If you follow anything at all related to health and wellness, chances are you’ve heard someone mention, or read a post about bone broth and why you should be drinking it. When made properly, it’s chalk filled with a bounty of nutrients that are great for your body, with the added bonus that it tastes great – at least, the one I make does. After our Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I always made a point to take advantage of the carcass and make a delicious turkey soup, but I was suprised to learn
a) there was a difference between bone broth and chicken/turkey or beef broth, and
b) bone broth is significantly better for you.
For the past year, I’ve been making my own bone broth – it’s such a tasty treat in the middle of the day and will satisfy the cravings you get mid-afternoon. It’s easy for me to drink becuase I love the taste, but I’ve not had much luck getting the rest of my crew on board just yet. To get around that, I use it secretly (please don’t tell them!)…in their smoothies, as the liquid when cooking in the instant pot, or even quinoa/rice. I don’t think we’ve been drinking it long enough to be able to say it’s keeping us healthier, or my skin is glowing because of it, but last year when my daughter was suffering from leaky gut syndrome, we had great success using it as a major component of healing it.
I am a believer!
I did some research and found bone broth to be an actual superpower for healing leaky gut. That wasn’t the only thing she had to do in order to heal the lining of her gut, but bone broth was both the easiest and had the most significant impact. She made a point to drink bone broth (organic) 4-5 times daily and even did a two-day bone broth fast (with a smoothie and some green/herbal tea added in). It’s not a quick fix, but after about two weeks, she started to feel better and found she was able to eat without instantly feeling unwell. Bone broth is still a staple in her diet, as she finds it a comforting drink and something that will settle her stomach anytime she’s feeling “off”. For my part, I was so excited (and surprised…I’m such a skeptic at some of these “fad-like” things) to have been able to help her so simply. And it’s the biggest reason I keep making and drinking it – even if it doesn’t solve all the problems people claim it will…it’s full of nutrients and is better than reaching for a chocolate bar in the afternoon!
Here are some of the reasons I drink bone broth:
- It helps heal Leaky Gut. This is the number one reason I keep making and drinking bone broth (well, besides that it tastes great). A healthy gut is paramount to a healthy body, as so many issues and diseases start in the gut. It will help limit and lower inflammation in the body. Bone broth is loaded with amino acids (glycine, glutamine, arginine, and proline) that help control inflammation and promote the growth of healthy probiotics. I like to think of it as “crack filler” for the intestinal lining, reparing the tiny holes that can form in the lining from food intolerances, chronic stress, or taking certain medications. I can’t stress enough the importance of a healthy gut for a healthy body, so I recommend to all of my clients to make bone broth a regular part of their diet.
- It can help strengthen your immune system. I can’t speak to this personally because, fortunately, we’re a healthy bunch. We don’t get sick often and I haven’t been sick since I’ve been drinking bone broth to test the theory. I do, however, believe this is another great reason to drink bone broth. People who consume bone broth regularly have reported to have contracted colds, or the flu less often. Because it supports gut health, it may be responsible for restoring natural immune system responses (poor gut health can cause autoimmune-like responses where antibodies attack healthy tissue). As someone with an autoimmune disease, I know first-hand how damaging this can be and therefore I am all for consuming something that is linked to reducing any kind of autoimmune response. Poultry broth has shown to also improve energy levels and sleeping – both of which likely have some effect on boosting the immune system.
- It can help with joint pain. Yet another awesome reason for me to drink it! To make bone broth, the broth simmers for 8-10 hours (unless you’re using the Instant Pot) and that simmering is what pulls gelain from the bones in the broth. This gelatin helps to supplement the natural collagen in our joints that can decline as we age, helping to keep our joints healthy – whether you suffer from arthritis or not. Again, there’s no guarantee that bone broth will make all your arthritic pain disappear, but in my opinion, it won’t make it worse, so why not give it a try?
- It provides a boost for skin, hair and even nails. Bone broth is is an excellent source of collagen and collagen is an essential protein that helps maintain and restore elasticity of the skin, potentially helping to minimize fine lines and wrinkles…and who couldn’t use a little help like that?! Collagen provides the same benefits to hair and again, as we age, we can all use any drug or process-free help we can get, right?
- It’s nutritious! Besides everything else, this might be the best reason to make bone broth a staple in your diet. Bone broth made from grass-fed, organic bones is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and K, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, as well as amino acids such as glycine and proline (important for collagen production and reducing oxidative stress, digestive health, and proper protein synthesis (among other things).
Ok! After touting the benefits of this tasty and nutritious treat, I have more great news…
…it’s SUPER easy to make on your own!
You can find it in health food stores and the organic section of some grocery stores, but I highly recommend making it yourself. It allows you to control what goes in it (and you can tweak it specifically to your own tastes) and it’s infinitely cheaper. If you do opt to buy it already made, be sure to buy grass-fed, organic and that it contains apple cider vinegar – it helps pull the collagen from the bone marrow of the bones.
I’ve tried a few recipes, but this one is my current favourite – perfect amount of salt and flavour for us. We tend to like our broth a bit salty, so I recommend only using half of the salt with your first batch and adjust accordingly to personal preference. I also add in a couple teaspoons of italian seasoning for added flavour. If making your own bone broth isn’t your jam, you can find pre-made products (liquid and dehydrated versions) from health food stores and the organic section of most grocery stores. Amazon also has a good selection – Kettle&Fire is one of the best. Keep in mind the pre-made products are more convenient, but that comes at a price – it’s significantly more expensive than making your own!
Although much of the evidence around the benefits of bone broth is anecdotal, my take on it is that anecdotal evidence is enough to warrant giving any real, non-processed, whole food a try. Bone broth has been used for healing for many generations – chances are it was a diet and healing staple for your grandparents and their grandparents. As far as I’m concerned, nothing is a guarantee – chemo treatments work for some patients, but not as well for others. Every person is different and bioindividuality makes the wellness game a bit of a crap shoot sometimes. But if something is made with healthy ingredients and offers essential nutrients, with significant potential health benefits (and I know exactly what’s in it becuase I make it myself), there’s no reason not to give it a try. It’s not gonna hurt!
Have you tried bone broth? If you make your own, what’s your favourite way to make it?