Magical Bone Broth….
Making bone broth has become a super popular home cooking and health promoting activity in recent years and for good reason! As with many other areas in life, old wisdom is being drawn on to help us re-balance our modern lifestyles and heal the afflictions and ills that it causes.
When reading about the benefits of bone broth or stock, it is impossible to come away without the conclusion that it provides protection from many if not all modern health problems. You name it, broth can do it!
You’ve probably heard that Chicken Soup is the bomb for flu and cold season, (aka Jewish Penicillin) but the important part of this is the broth base that makes the chicken soup.
In days past, meat was sold with the bone or as a whole frame, and our ancestors made stock or broth from the bony parts. This occurred in almost all traditional cuisines; but had almost disappeared in the Western world with modern meat cut availability, fast cooking and food preparation.
When you slowly simmer or boil a meat frame in cold water you end up with a stock or broth. This broth then contains:
- Minerals. Vinegar added during cooking draws minerals out of bone, cartilage and marrow including calcium, magnesium, potassium into the broth/stock.
- Electrolytes. Meat stocks are especially nutritious, as minerals in the broth are in the form of electrolytes and are therefore are easy to assimilate.
- Amino acids including cysteine, arginine, glycine and L-glutamine which specifically reduces gut inflammation. These amino acids boost immunity and reduce inflammation.
- Gelatin which acts as an aid to digestion and has been used to treat many intestinal disorders. It acts to heal and seal the gut.
- Collagen. Collagen is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and maintain healthy skin and connective tissue.
Sarah Wilson formerly of I Quit Sugar writes in her books:
- Is beyond nutritious.
- Has minerals and electrolytes that our body can easily assimilate.
- Is excellent for digestion.
- Soothes inflammation in the gut.
- Is a healing remedy for the gut.
- Has a natural ingredient that feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining of the small intestine.
- Is great for thyroid or autoimmune issues.
To summarise an incredible list of benefits:
- Supports and nourishes the digestive and immune system.
- Healing remedy for the gut.
- Is anti-inflammatory.
- Supports joint health.
- Prevents and mitigates infectious disease.
- Boosts immunity.
- Alleviates the common cold and other respiratory ailments.
- Strengthens bones and teeth.
- May promote healthy weight due to its positive influence on gut bacteria.
- Improves hydration.
- Improves mood. Neuroscientists report that our gut bacteria are constantly communicating with your brain. The gut microbiome or bacteria influences your brain including your mood, memory, learning ability and dealing with stress. A healthy microbiome results in a happy brain.
In recent years as I began to follow the work of Sarah Wilson, then began looking into gut health and use of bone broths, I have become a devout user of broth in my family! Prior to using bone broths, I had health issues including:
- Poor immunity. I was so used to getting really bad colds and definitely one severe flu a year, sometimes more. I really suffered from these illnesses, with awful sore throats, croup like throat and upper respiratory tightness.
- Allergies. Ever since I was a teen I had had bad allergies and always had issues with my sinuses, sneezing and irritated nose, ears and throat.
- A skin condition where the collagen in my skin was being broken down in patches on my body.
- My skin was always prone to being dry.
- As a young adult I had digestive issues which I had looked into with Naturopaths and they all indicated that I had signs of poor digestion and impaired absorption (absorbing nutrients across the gastrointestinal tract).
- Mood issues had always been an issue for me.
- My kids also got sick a lot too which I accepted as ‘normal’ for childhood.
Once I started using bone broths, I noticed every single one of these areas improved.
This is not isolated of course, it has interacted with other health changes I have made, but along with significantly reducing sugar and refined/processed carbohydrates in my diet, this is one of the most significant changes I have made.
Broth is now my go to when feeling the first signs of illness for me or my family, as a health promoter once a month, and if I’m feeling a bit angsty or anxious. It without fails smooths me out!
I notice that our immunity is incredibly better. We still get sick, but not as badly or for as long…my digestion is so good now. My allergies are all but gone. I can always tell when I’ve been overburdening my system when my nose gets out of kilter again!
The recipe I use is based on the one from I Quit Sugar:
1 x whole Chicken
Chopped onion, carrots, celery.
Peppercorns and a bay leaf or two.
A very decent splash of white vinegar.
Enough cold water to cover.
I cook for 6 hours or more but rarely more than 8.
I strain the fluid off and use it:
- to drink mixed with some water as a tonic especially if I’m feeling rundown.
- as a stock in soups, casseroles.
- as a base for chicken and vegetable soup.
The chicken can then be shredded and used in making the soup, put into a casserole or is great for chicken pie.
I hope you enjoy experimenting with Bone Broth as I have done and the health benefits it can provide. You can take my word for it, or do some more research yourself. Some resources I have used are listed below.
Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions:
Chicken soup has ingredient that feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. This lining is the beginning and end of the nervous system. It therefore heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.
Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions
Louise Hay & Heather Dane, The Bone Broth Secret
Sarah Wilson, I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar for Life
Pete Evans, The Paleo Way and various cookbooks
This article is for general health promoting and well being information. It is not intended as advice or a substitute for specific nutritional or medical recommendations. If you have specific health issues please consult a specialist practitioner for further advice.