Bone broth is great for our joints, immune system, skin, gut, brain and overall health.
I was introduced to bone broth during my first year of medical school, back in the days when you could go to the butcher and get bones for free - they were essentially given away as dog bones. Then the world discovered this age old tradition of extracting goodness from bones to treat various ailments and bone broth became a huge health craze. There are dozens of bone broth hashtags on Instagram (including my favorite, #bonebrotheverydamnday). It's being sold online for $10/pint, and people are just generally go crazy over it! Don't get me wrong - I love that bone broth is getting so much attention, because it truly is amazing.
So what is so great about broth?
First of all, I want to clarify that I am not talking about regular beef or chicken broth, or bouillon. While these simple broths can be nutritious and delicious, they aren’t as packed with minerals and amino acids like bone broth.
When bone broth is made correctly, the collagen in bones gets broken down into gelatin, which supports our connective tissues in muscles, joints, and bones, the digestive tract, and skin. Gelatin contains amino acids (glycine and proline) that help us rebuild ligaments, tendons, and bones. For athletes, bone broth can be great overall support during training, through injuries, and an important part of a post-workout meal. Outside Magazine agrees.
Glutamine is another amino acid in bone broth and the preferred food of the cells of our digestive tract. Bone broth is my go-to treatment for people with digestive issues associated with malabsorption, leaky gut, post-antibiotic use, and food intolerances. Bone broth improves the integrity of the gut lining and overall digestion. And when we heal our gut, we heal our brain - have you heard of the gut-brain connection? (See my events page for info on an upcoming talk on this hot topic).
Our skin and immune systems also greatly benefit from bone broth, especially when made with veggies and herbs like turmeric. Drinking 1-2 cups of bone broth when you're sick will help your immune system fight the nastiest cold. And you will definitely notice glowing skin when you drink more collagen-rich bone broth - how’s that for a great side effect?!
How to make your own bone broth
Bone broth is available in some grocery stores and online, but you can make it on your own and benefit from all this goodness without breaking the bank and without too much hassle. You can purchase bones from a butcher or in some grocery stores. You can likely ask a rancher for marrow bones (if you're lucky enough to live near wide open spaces)! Please make sure your marrow bones are coming from organic, grass fed animals that have not been fed hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides/herbicides, especially if pregnant women and kiddos are drinking it!
Here’s the recipe:
2 pounds of organic marrow bones
water, enough to cover the bones by an inch or two
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (essential to pull out the nutrients from the bones)
2 cups of vegetables: onions, carrots, celery, garlic, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place organic marrow bones in a crockpot with the 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and vegetables and simmer overnight for 24-72 hours. Skim off the foam throughout cooking. When you’re ready, strain out the vegetables and bones. Let your bone broth cool before placing it in glass mason jars. It will store in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer. You can drink bone broth on its own or use it as a stock to make other soups. Enjoy the yum!