One of the most nourishing remedies that I think everyone should have in their food arsenal is bone broth. Nowadays in our fast paced world we grab at the canned or boxed chicken broths on grocery store shelves to help us get that 30 minute meal on the table. I used to make everything with boxed organic soup, that is, until I learned of the incredible healing properties of homemade bone broth. Its so easy to make, it now seems silly to use boxed broth when cooking.
Our ancestors have been making bone broth for thousands of years. We are now beginning to understand that foods prepared using traditional methods are not only healing, but have a significant purpose for digestion, absorption, and helping our bodies assimilate nutrients. The true healing power of bone broth comes from the synergistic properties contained in the broth as a whole. While most of the research available today focuses on the fractional components of bone broth, such as collagen or glutamine, its important to recognize that the magic and power of bone broth occurs when its consumed with all of its parts -- in Mother Natures perfect packaging.
Here just a few of the many benefits of bone broth:
- It Heals Leaky Gut - The gut is the gateway to health. Unfortunately, when it becomes permeable, or "leaks", it can cause a whole list of ailments such as gas, bloating, food sensitivities, skin issues, mood swings, autoimmune disease, anxiety, headaches and the list goes on. A big step in healing your gut is feeding it healing foods such as bone broth. Two of the four key amino acids in bone broth are glutamine and proline. Both are conditional amino acids, which means our body makes them unless we undergo periods of stress, which then they become essential to obtain from the diet. Research shows that both are critical in healing and maintaining the integrity of the gut lining. The cells that line our intestine turn over very rapidly and actually prefer feeding on glutamine over any other amino acid. Gelatin (the breakdown of collagen), another key component in bone broth, also helps sooth and heal the gut lining.
- Reduces Inflammation and Improves Digestion - The gelatin that is formed in bone broth helps increase protein availability of whole grains and increases the digestibility of beans, legumes, and meat. The nutritional profile changes each time you make bone broth depending on the diet, age, and lifestyle of the animal, the proportions of bones, joints, ligaments and skin used, and the mixture of vegetables, herbs and spices that are added. Adding vegetables and herbs to your broth provides essential nutrients that will synergistically work with other compounds like gelatin to enhance digestion and absorption.
- It Boosts Your Immune System - Bone broth provides immune boosting compounds in the jiggly gelatin that comes from connective tissue and bone marrow. Studies have also shown that chicken broth has medicinal properties to help prevent infection.
- It Restores Collagen in the Body - Our bodies own production of collagen naturally decreases as we age. Collagen helps sustain internal organs, repairs and soothes the gut, and is essential for healthy smooth skin. Deficiencies in collagen are associated with brittle hair and nails, premature aging, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, gut disorders and autoimmune diseases. Bone broth is one of the best ways to replenish deficient collagen stores. When making bone broth, collagen from the animals connective tissue (skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and bones) gets broken down into gelatin which allows essential minerals and amino acids to work most efficiently.
- Bones and skin from whole turkey carcass, pasture fed and free of antibiotics and hormones
- Turkey neck and feet (optional)
- Water - enough to cover bones (4 quarts of water per 3-4 pounds of bones)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (this helps draw minerals from the bones)
- 1-2 tsp himalayan rock salt or real sea salt (to taste)
- 1 large onion (skins on)
- 3 garlic cloves (cut in half, skins on)
- 1 inch cube of ginger cut in half (optional)
- 3 large carrots, quartered
- 3 stalks celery, quartered
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley or 2 tbsp dried
- 1-2 tsp thyme
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp rosemary
Place all ingredients (except salt) in a stock pot. Add enough cold water to cover the bones. (I leave a little meat on the bones which will give the broth more flavor). Place over medium heat, until pot comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer ( very gentle bubbles that rise to the surface) for several hours (8-12 hours). A gentle simmer is allows the bones and ligaments to release healing compounds like collagen and important amino acids. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface throughout cooking. Remove bones and strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer (add cheesecloth for clearer broth) into large heat proof pot. Season with sea salt to taste while broth is still hot. Let cool for several hours in refrigerator until fat congeals at top. If desired, skim off fat from top and transfer broth into freezer safe mason jars or glass pyrex containers. When chilled, broth should look like semi-solid gelatin. That's the good stuff! Store in refrigerator for 1 week or in freezer for 6 months.
Uses for broth
- Use as stock for soup
- Drink as a warm beverage any time of day
- Use as cooking liquid for vegetables and grains
- Make gravy or sauce
- Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11035691/
- Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon and Kaayla T. Daniel
- Kaayla T. Daniel, “Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin,” Weston A. Price Foundation. http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/why-broth-is-beautiful.
- University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Chicken Soup for a Cold” http://www.unmc.edu/publicrelations/chickensoup_newsrelease.htm.