If you've heard about using bone broth or seen it in the grocery store, you're probably wondering why so many people swear by it. How could something so simple have so many health benefits?
Just What Is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is relatively simple and once was the staple of nearly every meal!
It's a process of simmering bones, a little bit of meat, and sometimes herbs and vegetables over several hours to extract flavor and nutrients. In addition, it was an excellent way to use up the remains of other meals, so nothing went to waste.
It's incredibly nutritious. Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium and other nutrients and fats that help calcium be absorbed.
And, it is very tasty.
Why Is Broth A Better Choice Than A Supplement?
Any nutrient you can get from food is better than what you can get from a supplement. Food contains other co-nutrients and enzymes that help absorption and provide their own nutritional benefit. Bone broth is no exception.
The different types of bones you use and any additional herbs and vegetables you add change the nutritional content. But, if we look at some of the most basic broths, we'll find them packed with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
But more so than that, it contains high amounts of protein, fats, and collagen. And this is where bone broth really shines.
Although the protein isn't the highest quality, having bounced around in the simmering water for hours on end, the body still can use these proteins to help build healthy tissue. The same is true with the fats, as a wide variety of fats were attached to the bone. Fortunately, most of these fats are healthy for you, helping to produce hormones and healthy tissues and the brain and skin.
Finally, there's the collagen. Collagen is a form of protein and is one of the vital building blocks of your body. It helps keep your skin looking young, hair thick, and nails strong. Amazingly, unlike other proteins, once collagen is in the broth, it's in this most usable form.
Collagen supplements have been linked to helping to reduce bone loss, joint pain, inflammation, and nutritional deficiencies. Some people claim it helps reduce depression, anxiety, diabetes, cholesterol, and helped weight loss, however, the science for these last couple ones is lacking.
Even though you might not get as much calcium out of bone broth as you do out of a supplement, you get the co-nutrients to help it be absorbed. And when you combine that with the other nutritional benefits, using bone broth in your everyday cooking or even drinking it separately can provide big benefits.
Basic Bone Broth Recipe
Note: you need a large 2 to 5-gallon stockpot for this recipe. If you don't have one, cut the recipe in half for a 1-gallon pot.
- 3 pounds bones (chicken, beef, pork, lamb, game)
- 2 tablespoons fragrant oil (sesame, walnut, avocado, or plain peanut)
- 1 cup white wine or ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 12 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- Dash to taste salt and pepper
- Optional (see notes below):
- Herbs, spices
Heat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Arrange the bones on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast until slightly brown, usually 30-45 minutes. Turn halfway through to promote even browning.
Transfer hot bones to a heavy stockpot (2-5 gallon best). And then pour in the wine, water, and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then barely simmer, uncovered, at least 8 hours and up to 16 hours. Skim any foam that appears at the surface of the broth.
Strain the broth and season it with salt – it will taste saltier once cooled. Serve immediately or store airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months.
Smaller bones of chicken and turkey cook faster than larger beef bones. If your bones break apart or dissolve, that's okay, it's extra nutrition. Strain well, so no splinters get through.
You can add herbs and vegetables for extra nutrition.
Many people save and use the ends of carrots, onion, and garlic, plus the hard stalks of celery and herb and any other pieces of vegetables not normally cooked with. You can freeze these pieces and add to the broth for more flavor. Be sure to wash well and dry before freezing.
Do not remove fat layer as that helps calcium and collagen absorb faster in your digestive system.