Written by Casey Thaler
It's been a long, rewarding day...
Your ancient ancestral tribe of hunter-gatherers have just finished a long overdue, fruitful hunt. Everyone in the tribe is hungry and excited. As you look on, they're harvesting every part of the dead animal.
Mouth-watering muscle and organ meats are taken first. Even things that can't be eaten are scavenged to make clothing, weapons and tools later on. Everything is precious. Nothing is wasted.
But what about the parts of the animal too tough to chew? What about those that don't work so well for shelter, weapons or clothing? What about the bones, hooves, knuckles and so on? What do they do with those?
Short answer? They burn them. That's right. Early ancestors would insert fired rocks into the empty carcasses of hunted animals. They discovered the heat would break down tough animal bones, creating a strangely-satisfying elixir.
Initially, they'd sip the simmering brew from hollowed-out tortoise shells. It gave them strength, it gave them stamina, it kept them strong and vital and healthy--even in the most challenging of environments...
The Invention that Changed Everything
Then something happened. Now, it may not sound so revolutionary today, but the invention of the lowly pot would soon change everything. For instance, instead of putting hot rocks inside animal carcasses, our ancestors would put the bones into handmade, earthen pots. They'd hang the pot over a red hot fire and just a few hours later... tasty, nutritious (yet still primitive) bone broth was ready.
Next, our ancestors discovered something absolutely delightful. They found they could add meats and vegetables and herbs and spices of all kinds--carrots, potatoes, leafy greens--whatever was available to create a delicious meal for the entire tribe! Today though, we live in a very different world. Yet, paleo has rediscovered this primitive elixir and it's taken the community by storm.
The caveman meal "Evolves" from prehistoric staple to an ultra healthy healing paleo drink. Bone broth is one those rare discoveries that has caught fire around the world...
- In ancient Greece, Hippocrates (the father of medicine), used it to heal people with digestion issues. He was convinced all disease "begins in the gut"...
- Traditional Chinese meals often feature a light soup made from bone broth and vegetables to cleanse the palate and help with digestion...
- While obviously an exaggeration, an old South American proverb, "good broth will resurrect the dead" illustrates the importance this culture placed on bone broth...
- In Germany, "bru" (the Germanic root of bone broth) means to "prepare by boiling"...
- The Korean dish, Seolleongtang is made from ox bones and brisket...
- Tonkotsu is a Japanese noodle soup made from pork bones...
On every continent except maybe Antarctica, bone broth has become a staple of life. Especially in the fabled "Blue Zones," where people regularly live to 100 or more.
This simple, 2-minute"caveman meal" reverses arthritis... boosts your immune system... smooths digestion and so much more... There are some major benefits to consuming bone broth on a regular basis:
Bone Broth Benefit #1: Digestion
The biggest recently rediscovered benefit is bone broth helps heal and seal a leaky gut.
A leaky gut can can bring on a multitude of autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn's, FODMAPS and celiac disease. As well as IBS.
And the reason for this is because approximately 70% of your immune system cells are located in the gastrointestinal tract. And so in order to have a healthy immune system, you need a healthy gut. In fact, with most chronic health conditions you should initially focus on healing the gut.
Many people who suffer from diseases like these reach out to Paleo for help. So people battling symptoms like...
- Food sensitivities
- Joint pain
- Frequent colds
- Thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto's and Hypothyroid
- Brain diseases such as depression, anxiety and ADHD
- Skin issues such as rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and acne
- Digestive problems
- Weight gain
- Syndrome X
... will find particular benefit from healing bone broth. (And read on, because there's a way to amplify and accelerate the healing.)
The gelatin found in bone broth is what's called a hydrophilic colloid. It supports proper digestion by attracting and holding liquids, including digestive juice.
So smoother digestion is the number #1 benefit. And it gets better. Because while bone broth benefits the immune system, it's also anti-inflammatory.
Bone Broth Benefit #2: Joint Health
If you suffer from joint diseases such as fibromyalgia or arthritis, bone broth will prove a godsend. The prolonged simmering of the broth causes the animal bones and ligaments to release natural healing compounds.
Compounds such as collagen and the amino acids proline, glycine, and glutamine.
According to nutrition researchers Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel of the Weston A. Price Foundation, bone broths contain minerals in forms your body can easily absorb. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur among others.
Bone broths also contain the valuable compoundschondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, whichyou'll often find as high-priced supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.
There's a simpler solution. The old admonition to "eat what ails you" could not be more true with bone broth.
Bone Broth Benefit #3: Detox
The glycine in bone broth also helps in true detoxification.
No, not fasts, juicing or the laxative kind of detox, but the kind of detox that stimulates your liver to do its job better.
For example, in one study, rats fed glycine showed significant improvements in recovery from alcohol-induced fatty liver disease.
Glycine is necessary for the synthesis of glutathione and uricacid, the body's most important internally produced antioxidants. And boosting production of these antioxidants reduces oxidative stress--better than taking vitamin C or some other antioxidant supplement.
As you may know, oxidative stress is the primary cause of age-related illness. It's why antioxidants like glycine and vitamin C are so important.
What's more, glycine also helps flush out excess methionine, another amino acid found in large quantities in eggs and muscle meat. Too much methionine can be toxic in two ways.
Elevated methionine results in mental disorders including confusion, disorientation, delirium, agitation and listlessness.
Too much methionine also increases blood levels of another amino acid--homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine has been linked to heart disease.
The process of breaking down homocysteine increases your body's need for B vitamins, increasing the risk of B vitamin deficiency--even if your intake is adequate.
