of substances with beneficial medicinal and anti-inflammatory effects. Specifically, these substances (and we don’t know what they are) slowed down the potentially damaging effect which could speed recovery.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers were kind enough to share Gramma’s recipe and even compared it to commercial versions, most of which turned out to be flavored and salted waters that didn’t work.
Bone broth is a wonderful way to detoxify
While the body does what it can to eliminate the some 70,000 human-made toxic chemicals in wide use today, there are ways to speed things up. This is wise given that some chemicals have been banned but still remain in us (DDT, PCBs…)
The body has a hard time keeping up when flooded with an overwhelming amount of chemicals. Bone broth can help detoxification a number of ways:
- Bone broth contains potassium and glycine, which support both cellular and liver detoxification.
- Bone broth supplies sulfur (especially when you add veggies, garlic and herbs to your broth) and
- Bone broth is an amazing source of glutathione: a phase II detoxification agent that mops up damaging free radicals and protects the health of all your cells, especially your liver. Glutathione helps you eliminate fat-soluble toxic chemicals as well as heavy metals like mercury and lead.
- The minerals in bone broth are the minerals your body needs. Sometimes people accumulate toxic metals to mineral receptor sites because they lack the bonafide real minerals. Bone broth can help swap them out.
- And… bone broth is certainly hydrating; it is important to get enough fluids if you are trying to flush out toxic waste.
Build healthy joints – get some pain relief
Glucosamine is produced naturally in the body and plays a key role in building cartilage, the tough connective tissue that cushions your joints, made also from collagen. Glucosamine and collagen used for growth and repair of soft tissues all over the body; especially your gastrointestinal tract where it makes up the basic structure of the mucosa.
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Slow-cooking bone broth extracts the collagen and glucosamine from those knuckle bones, joint bones, chicken feet or backs, or whatever bone you use. The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin—one of the first functional foods used as a medical treatment in ancient China.
And while this might just be an urban legend started by my very own Gramma, she drank bone broth to reduce cellulite and keep her skin and nails strong and wrinkle free. Cellulite may come from a lack of connective tissue; smooth skin is high in connective tissue. Although we’ve not found any scientific evidence to back this up; it sounds good.
Free Food: Don’t throw out those bones
Again, please use wild caught or pastured animals; those grain-fed commercial animals may have the same amount of protein but they lack the antioxidant vitamins A & E as well as having far less energy-creating B vitamins. Plus, the type of fat is shifted from the anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fats in grass-fed to inflammatory hormone precursor fats in grain fed.
Freeze leftover bones until you have enough. You can use roasted or raw. Just place in a stock pot or slow cooker and cover with plenty of water, add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar and simmer for at least 12 hours (24 hours is great, 48 hours… the slow cooker). Longer cooking makes it even more nutritious. Drink your finished hot broth as is, season it up with your favorite herbs and spices, or use it to make a pot of soup or stew. Blend the veggies in our recipe into the broth to make a much thicker stock, or not. And you can store it in the fridge for about 4 days or in the freezer for up to a year.
Rennard BO et al. Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro CHEST 2000; 118:1150–1157
Marí M, Morales A, Colell A, García-Ruiz C, Fernández-Checa JC. Mitochondrial Glutathione, a Key Survival Antioxidant. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2009;11(11):2685-2700. doi:10.1089/ars.2009.2695.