What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is made from the bones and connective tissues of various animals. It is very dense in nutrients, which makes it a great addition to sauces, soups, and drinks.
You can make bone broth from almost any type of animal, including the following: pork, turkey, beef, chicken, veal, and fish. All you need to do is simmer the bones and connective tissues, and the stock that you get will absorb all of the essential nutrients you need.
Benefits of Bone Broth
There are many benefits of incorporating bone broth into a balanced diet, including the fact that it is nutrient-rich, reduces inflammation, can help with weight loss, and improves sleep.
It Reduces Inflammation
The amino acids found in bone broth, including glycine and arginine, have strong anti-inflammatory effects
Arginine, in particular, may help fight the inflammation associated with obesity. One study shows higher levels of arginine in the blood are associated with decreased inflammation in obese women
While some inflammation is necessary, chronic inflammation may lead to a number of serious diseases. These include heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis and many types of cancer.
Benefits the Digestive System
Gut health is a popular term in the health community, but what does that mean?
It refers to having a balance of good bacteria in your digestive system and gastrointestinal tract. When this part of your body is healthy, you can comfortably eat digest food without feeling any discomfort - and your metabolism is regulated.
If your gut health is lacking, you may experience what's called a leaky gut. This occurs when the barrier between your bloodstream and your gut is impaired, leading to several chronic diseases and symptoms. A leaky gut can be caused by high levels of stress or factors like poor diet and lack of sleep.
For instance, you may experience symptoms like bloating, constipation, fatigue, food intolerance, IBS, brain fog, and more.
Not only is bone broth easy to digest, it may also aid in the digestion of other foods.
The gelatin found in bone broth naturally attracts and holds liquids. This is why properly prepared broth congeals in the fridge. Gelatin can also bind to water in your digestive tract, which helps foods move through your gut more easily.
An amino acid in gelatin called glutamine helps maintain the function of the intestinal wall, and has been known to prevent and heal a condition known as "leaky gut". Leaky gut, which is associated with several chronic diseases, is when the barrier between your gut and the bloodstream is impaired.
Support Joint Health
Collagen is the main protein found in bones, tendons and ligaments. During the cooking process, collagen from bones and connective tissue is broken down into another protein called gelatin. Gelatin contains important amino acids that support joint health.
It contains proline and glycine, which your body uses to build its own connective tissue. This includes tendons, which connect muscles to bones, and ligaments, which connect bones to each other.
Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which are natural compounds found in cartilage. Multiple studies have found that glucosamine and chondroitin can decrease joint pain and lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis
Helps with Weight Loss
Since bone broth contains gelatin, it can help us feel fuller even though it has relatively low calories. Similarly, its high protein content aids with appetite control and can help you increase your muscle mass.
The greater lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn, which leads us to believe that bone broth can help with weight loss.
Bone broth is typically very low in calories, but can still satisfy hunger. Studies have found that eating broth-based soup on a regular basis can increase fullness, reduce calorie intake and lead to weight loss over time
The amino acid glycine, found in bone broth, may help you relax. Multiple studies have found that glycine helps promote sleep.
One study found that taking 3 grams of glycine before bed significantly improved the quality of sleep in individuals who have difficulty sleeping. Taking glycine before bed helped participants fall asleep faster, maintain a deeper sleep and wake up fewer times throughout the night. This study also found that glycine reduced daytime sleepiness and improved mental function and memory. Therefore, drinking bone broth could have similar benefits.
Contains essential Vitamins and Minerals
In general, bone broth is very nutritious. However, the nutrient content does depend on the ingredients you use, as each brings something different to the table.
Animal bones are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other trace minerals — the same minerals needed to build and strengthen your own bones.
Fish bones also contain iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid function and metabolism.
Connective tissue gives you glucosamine and chondroitin, natural compounds found in cartilage that are known to support joint health.
Marrow provides vitamin A, vitamin K2, minerals like zinc, iron, boron, manganese and selenium, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
All of these animal parts also contain the protein collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked and yields several important amino acids.
As the ingredients simmer, their nutrients are released into the water in a form your body can easily absorb.
How to Use Bone Broth
Where to Get Bones
You can use bones from the previous night’s dinner, or get them from your local butcher. I personally keep leftover bones from meals in a bag in the freezer.
The best thing is that bones are cheap, and often even free. Many butchers are happy to give the animal scraps to you instead of throwing them away.
The meat department at most grocery stores will often have them too. Do your best to find pastured chicken or grass-fed beef bones, since these animals will be the healthiest and provide maximum health benefits to you.
How to Store It
While it's easiest to make broth in large batches, it can only be stored safely in the refrigerator for up to five days.
To help your broth last longer, you can freeze it in small containers and heat up individual servings as needed.
How Much to Use
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this. Many people recommend drinking 1 cup (237 ml) of bone broth daily for maximum health benefits.
How to Make Bone Broth
Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals.
This highly nutritious stock is commonly used in soups, sauces and gravies. It has also recently gained popularity as a health drink.
In order to make the most nutritious broth, it is best to use a variety of bones — marrow bones, oxtail, knuckles and feet. You can make bone broth using bones from just about any animal — pork, beef, veal, turkey, lamb, bison, buffalo, venison, chicken or fish.
Marrow and connective tissues like feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards or fins can be used.
All you really need is a large pot, water, vinegar and bones. Adding vinegar is important because it helps pull all of the valuable nutrients out of the bones and into the water, which is ultimately what you will be consuming.
You can also add vegetables, herbs or spices to your broth to enhance the flavor. Common additions include garlic, onion, celery, carrot, parsley and thyme. These can be added right away in step one.
- 1 gallon (4 liters) of water
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 2–4 pounds (about 1–2 kg) of animal bones
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parsley and thyme, to taste
- 1 large onion, diced
- Celery, chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, diced
- 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 will taste and more nutritious it will be.
- Allow the broth to cool. Strain it into a large container and discard the solids.
Commonly Asked Questions about Bone Broth
What are the advantages of bone broth?
- In addition to these benefits of bone broth, the gelatin it contains has an additional 9 bonus side-effects. Stronger, healthier nails. Anti-aging. Anti-tumor. Arthritis and joint-pain relief. Cell-protecting. Can alleviate diabetes and lower blood sugar; supports insulin regulation. Can improve sleep.
What is the best way to drink bone broth?
- Drinking plain bone broth by using a coffee mug for your broth provides a reasonable single-serving size. Drink the bone broth at least once per day in the morning in lieu of your regular cup of coffee.
When is the best time to drink bone broth?
- There is no overall consensus among experts on the specific time of day that’s best to drink bone broth, though most suggest consuming it at least daily to reap the health benefits.
What happens when you drink bone broth every day?
- If managing arthritis, drinking bone broth every day may ease your joint pain. Bone broth is suggested to contain glucosamine, a chemical found in the fluid around the joints. Fostering and nurturing its lubrication can reduce the risk of joint breakdown, lessening the likelihood of wear and tear.
Is there a difference between bone broth and bone stock?
- No. These are essentially the same thing, and the terms are used interchangeably.
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