Bone Broth – What Are the Benefits
Laura D. Field of Potpourri of Health – Feb. 28, 2017
When I first heard of bone broth, I wasn’t really sure it was something I would enjoy. Yet, I did at first make it as a soup stock, which is great as well. But until recently, I didn’t give into the understanding of the healthy value of something that can so simply be made at home.
The process might be time consuming, yet the benefits are a nutrient rich food staple. It provides an excellent source of minerals that support the immune system as well as improve digestion.
“Many of our modern diseases appear to be rooted in an unbalanced mix of microorganisms in our digestive system, courtesy of an inappropriate and unbalanced diet that is too high in sugars and too low in healthful fats and beneficial bacteria.” (Mercola)
There are many ways in which we can obtain our calcium rich foods, such as that in green leafy vegetables, which I enjoy with kale and bok choy. These are two vegetables I add into my own bone broth, even the stems of the plants. Between both the plant (vegetables) and animal life of bones, bone broth is an excellent source of minerals, which are high in calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, which aids in the health of our bones and teeth. These sources are easily digested by ones body.
Bone broth is also a better source of glucosamine, versus that of a over-the-counter supplement. This, along with the other amino acids not obtained from the muscle meat, support and reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.
The collagen from the bones helps to support our joints, hair, skin and nails. This is evident in the gelatin that will form after the process in making the broth forms. Now, I’ve read that collagen helps eliminate cellulite because it supports smooth connective tissue, but I won’t rave about the cellulite claim yet, unless over the next year my legs start showing a sheen of smoothness that would be considered quite youthful for my age. Certainly not a benefit I would object to and something to look forward to if it proves to be accurate. I do think, however, it will require continued exercise along with a healthy diet of nutrient enriched foods.
Making Bone Broth is time consuming, in that it is an all day process. You have to check it throughout the day while topping it off with filtered water when necessary, more so when made on the stovetop. Yet, with the option to make this in the crock-pot, topping it off might occur less often.
The cost of making bone broth is relative to how you approach it. You can purchase large beef bones and chicken feet (if you choose to use these). And, you can also obtain bones from the large bones of your chicken, turkey and other large bones that you obtain from foods you eat and or hunt. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be expensive, although obtaining the quality bones from some locations can bring the cost up.
Last week I made two bone broths, one with beef bones and the other chicken bones and chicken feet. Oh, don’t get grossed out, as what you may not be aware of is that the feet contain a great deal of the collagen and nutrient elements in making a nice healthy broth. I will be honest though, they are pretty creepy looking. In addition, use caution, as a friend shared the importance of clipping those nasty toe ends off, as they hang onto the debris in which the chicken walks. I promise, I will not stand over you to make sure you do this, I’m just sharing a wise tip I graciously appreciated learning about. As noted below, be sure to blanch your bones and feet to rid them of the impurities that could harbor germs you don’t want in your food.
The type of bones that are best for bone broth is beef, bison, venison, lamb, poultry and even fish, to which you add vegetables and spices to in order to enhance the flavor as well as the nutritional offering. Consider obtaining quality bones from grass fed sources, without any hormone additives in their feed.
You can generally find these bones at local farmers markets and farms, a hunter friend and local health food stores. There is a company online one can purchase from called U.S. Wellness Meats that I plan on ordering from in the near future. Their pricing is rather fair. But, for those who are starting out, you can obtain these bones at your local supermarket. Most recently I discovered that our local market has increased their pricing substantially. We all have personal budgets to work within, so be aware of price changes and the quality. I personally believe quality trumps price.
One key element in making a good broth is in making sure you blanch the bones to remove impurities, then follow up with roasting your bones to caramelize them.
- Blanching: place bones in stockpot covered with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes, then drain and remove the bones. Rinse well before roasting them.
- Roasting: Place bones in the oven at 450 degrees and bake to a good roasted brown, could be 15 or more minutes. Be sure to remove all the drippings and add to the bone broth stock as this adds additional flavoring. Some choose to bake at 350 for an hour.
Although one does not need to add tons of vegetables, other than the onions and spices, I enjoy adding the extras when I have them. I do not add the starchy vegetables, just the greens choices I’ve listed below, along with carrots.
Be sure to add enough water to cover the bones and veggies, but not so much that everything is floating around. I tend to watch and add more filtered water when necessary.