However, glycine from broths and cartilage can help break down homocysteine -- WITHOUT the need for B vitamins.
What Makes Bone Broth So Powerful?
REAL COLLAGEN direct from the source is the secret behind bone broth's immune-boosting properties.
You've probably seen that rather ugly looking jiggling top layer in your roasting pan and discarded it. Bad idea. You're throwing away probably the most nutritious part.
Collagen is the protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals. It's abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
- Gelatin (the breakdown of collagen) was one of the first functional foods, used as a medical treatment in ancient China...
- It helps people with food allergies and sensitivities tolerate those foods including cow's milk and gluten...
- Collagen protects and soothes the lining of the digestive tract and can aid in healing crohn's, IBS, ulcerative colitis (inflamed colon) and acid reflux...
- Gelatin promotes probiotic balance and growth...
- And it also provides bone-building minerals in easily absorbable ways, preventing bone loss and reducing joint pain.
Who else wants beautiful skin?
Here's another benefit: The collagen found in bone broth makes your skin super supple, even decreases cellulite!
How? Did you know cellulite comes from a lack of connective tissue? If someone's skin is ultra-smooth, it's because their skin is high in connective tissue. Consuming collagen-rich bone broth can increase connective tissue, reduce cellulite and tighten your skin, making you look not just years, but decades younger. Not only that, gelatin promotes healthy hair and nail growth.
The Magic of the Marrow
Broth made with marrow bones is especially beneficial. Because not only do you get the benefits of the bones, but you get all the good nutritional stuff inside them as well. There's no other place you can get marrow, except from the bones.
Bone marrow is an essential part of the immune system, containing cells necessary for immune function and bone growth. It's also what make bone broth tasty.
When you see a dog tearing through bones? It's the marrow it's really after. Vultures are known to fly up to great heights, clutching the bones, only drop them smashing on the rocks below, then swooping down to get access to the marrow.
Amino Acids that Heal
The gelatin in bone broth contains "conditional" amino acids arginine, glycine, glutamine and proline. These amino acids also contribute to bone broth's healing properties.
What are conditional amino acids? They're non-essential amino acids that become essential in some conditions. And your body doesn't produce them well if you're ill or stressed. However, the reason why this matters is because unhealthy Western diets... heavy on processed carbohydrates and low in quality grass-fed animal products make it likely that these amino acids are severely lacking.
So, what do these conditional amino acids do?
Arginine is vital for immune system and healing wounds. It's also needed for the production and release of growth hormone. Arginine regenerates damaged liver cells and is crucial in the production of sperm.
Glycine prevents the breakdown of muscle. It's used to make bile salts and glutathione. Glycine detoxifies the body and acts as a neurotransmitter that improves sleep, memory and performance.
Proline regenerates cartilage and heals joints. It gradually reduces cellulite making your skin more supple. Plus, proline helps repair leaky gut.
Aside from the benefits of all the proteins, gelatin, collagen and other nutrients in the marrow, bone broth is EXTREMELY high in minerals. Bone broth contains minerals in a form the body can easily absorb—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It also contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons--stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as super-expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain. We know these minerals leach out into the water, because of how frail and demineralized the bones become when the broth is cooked. And when you use chicken or fish, bones sometimes even entirely dissolve into the stock.
Because every batch of bones is different, it's impossible to know how much of these minerals is contained in the broth. The nutritional content of the broth will depend heavily on how the animal was raised... how many bones were used... whether there was any meat left on them... what part of the animal the bones were from... how long they were cooked... and at what temperature.
As a result, while it's impossible to tell how much there is of each mineral, just know THERE'S A LOT. It's one of the most mineral rich drinks there is. To be honest, when it comes to the benefits of bone broth, I'm just scratching the surface.
Maybe it's because of it's rather gross sounding name, but I believe bone broth has been largely ignored by not only the Paleo community, but modern society in general. It's a traversity, because there's probably no more nutritious, healing food.
There's amazingly little scientific research on bone broth itself. It's probably because of the variety of sources, how the animal was raised and what it ate, cooking methods and temperature. What is quite true however, is that many elements within bone broth are extremely beneficial. THIS, I believe, is what accounts for its REMARKABLE reputation.
Ultimate Wellness Broth
Have a cold or the flu? This will get you back on your feet fast.
One of the first things you'll notice are the "nuthin' fancy" ingredients. Bones... onions... carrots... celery... then whatever else you want. Many people add generous amount vegetables, herbs and spices. I like to add garlic to mine. It's great for healing the immune system.
Some who are aware of the healing power of gelatin will add chicken feet (I know "eww", but it's optional. In fact, my bet is when you're sick and can't shake a nasty cold, you'll try anything.)
WARNING: Why Store-Bought "Stock" is a Mistake
Ok, so at this point, you're starting to appreciate what you've been missing all these years without bone broth. But maybe you don't want to be bothered with the work of making it. Maybe you'd rather just buy it off the shelf. I would sincerely urge you to reconsider. Why? Because homemade bone broth is far more healthy for you than store bought.
With homemade, you can choose the healthiest sources for your broth, local, grass-fed, antibiotic, organic stock. However, store bought broth also contains preservatives, sodium and the most unhealthy of which is MSG.
The last thing you want is to compromise all that healthy nutrition with significant amounts of sodium and chemicals.
Eat what ails you
So if you're plagued by an autoimmune disease... inflammation... constant gut problems... or other chronic diseases... bone broth deserves a place in your diet.