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Bone broth has quickly become one of the most popular health-boosting additions to the kitchen table over the past 3-4 years.
But it’s not a new health fad.
In fact, throughout history societies have used bone broths extensively in their cooking.
From chicken soup to beef stew, bone broths were a staple of traditional diets in nearly every culture.
Bone broth was valued by traditional cultures because it’s packed with nutrients, easy to digest, rich in flavor, and loaded with restorative amino acids.
Preparing bone broths was also a way to use every part of the animal. So nothing was wasted.
In many ways, it’s a lost art. We’ve abandoned our traditional diet. And now it’s replaced with processed and packaged foods.
Only now, centuries later, are we realizing that there are significant health benefits to consuming bone broth.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth, or stock, is made from boiling and then simmering bones, organs, marrow, ligaments, cartilage, and feet over a couple days.
Most recipes use an acid such as apple cider vinegar to help these components break down.
The slow simmer causes the bones and other components to release a wide range of healing compounds that we don’t normally get in our diet.
What Makes Bone Broth So Healthy?
Our eating habits and farming techniques have dramatically changed since the pre-industrial era (before factories, mass-production, etc.).
Today it’s a lot less common to see people using the whole animal.
I bet if you mentioned liver or chicken feet to anyone, you’ll likely get a disgusted look in return.
That’s because we have strayed from our traditional cooking techniques. So it sounds alien.
The problem is, combined with unhealthy eating habits, many of us are severely deprived of nutrients that keep us healthy such as…
All of which can be found in bone broth.
But that’s not all.
According to the researchers at the Weston A. Price Foundation, bone broth also contains minerals that are easily absorbed by your body (1).
Normally your body has a tough time getting minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, and phosphorus.
In bone broth, however, these minerals are readily absorbed by your digestive system.
With all the nutrients found in bone broth, it makes perfect sense that it delivers some impressive health benefits.
1. Heals The Gut
There’s a seemingly endless list of substances today that can cause damage to your gut.
Between the pesticides in our food, overuse of antibiotics, and chemicals in processed foods, our gut is under attack more than ever.
Fortunately, the gelatin found in bone broth fantastic for healing the gut.
Gelatin heals the gut by repairing the intestinal lining and reducing inflammation caused by gut-related disease and food sensitivities.
One report in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, for example, found that gelatin can effectively boost intestinal health, integrity, and reduce intestinal inflammation (2).
Studies have also shown that people have digestive issues often have lower levels of collagen (3). And as you may recall, collagen is another component of bone broth.
2. Promotes Healthy Joints
The cartilage in your joints (along with some other structures) ensures your joints are well protected.
But this cartilage degrades as we age.
Over time, it can cause your bones to scrape up against one another every time you move. And as you could imagine, this causes a considerable amount of pain.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to give your body the materials it needs to repair and maintain your joints.
Bone broth is packed with substances that can help maintain your joints such as
Collagen and chondroitin, for example, are some of the building blocks used to construct cartilage.
When you introduce these substances to the body, your joints can heal.
These joint-nurturing substances can make a big difference in your overall joint health and there’s evidence to prove it.
One study, for instance, tested the effects of collagen on the joint health of athletes (4).
After 24 weeks, the athletes noticed significant improvements in joint comfort and their athletic performance.
The study authors concluded that collagen is an effective way to support joint health and prevent joint deterioration.
3. Boosts the Immune System
What’s the number one food you crave when you’re feeling under the weather?
I bet it’s a warm bowl of chicken soup.
And it turns out there’s a real reason behind your chicken soup cravings: it boosts the immune system and soothes the gut.
Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center were curious if there was any truth behind the immune system and chicken soup connection (5).
To their surprise, they discovered that the amino acids (building blocks of protein) found in chicken broth could reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and boost the immune system.
In other words, bone broth can help you feel better and fight illness.
So it seems there’s a reason your body craves soup when you’re sick after all!
4. Keeps Your Skin Looking Healthy and Young
Collagen is a protein your body uses extensively to keep your skin healthy.
Without it, our skin would gradually lose elasticity and its healthy color. In other words, you would look older.
Normally our body can produce enough collagen to keep our skin healthy and wrinkle-free.
Well…until our 20th birthday at least.
According to the Scientific American, after the age of 20, our bodies produce “about 1 percent less collagen in the skin each year. As a result, the skin becomes thinner and more fragile with age” (6).
The good news is bone broth is packed with collagen.
5. Promotes Tissue Regeneration
The cells and tissues in our bodies are constantly dying off as new cells take their place.
But sometimes our bodies have a hard time keeping up with producing enough new tissues and cells.
For example, if you completed an intense cardio or weight-lifting session at the gym, your body is going to need time to repair your muscles and several other tissues involved in the workout.
If your body lacks the required materials to repair the damaged tissue, it’s going to take a lot longer to recover from the workout.
Glutathione is one of those tissue repair materials, and bone broth is full of it.
One study featured in the US National Library of Medicine found that glutathione plays a critical role in creating new cells, protein & DNA synthesis, and keeping the immune system in tip-top shape (7).
6. Helps The Body Detoxify
Today’s world is riddled with toxins.
We’re constantly exposed to heavy metals like mercury, cancerous chemicals like glyphosate, and an overwhelming number of other toxins.
Our bodies have natural systems in place to isolate these toxins and rid them from the body.
