As the weather turns colder, reaching for a warm drink is just the way to get cozy. And if it’s one with a ton of nutritional value, like bone broth, even better.
If you’ve heard of bone broth, it’s likely you’re in one of two camps: curious or appalled. Bone broth is one of those things people either love or hate. The flavor, texture, and time to make it can deter people, but the immense nutritional benefits make it worth it. And with some quality recipes and a little practice, you can actually concoct a batch of bone broth that’s quite tasty.
Since becoming a buzzword in the wellness world over the last couple of years, you may think bone broth is a trendy health fad. In reality, bone broth has been made for centuries as a way to strengthen the body, deliver essential vitamins and minerals, and help heal illnesses.
So what is bone broth exactly? Is it really as beneficial as people say? What’s the best way to make it, and how do you drink bone broth? We’ve got all that and more below.
What Is Bone Broth?
Making bone broth is a culinary tradition that spans many cultures and generations. It’s made from slowly simmering bones, usually from a cow or poultry, with water and vegetables for at least 24 and often up to 36 hours. As bouillon cubes became popular in the 20th century, many chefs and busy housewives turned to this time-saver to add that deep, savory flavor to their meals. However, we now know that bouillon cubes contain high amounts of MSG, which can cause hypertension, obesity, gastrointestinal tract issues, and impaired function of the brain, nervous system, endocrine system, and reproductive system.
Today, many people thankfully want to return to healthy, whole foods, putting bone broth back on the map.
Is Bone Broth the Same as Stock?
Nope. Bone broth isn’t the same as stock. The main difference between broth and stock is the simmering time. Bone broth must be simmered for a long time. Stocks on the other hand only take about three hours. The longer cooking time of broth, however, means a deeper flavor, and more importantly, considerably more nutrients. Because of that, it’s better to make the investment in a broth if you can spare the time.
Bone Broth Benefits
Bone broth is often referred to as a superfood, and for good reason. Here are some of the top bone broth benefits.
The latest science confirms that so much of our health begins in our gut. Poor gut health can affect our energy, sleep, mood, nutrient absorption, skin, and overall well-being. Ever heard of leaky gut syndrome? It’s a prevalent issue among many adults today in which the gut essentially has holes that leak substances into the bloodstream, causing inflammation and stress on the body. Bone broth, however, is said to repair the gut’s ecosystem, acting as a patch of sorts over holes. And you don’t need to wait until you have a gut issue. It’s great for prevention, too.
It Eases Joint Pain
If you experience joint pain, you might have been recommended to take a glucosamine supplement to ease the issue. Bone broth also contains glucosamine, plus many other health benefits. One plus is that it contains chondroitin sulfate, which is found in the cartilage that protects joints, so it’s been shown to help prevent osteoarthritis. Another is that it also has phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium which make for healthy bones as well.
You’ll Sleep Better
Glycine, an amino acid in bone broth, is thought to help ward off fatigue and improve sleep. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, enhances the immune system, protects tissue from injury, promotes wound healing, and treats metabolic disorders.
It’s Got Your Dose of Collagen
Bone broth is packed with collagen and gelatin. Collagen is a building block of cells. You’ve likely heard of skincare products that boost collagen. Drinking it can give you the same skin-plumping and wrinkle-smoothing benefits, while also nourishing other cells.
Your Immune System Will Thank You
Who isn’t trying to strengthen their immune system these days? Bone broth’s superfood status tends to come from how nourishing it is to the immune system. Remember how your grandma always made you soup when you were sick? Bone broth’s high concentration of minerals and vitamins even in just one cup goes a long way in helping your body fight off illness. And if you do get sick, it’s great for helping you maintain your strength and energy.
It’s Loaded With Protein
If you’re hitting the gym hard, bone broth could change your game. In addition to its many other benefits, it’s got quite a bit of protein, which your body depends on. And with fewer than 50 calories per cup, drinking it daily isn’t going to disrupt your fitness plan.
How to Make Bone Broth
Despite being time-consuming, bone broth is actually easy to make. You’ll first need, well, bones. You can use bones from cows, poultry, or even fish. Make it easier by simply using the bones you already have on hand, like from a rotisserie chicken or bone-in steak you just made. Increase nutrition by opting for free-range, organic, grass-fed, and finished animals. You can also increase collagen by choosing cuts with more cartilage and connective tissue.
And here’s a tip: You can drastically cut the cooking time by using a pressure cooker. While slow cookers or simmering on the stove take at least 24 hours, a pressure cooker can get the job done in just two or three hours.
See below for a full bone broth recipe.
How to Drink Bone Broth
There are several ways to consume bone broth. The quickest is to simply put it in a mug and drink it straight. You can also use it as the base of a soup or add it to a smoothie bowl. Put a spoonful in your coffee or tea, and keep some on hand for when recipes call for broth. Many people like to add a bit to stir fries for a richer flavor. There are endless ways to work it in, so some people like to use ice trays to freeze small portions so they have bone broth at the ready.
A Bone Broth Recipe
Though this recipe calls for chicken or beef, you can substitute pretty much any bones you prefer.
- 1 whole chicken carcass or 3 to 4 pounds of beef bones
- A generous pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- Optional: aromatic vegetables and herbs like carrots, celery, rosemary, or thyme
- Optional: seasonings, like turmeric or cayenne
If you’re using a slow-cooker or simmering on the stove, place the bones in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add water until the bones are completely covered. Add the apple cider vinegar and salt next, and bring the water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn down the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 24 to 36 hours. Add your veggies, herbs, or other seasonings in the last six hours of cook time. Once it’s done simmering, remove it from heat and let it cool slightly. Then strain it and keep the broth in an airtight jar in the refrigerator once it has cooled completely.
If you’d rather save some time and go the pressure cooker route, you’ll place the bones in the cooker and cover them with water, careful not to exceed the fill line. Add the vinegar, salt, vegetables, herbs, and seasonings of your choice, then cover and set the cooker to two hours. Allow a natural release, and follow the same steps outlined above for straining, cooling, and storing.
And if you really want to save time, you can simply purchase it pre-made. Our chicken bone broth concentrate is made slowly with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, or pesticides. It’s also certified organic and non-GMO. (If animal products aren’t your thing, we have vegetable broth concentrate as well.) However you get your dose of bone broth, your body will thank you for the nutrition boost.
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