Why Bone Broth Isn’t Just a Fad
By now, you’ve probably heard about bone broth. Maybe you know someone who swears by its health benefits. Chicken bone broth and beef bone broth are often touted as nutrient-dense foods that can help prevent colds, heal digestive issues, reduce inflammation, promote healthy skin, and even aid in weight loss. It almost sounds too good to be true — which understandably may leave you feeling like bone broth is just the food fad of the moment.
While there isn’t a lot of research on the health benefits of bone broth in particular, some research and anecdotal evidence suggests that bone broth may help with weight loss, improve health issues such as leaky gut syndrome, and promote healthy skin. And numerous studies demonstrate the health benefits of collagen, which is a key ingredient in bone broth.
Interested in trying bone broth for yourself? Here’s everything you need to know about this miracle food, including a simple bone broth recipe you can make at home.
What Is Bone Broth?
As the name suggests, bone broth is a broth made from bones, such as chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or even fish bones. Bone broth uses an especially long cook time, which allows collagen and other beneficial nutrients to be extracted from the bones and connective tissue. Bone broth can be made with a variety of vegetables, herbs, and other ingredients for added flavor.
Are Bone Broth and Stock the Same?
Although they are prepared in a similar manner, bone broth and stock are not the same thing. Stock uses a shorter cooking time, which means it lacks the collagen and other nutrients that are characteristic of bone broth.
Stock may be used to add flavor to recipes, but it will not deliver the same health benefits as bone broth.
Stock and bone broth are often found on the same supermarket shelf, so make sure you choose the right one. If you’re looking for a commercially prepared bone broth, don’t just grab the first box you see on the shelf. Take some time to research the product’s preparation method to ensure that you are getting all of the vitamins and nutrients you’re looking for. Bone broth should be cooked for approximately 24 hours to allow for the extraction of collagen and other nutrients from the bones and connective tissue.
Why Is Collagen So Important?
Many of bone broth’s benefits stem from the fact that it’s rich in collagen. You’ve likely heard of collagen — it’s a hot topic in both the health industry and the skincare industry, because collagen in the skin helps keep it youthful and supple.
But collagen isn’t just a beauty ingredient — it helps hold all the body’s connective tissues together. It’s an important part of our intestines, joints, muscles, and tendons. Our bodies naturally produce collagen, but as we age, this production slows down, which helps explain why we experience wrinkles, sagging skin, joint pain, and digestive issues as we get older. Eating foods that help boost collagen in the body can help prevent or improve these issues.
If you eat meat — including chicken or fish — you’re getting some collagen from your diet. Eggs and leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, can also help boost collagen in the body. But just eating these foods may not be enough to provide your body with the collagen it needs to prevent or improve signs of aging.
Bone broth can help you bridge that gap. When you consume bone broth, you’re getting one of the richest sources of collagen available. And, it’s easy to add to your everyday diet. Continue reading for suggestions!
What Are the Health Benefits of Bone Broth?
What exactly can bone broth do for you? Take a look at these four benefits of drinking bone broth.
1. Bone Broth Can Improve Cold Symptoms
Although there’s no cure for the common cold, bone broth may help you feel better if you fall ill. Many cold symptoms are caused by inflammation that occurs in the body as it fights off infection. The more inflammation present, the greater your risk of cold symptoms such as runny nose, sinus pressure, and congestion.
Bone broth contains high levels of amino acids that can help reduce inflammation, particularly glycine and proline. Bone broth is also an excellent source of electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, which are important during a cold, especially if you are experiencing loss of appetite or nausea. Low levels of electrolytes can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, nausea, and vomiting. In addition to providing these important electrolytes, bone broth can help you stay hydrated and ward off additional symptoms of dehydration.
2. Bone Broth Can Improve Digestive Issues
People who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease have been shown to have lower levels of collagen. This makes sense, as two powerful amino acids found in collagen — glycine and glutamine — are important for rebuilding the tissue found in the digestive tract. Damage to the intestinal lining can lead to a condition known as intestinal permeability, commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome.
What is leaky gut? As the name suggests, when the intestinal lining is damaged, food particles and toxins are allowed to “leak” into the bloodstream. Not only does this mean you’re not properly absorbing the food you eat, but it also means that these particles are able to migrate to other areas of the body and disrupt various bodily processes. This is why digestive health is so important — poor digestion can impact every other process in the body. Gut health is even linked to anxiety and depression.
Healing intestinal damage starts with reducing inflammation in the body. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, bone broth is an excellent source of collagen and gelatin, which can help repair the digestive tract.
3. Bone Broth May Aid in Weight Loss
Chronic inflammation is also a major barrier to weight loss. Many of the foods that are common in the Western diet — wheat, dairy, sugar, processed meats — contribute to inflammation, which can disrupt processes throughout the body, including those related to metabolism. Healing these underlying health issues is often the first step toward healthy, sustainable weight loss.
Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet — such as berries, green tea, and bone broth — can help reduce this inflammation and help your metabolism function properly.
Because of bone broth’s high collagen content, it’s also very filling, which can help curb the appetite and lead to less snacking.
4. Bone Broth Promotes Healthy Skin and Nails
Collagen is a major component in the cells that make up skin, hair, and nails. Research shows that supplementation with collagen can help treat skin aging and nail strength. In the nail study, participants with brittle nails ingested collagen peptides daily for 24 weeks. Results showed an improvement in nail growth rate and a decrease in the frequency of broken or chipped nails.
Bone broth can also alleviate symptoms of dry skin, especially in winter months, when dry air can lead to flaky and itchy skin. Studies indicate that collagen ingestion results in improved skin hydration and elasticity.
How Do You Use Bone Broth?
Bone broth is easy to incorporate into your daily diet. It can easily be used in any recipe that calls for liquids. Boiling pasta or potatoes? Use bone broth instead of water for added flavor and health benefits. Making a sauce or gravy? Use bone broth as the base. It also makes an excellent base for soups or stews.
Bone broth is also so flavorful, you may enjoy sipping it as an alternative to tea or coffee. It can be especially comforting during cold weather. And its high collagen content makes it so rich and creamy, you may be surprised by how filling it can be!
How to Make Your Own Bone Broth
You can easily make your own bone broth if you regularly prepare foods that contain bones and connective tissue. Save your bones whenever you roast a chicken or a turkey. You may also be able to obtain bones from a local butcher or farmer.
When choosing bones to use for bone broth, look for high-quality bones. Organic chicken, grass-fed cattle, and wild-caught fish will provide the most health benefits. Since you’ll be extracting minerals from the bones, you want to choose sources that are as healthy as possible. Conventionally raised chicken or cattle are not likely to have extremely healthy bones.
The best bone broth is made with bones and cuts of meat that are high in collagen, such as marrow, knuckles, and feet. These collagen-rich bones will create a broth that has a gelatinous consistency, even at room temperature. Don’t let this thick texture alarm you — that means you’re getting a broth with lots of collagen!
You can also save vegetable scraps to use for added flavor. Keep your bones and vegetable scraps in the freezer until you have about two pounds of bones.
How to Prepare Your Bones for Bone Broth
To prepare your bones for broth, start by blanching them to remove impurities — otherwise, your bone broth may have a funky taste. To blanch your bones, cover them with cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
For the best flavor, follow blanching with roasting. Place your bones in a roasting pan and roast at 450° F for 30 minutes. This will brown and caramelize your bones, which means more flavor in your finished broth.
Bone Broth Instructions
- Place your bones in a large stock pot and add one gallon of water along with two tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Allow it to soak for 30 minutes. The vinegar will help make the nutrients in the bones more available.
- Add your vegetable scraps or desired vegetables to the pot. Onions, celery, and carrots are all good options for added flavor, but you can add whatever vegetables you like.
- Add salt, pepper, and spices, if desired.
- Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 24 hours. During the first few hours, you may notice impurities that float to the surface and form a frothy layer. Scoop this out and discard it.
- When finished, allow the broth to cool, then strain through a fine metal strainer.
- Store your bone broth in glass jars in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze for later use. You may want to freeze in a silicone tray to make it easy to remove small portions for use in soups or other recipes.
What If You Don’t Have the Ingredients to Make Your Own Bone Broth?
While making bone broth is a fairly simple process, it does require two pounds of bones and takes about 24 hours. If you don’t have bones on hand or don’t want to wait that long, you can purchase bone broth at many health-food stores.
Again, pay attention to the cooking process and ingredients. Many commercially prepared bone broths contain additives such as MSG and preservatives. At Osso Good, we believe that “real food shouldn’t last real long.” Bone broth should be highly perishable, free of unhealthy preservatives, and should have a gelatin-like consistency when cold. Learn more about choosing the best bone broth for your needs.
Osso Good offers beef, chicken, and pork bone broth — even duck and bison! — so that you can try a variety of flavors and options without having to obtain healthy bones yourself. Osso Good is a delicious and affordable option when you don’t have the time or ingredients to make bone broth yourself.
Don’t have a location near you? Order our bone broth online.
At Osso Good, we use high-quality ingredients from animals raised without steroids, antibiotics, or growth stimulants. Our bone broths and paleo soups are made with organic ingredients and are also gluten free, dairy free, Whole30 Approved, and Certified Paleo. We are very proud to make our own bone broth in small, controlled batches to ensure the quality is always consistent and the taste is always amazing.