Bone broth is a traditional food that is making a comeback due to its proven gut healing properties. As a large percentage of the population have some degree of `leaky gut’ it is a food we should be having regularly.
What is bone broth?
A bone broth is made by simply boiling the bones of healthy animals (e.g. chicken, beef, lamb) with vegetables, herbs and spices. Simmering bones over a low heat for up to 24 hours creates a nutrient dense broth that is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, amino acids and other trace minerals that have been pulled from the bones.
Here are some of the main benefits of bone broth:
It helps to heal and seal your gut – the gelatin found in broth helps to heal the intestinal lining and promote a healthy digestion. Anyone who has followed the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) will know that broths are highly recommended on this diet for the therapeutic healing of the gut.
It promotes strong healthy bones – due to the bone building minerals pulled from the bones. Great for people who are avoiding dairy and are concerned about their calcium intake.
It is great for fighting colds and infections – chicken broth in particular contains an amino acid called cysteine which helps to thin mucus in the lungs and boost immunity (that’s why our mothers always made us have chicken soup when we are sick!)
It helps to reduce joint pain and inflammation - the boiled cartilage extracts glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen and other compounds beneficial for joints.
It promotes healthy skin, hair and nails – as a result of the gelatin and collagen extracted from the bones.
Homemade bone is very inexpensive and easy to make. Just make sure you have good quality free range animal bones preferably organic so you are not extracting chemicals out of the bones.
Here is a basic recipe which is adapted from the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon:
Bones from a healthy animal source (e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, fish) about 500g – 1kg 1 onion 2 carrots chopped 2 stalks of celery chopped 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (which helps to draw the nutrients out of the bones) 1 tablespoon sea salt Fresh parsley (add in last 10 minutes of cooking) 2 cloves garlic (add in last 30 minutes of cooking) Pepper
Fill up a large stockpot (or large crockpot) with pure, filtered water.
Add apple cider vinegar and all vegetables except parsley to the water.
Place the chicken carcass or bones into the pot.
Bring to a boil, and remove any scum that rises to the top.
Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer.
If using a chicken carcass let it simmer for 24 hours, for beef or lamb bones let it simmer for 48 hours.
Sally Fallon suggests adding the fresh parsley about 10 minutes before finishing the stock, as this will add healthy mineral ions to your broth.
Remove remaining bones from the broth with a slotted spoon and strain the rest through a strainer to remove any bone fragments.
If you are sensitive to histamines or you are in the early stages of the GAPs Introduction diet, then it is recommended that you simmer your broth for a shorter duration (e.g 3 - 4 hours).
The bone broth can be used as a stock which can form the basis of soups, stews and sauces. It can also be heated and drank like a soup in a cup. All these foods are great for the colder months as we naturally crave the comfort and nourishment of warm soups and stews. The broth can be stored in a glass container in the fridge for up to 7 days or you can freeze it for later use.