Bone broth is a very old recipe, once used as something of a warming survival food in the harsher months of the year. It fortified them, along with some vegetables with a longer shelf life, with the basic nutrition they needed to combat the cold and stay alive, and the high content of omega 3 fatty acids in marrow make for a good brain food.
This, the digestive benefits they observed even then, and the fact that people in such times believed in wasting nothing, meant this was a mainstay in many cultures. In modern times, aside from certain traditional stew and soup bases, it’s fallen largely out of favor. This is due in no small part to the fact that many people consider bones to be off-putting overall.
However, in recent times, many dietitians and nutrition experts have been extolling the many benefits of simple bone broth, of which there are many.
What are the Health Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth?
Before we get into the multitude of health benefits this broth can provide, it’s important to point out that this is not a cure all nor a substitute for specially-formulated dietary supplements, nor especially for prescription medications where needed. There’s this tendency with many people, these days, to latch onto these legitimately helpful old-world solutions, and vastly overestimate their scope and medicinal capabilities. Don’t do that.
We’ll get to its biggest benefit in a moment (helping to prevent digestive problems such as leaky gut), but first, there are some other secondary benefits it can provide. For one, those whom suffer from joint pain or inflammation (such as rheumatoid arthritis or cartilage issues) may find that bone broth reduces these symptoms to some degree due to chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine.
It can also help to fight viral infections like rhinovirus (the cold), the flu, and other common unpleasant ailments. With its high content of glycine and proline, it also fights general inflammation, and can encourage better, more restful sleep. Finally, it promotes healthy bones, hair and nail grown. These latter two are due to resupplying necessary amino acids from cartilage.
Of course, the biggest benefit for which bone broth is lauded today is to help prevent leaky gut syndrome, thanks to hydrophilic colloid, which can help seal up intestinal lining.
Once more, though, while bone broth is an excellent supplement to help promote health in these ways, and in fighting some common ailments, it is not a cure for any of these. Always consult a doctor if you have severe enough symptoms from, well, anything!
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
This is a common illness that many people suffer, some without even realizing it (until symptoms become severe enough). The basic problem happening is, the cells that line the intestines are designed to allow processed, minute particles of food and nutrients through, into the blood stream. This is accomplished by special cells lining the intestines. Unfortunately, these cells can become less effective, allowing larger, less digested particles into the blood and into other parts of the body.
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While rarely lethal, the symptoms of leaky gut can be very unpleasant:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Severe Diarrhea/Constipation/Gas/Bloating
- Headaches, Brain Fog and Memory loss
- Arthritis/Joint Pain
- Depression or Anxiety
- Strong Sugar/Carbohydrate Cravings
Needless to say, this is an illness that is best avoided. While severe enough symptoms call for more powerful, clinical treatment, mild onset leaky gut can be treated fairly effectively with bone broth.
Regular, active consumption of bone broth by those whom do not already suffer from leaky gut syndrome very greatly reduce their chances of contracting this illness as well.
What are the Nutritional Facts of Bone Broth?
As pointed out earlier, there are multiple compounds in bone broth which are of high nutritional value to the human body. While it’s no substitute for scientifically-formulated supplements and a more substantial, balanced diet, it can be a great additional source for these:
- Hyrdophilic colloids for better digestion.
- Omega 3 fatty acids for a healthier nervous system.
- Chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine for joint health.
- Magnesium and calcium for healthier bones.
- Amino acids glycine, proline and arginine, which are excellent anti-inflammatories.
- Gelatin, which promotes healthy hair and nails.
- Natural salts and iron.
- Some protein, which is helpful when ill and solid foods can’t be kept down easily.
How to Make Bone Broth & the Bone Broth Recipe Basics
Even if you’re the furthest thing in the world from a culinary master, bone broth is very easy to make. Let’s take a look at the most basic possible recipe:
What you need:
- 3-4 pounds of beef bones (with marrow) and knuckle bones (with cartilage).
- 2 pounds of meaty bones (ribs or neckbones).
- ½ cup of white or apple cider vinegar.
- 4 quarts of fresh water.
- Iodized or sea salt.
- Place the bones in a crock pot or boiling pot with the water and vinegar, and let it sit for about an hour before cooking. This allows the vinegar to pull the minerals, amino acids etc. from the bones.
- Bring it to a boil, adding salt to taste, and let simmer cook for 24-72 hours. You may need to add water to it occasionally, if it tries to cook down.
- Let it cool, and then strain it, being sure all the marrow is out of the bones.
- Serve as-is. It can be refrigerated for up to 7 days, or frozen for later use.
Spicing it up:
- For a richer, more palatable broth, you can add onions, celery and carrots to the broth when you start to cook it and throw a handful of parsley in during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- You can add a little bit of spice such as garlic, thyme or basil.
How About a Broth for Vegetarians?
The problems with bone broth for vegetarians are pretty obvious. But there do exist vegan broths, right? Yes, broths made from certain grains and legumes do exist that can imitate the flavor and consistency of various broths. However, these do not usually contain many of the key substances that give bone broth its many health benefits.
It is possible to use these as a base however, and through vegetarian-friendly health supplement retailers, add the missing elements for a similar result, at least hypothetically.
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