Everyone is talking about bone broth, and for good reason! It's handy as a cup of healthy goodness that can be enjoyed all read round and magical on a cold winter morning, especially when the early symptoms of a cold or flu are coming on. It warms the body from the inside out with pure comfort and there's nutrition in every mouthful.
What Exactly Is Bone Broth
Bone broth is made from the slow-simmered bones of meat, poultry or fish. Typically, it's cooked slowly for a minimum of 24 hours to help remove as many minerals and nutrients as possible from the bones. It's most commonly consumed as a hot drink or added to food for additional flavour and nutrition.
Bone broth is prepared in cultures around the world as both a tasty, healthful soup and an easily digested medicinal food. It's the perfect addition to the diet of anyone who desires optimal health.
The Origins of Bone Broth
Before bowls or pots were even invented, soups and bone broths were served as a key way for human beings to absorb nourishing vitamins and minerals.
Bone broth dates back as far as the stone age. Hot stones were added to pouches made from animals allowing the meat, fat, bones and water to simmer. A more “modern" version can be found dating back 22,000 years ago in China, where pots were used on a fire to simmer the bones and meat creating a bone broth. There is also evidence of this technique being used in Europe more than 12,000 years ago.
Dehydrated bone broth can be dated back to the ninth century when Magyar Warriors would boil the beef bone broth and dry it for easy transport, then simply rehydrate with boiling water.
How Bone Broth Is Made
How bone broth is made today is still quite similar to the original method.
Here at Broth of Life, we start by placing our uncooked, organic bones in a large pot along with the organic vegetables. By using uncooked bones, the goodness of the marrow inside these bones can bring the bone broth up to it's full, nutrient dense potential. This means you are left with a richer, fuller tasting broth that is a powerhouse of healing awesomeness!
When cooking, the bone broth is bought to the boil very quickly and then just below a simmer for the duration of the cook time. We slow simmer our beef bone broth for 48 hours and 24 hours for the chicken bone broth. The reason for such a long, slow cook time is to extract maximum nutrients from the bones.
After it's been cooked, the broth is put into the fridge to set to make sure we've got a perfect "gelatiness" bone broth (you should be able to you can wobble it). It's then put into our commercial dehydrators which are exactly the same as the dehydrators you have in the household, only on a commercial scale.
The bone broth is dehydrated so all of the water is extracted and the full nutrient goodness remains. At this point it comes out looking like a big chip which we then "blitz" up into powder.
The powder is then packaged and can be eaten straight off the spoon, added to hot water for a warm cup of nourishing bone broth or sprinkled on salads, along with many other ways.
Bone broth is loaded with minerals, vitamins and amino acids making it ideal for gut health, joint health and the immune system.
It has an incredible range of health benefits including sealing a leaky gut, aiding in weight loss, tightening skin, strengthening nails and hair, relieving joint pain and arthritis, fixing a cold or flu, boosting immunity, assisting recovery from surgery….. and so many more!
The bone broth you select will determine what type of benefits you receive. They all have some benefits in common, but each has their individual strengths.
Beef bone broth or lamb bone broth are both good for arthritis, joints and muscles. Athletes might use one of these for muscle repair and conditioning. Beef is also ideal for helping your joints and recovering from surgery or similar conditions.
Beef bone broth is best for gut health due to it having a higher collagen and gelatin content. The gelatin helps seal a leaky gut by acting as a spack filler.
To explain this in more detail, our gut wall lining allows the good nutrients to go through into the bloodstream and keeps the bad stuff out of the bloodstream to be expelled from the body. When we have a leaky gut it's like we have a hole, meaning, the bad stuff is entering our bloodstream causing some issues. The gelatin content acts like a spatula and patches up that hole and stops all the bad stuff from entering the bloodstream.
Chicken bone broth also has these benefits, but it's especially good for respiratory conditions. It's particularly good for immune boosting when coming into the cold and flu season and also helps with asthma, hay fever and sinus.
What Is Bone Broth Collagen & Gelatin
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘glue’ that holds our bodies together. Collagen supports skin elasticity and moisture. It helps keep our skin, nails and hair healthy. By promoting elasticity, collagen encourages the regeneration of bones, tendons, cartilage and joints.