When you are done, be sure to cool quickly and refrigerate. Some people add ice cubes to cool it faster. Depending on the amount, and the size family, you can also freeze the broth, but be sure to leave plenty of headspace, otherwise plan on a messy clean-up of broken glass and wasted broth once things are frozen. Remember, liquids expand when they freeze.
I personally drink this in the morning to get my digestion working more effectively Trust me, as you get older, you want something to waken up that sometimes sluggish system, without the aid of chemical remedies. This is contributed to the glycine found in bone broth.
Other benefits of the glycine is for bone health, wound healing, helping to regulate blood sugar levels, and enhancing muscle repair and growth.
Considering the benefits derived from chicken broth during an illness, and how many can tolerate a bowl of broth when they are ill, I am now using it to also keep my immune strength in check.
Why did I choose to make and consume bone broth? For those who contend with immune and inflammatory diseases, will understand how we tend to seek out natural options to help with the discomfort. Why Lyme disease this can be chronic and long lasting. In addition, it helps in the digestion, which can be complicated by the disease or medications one might be taking. Although there are available store options for bone broth, I have chosen to enjoy the therapeutic aroma in making my own, while reaping the benefits of having fresh broth available at all times.
I will try to share some recipes in the future, yet there is a wealth of them available online, I have a tendency to cook with what I have available on hand:
- Filtered water – enough to cover the bones and veggies with more to top off so that the bones and veggies do not dry out.
- Bone base of choice, whether beef, poultry, fish, etc.
- At least 2 carrots (for sweetness), although can be optional. I use a pound, the remove the carrots after for a side dish.
- 1 large onion
- 2 Tbsp. of Brach’s Apple Cider Vinegar – this pulls out the mineral content from the bones and vegetables you add.
- Celery, which I also include the leaf portion
- Parsley, cloves, black pepper, Himalayan salt and other preferred spices.
- 2-4 fresh garlic cloves
- And a variety of other veggies, such as Bok Choy and Kale when I have them available.
- I also add in Diatomaceous Earth, Flaxseed, Psyllium and a variety of herbs that are fresh and on hand from my garden. Please note: these are personal options that I choose to use, not necessarily what others might use. I am VERY generous in using herbs from my garden.
- Although it is recommended to avoid using cabbage, I found that the Bok Choy to be a very nice additive.
- Suggested greens to avoid using, due to their ability to make your broth bitter are broccoli, turnip peels, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, collard greens, and mustard greens.
I cook mine on the stovetop when I am at home and working in the kitchen area. I simply keep an eye on it and add water as I go while adding other veggies pieces that might be leftover from other dishes I am preparing. NOTE: I do not necessarily use the “ends” of veggies, but I do make sure everything I put in is washed, in an effort to remove all dirt, germs and potential chemicals.
On the stove top, in a 4 quart stock pot (larger if you want to make more than a gallon) bring your stock to a boil then simmer for many hours during the day. The other option is to use your slow cooker/crockpot. Set it on high until it begins to boil, and then reduce it to low/simmer for approximately 12 hours.
“Bone broth used to be a dietary staple, as were fermented foods, and the elimination of these foods from our modern diet is largely to blame for our increasingly poor health, and the need for dietary supplements.” (Mercola).
One of the goals I have been working towards is using less nutritional supplements. Partly because I am tired of taking pills (it happens when one is on treatment for any health condition), but also, I simply cannot continue to afford the quality supplements and know that many of the cheaper versions are not necessarily beneficial for our health. Bone broth is one step forward in being in tune with what is going into our bodies vs. depending on a manufacturer with good advertising.
Enjoy living 🙂 while making the choice to be healthy,
Laura – Blogger and paid Freelance writer
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Ari LeVaux / AlterNet. (2015, February 16). Bone Broth Is Trendy, But You May Be Poisoning Yourself With Heavy Metals If You’re Not Careful. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from http://www.alternet.org/food/bone-broth-trendy-you-may-be-poisoning-yourself-heavy-metals-if-youre-not-careful
Bone Broth: 12 Days Of Gelatin. (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2017, from http://www.traditional-foods.com/bone-broth/
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Bilow, R. (2016, February 18). Bone Broth: You’re Doing It Wrong (Well, if You Make These Common Mistakes). Retrieved February 28, 2017, from http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/common-mistakes-bone-broth