As babies, the collagen production in our bodies is high. As we age it naturally slows in production; reducing plumpness of the skin, causing wrinkles to appear, cartilage to weaken and joint pains to become more prominent. It makes sense that the one thing that depletes as we grow older is replaced somehow, and one of the best ways is through bone broth which is high in collagen.
Gelatin helps the body fight inflammation, improves digestion and creates digestive juices that make it easier for food to pass through the digestive tract. Gelatin consumption is well-known as a successful treatment for conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and Colitis. It is a gut healer and therefore a healer of our ‘second brain.’
Bone broth is the most efficient and natural way to consume gelatin.
The consumption of bone broth and the subsequent increase in collagen and gelatin levels means that we can promote a balanced amino acid profile within our bodies. Among the many other benefits that bone broth can offer, it’s collagen and gelatin levels give us a fighting chance against conditions like arthritis and inflammation.
You can check how much collagen and gelatin a bone broth contains by looking at the amino acids shown in the protein content on the label. A good bone broth will contain around 5 grams per 100.
The Difference Between Bone Broth & Stock
The big difference is the nutrient density and healing abilities found in bone broth compared to stock.
Stock is traditionally made with bones containing a small amount of meat. The bones are often roasted before simmering which greatly improves flavour, but reduces nutrient density. The bones are cooked at a high heat with fast cooking times (20 mins to 2 hours). This results in a watered down liquid lacking all the nutrients found in slow cooked bone broth.
Bone broth is typically cooked slowly for a minimum of 24 hours to help extract as many minerals and nutrients as possible from the bones. Bone broth is usually made with pieces of actual muscle meat, tendons and ligaments. This, combined with a long cooking time, gives it a richer fuller taste.
Bone Broth Flavours
When cooked correctly, bone broth tastes sensational. The taste of a bone broth depends on the bones it is made from.
Beef bone broth has a rich full flavour that is strong but not overpowering. Lamb bone broth has a strong meaty flavour and is a favourite for those that love slow cooked lamb shanks. Chicken bone broth, on the other hand, is a light mild flavour and better for those new to bone broth that are concerned about flavour.
Why Organic Is Important
Be sure to buy certified organic bone broth. This is very important as all the antibiotics, hormones and toxins that the animal has within it’s body are stored in the marrow of the bones.
Many people aren't aware that if the bones aren't organic, then you're dealing with cattle that have had antibiotics and have been injected. All of these toxins are extracted in the slow cooking process of bone broth as the toxins get stored in the bones and in the marrow of the animal. So if the bones aren't organic you're actually drinking those toxins which means it can actually be a non-beneficial product.
For beef bone broth, check that the cattle have been grass fed start to finish as this will also impact the nutrients and flavour of your bone broth.
How Often Should You Have Bone Broth
We recommend 1 - 2 tsp of bone broth per day.
There is of course no limit to how much can be consumed as this is purely a food item. It can do no harm.
When on a bone broth fast / detox or intermittent fasting, one can be drinking 10 cups a day, or more! When healing the gut it can be beneficial to have 6 cups a day. When starting out on GAPS or other histamine diets, it may be best to start slow with 1/2 teaspoon a day in dry format and build up to 1 cup a day in liquid form. (Please contact us for more information if required.)
What To Look For When Buying A Good Bone Broth
- Ingredients must be certified organic
- Product must not contain fillers
- The ingredients list should not contain contaminants
- No "padding" of the ingredient list
- Don't be fooled by the name of the product
Read the full article here for a detailed explanation of each point.
How To Use Bone Broth
The most common way to consume bone broth is to drink it as a hot beverage, but there are many more ways you can incorporate it into your diet.
It's the perfect base for soups and adds that extra punch and nutrition to stews. Bone broth is the perfect replacement for any recipe that calls for water, stock or wine guaranteeing flavour and boosted nutrient density.
Especially if you live in a hot climate, you may not want to have a hot drink of bone broth. In our cookbook, 'Cooking With Bone Broth', we have an extensive range of ways you can use it, from smoothies to desserts, to savoury meals. You can even use it as a seasoning by sprinkling some on salads!
Now that you have a good knowledge of bone broth, the only thing left to do is try it for yourself!
View our range here!