But it can only handle so much.
And since toxins are hiding around every corner, our natural detox system gets easily overwhelmed. This is when toxins start to accumulate in the body and cause big problems.
Luckily, bone broth is a powerful detoxifier for several reasons
- Helps the digestive system expel waste more efficiently
- Improves your liver’s ability to filter toxins from the blood
- Contains glycine which stimulates the production of glutathione—known as the body’s master antioxidant (8). Glycine also protects the liver from becoming oxygen starved, or hypoxia (9).
- Glutathione is also needed for the liver’s detoxification process (phase II) which is important for preventing toxin accumulation (10).
7. Boosts Brain Health
We use our brain for so much, but how often do we return the favor by giving it nutrients to thrive?
With a healthy brain, you can have a better memory, think more clearly, have stronger willpower, have monk-like focus, and much more.
I think it’s safe to say anyone would be happy to have more of these qualities (including myself).
Well, it turns out that bone broth has several compounds that can improve your brain’s functioning and mood.
Glycine, for example, is one of the most important inhibitory neurotransmitters.
Simply put, glycine can help cognitive performance, regulates how your brain uses energy, and some studies even suggested that glycine can dilate the micro vessels in the brain.
This means glycine can improve circulation in the brain (11).
Bone broth also contains chondroitin, which is shown to have an important role in regeneration and plasticity in the central nervous system (12).
8. Combats Mental Illness and Helps You Sleep
It’s possible that bone broth can help prevent or even cure mental illness. All thanks to its high glycine content.
There’s a ton of evidence out there on this, so I’m just going to summarize it for you here:
- Glycine can help treat obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults (13).
- Glycine is shown to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia (14).
- Depression is associated with decreased levels of glycine (15).
Glycine is ultimately associated with relaxation, and decreased anxiety.
That being said, it makes sense to learn that studies find that glycine supplementation can significantly improve the quality of your sleep (16).
9. Protects The Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States (16). That’s why eating foods that improve your heart health is a surefire way to extend your lifespan.
And bone broth is one of these foods.
In fact, studies indicate that glycine found in bone broth can significantly reduce the severity of heart attacks (17).
Glycine also counters the negative effects of methionine—found in meats and eggs.
When your diet is high in methionine-rich food, it can significantly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and vitamin B deficiencies (18).
My point is, you can suffer from the effects of too much methionine if you don’t get enough glycine.
Complete List of Bone Broth Nutrients
Bone broth is chock-full of nutrients including a host of minerals and 17 different amino acids. Both of which are responsible for its rejuvenating effects.
The exact nutrients found in bone broth can vary depending on the type of bones used, simmer time, and whether or not other ingredients are used.
I always suggest making your own unless you get a very high quality brand because it’s typically much richer in the following nutrients:
Arginine: An amino acid that’s essential for a healthy immune system and wound healing. It’s also needed for the production of growth hormone, liver cell regeneration, and the production of sperm.
Chondroitin & Glucosamine: Chondroitin and glucosamine are some of the components that make up cartilage, which is the structure that acts like a cushion between joints. They are also a component of tendons and ligaments. Since they are the building blocks of these structures, chondroitin and glucosamine can significantly improve the health of your joints. In fact, studies show that taking a chondroitin and glucosamine supplement can significantly reduce pain from arthritis and improve joint mobility (19). But I usually recommend bone broth since it’s much cheaper than these supplements.
Collagen: Collagen makes up for a whopping 30% of the protein in your body (20). It’s needed to build and preserve healthy cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, and skin. Which is why you will often see collagen supplements for joints or promoting healthy skin—as you age, the level of collagen in your body decreases which can make your skin lose its youthful look.
Gelatin: When bones are simmered down to make bone broth, some of the collagen in the cartilage transforms (hydrolyzes) into gelatin. It acts very similar to collagen and it is the compound that’s responsible for the gelatinous consistency of broth or stock once it has cooled.
Glycine: Glycine is an amino acid (building block of protein) that makes up for more than a third of collagen. It also acts as a neurotransmitter, which are chemicals that help the brain with communication and signaling.
Glutamine: Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid. This means your body sometimes won’t produce enough of it on its own. It’s the most abundant amino acid in your blood and responsible for a wide range of functions including protein synthesis, maintaining a pH balance in your kidneys, a source of cellular energy, and much more.
Proline: Proline is another amino acid found in the structure of collagen. Your body is only able to produce proline in small amounts. So if you don’t get proline through your diet, you could be starving your body of this important amino acid. A deficiency may not cause a lot of issues, but it’s good to give your body everything it needs to run efficiently.
Bone marrow: Have you ever broken open a chicken bone or looked at the center of a beef bone? Inside you will see a deep red color substance. This is red bone marrow. It’s where new immune cells and red blood cells are manufactured. Towards the outside of the red bone marrow lies yellow bone marrow which contains healthy fats (21). Both red and yellow bone marrow are responsible for bone broth’s rich taste. Marrow is also associated with several health benefits including a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity-related cancers (22).
Minerals: Bone broth is full of minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Your body needs these minerals for a wide range of processes. Please note that bone broth won’t contain minerals unless it’s made with an acid such as apple cider vinegar.
Where You Get Your Bone Broth Matters
Depending on how busy our life is, you can either buy pre-made bone broth or make it yourself.
Whichever decision you make, there’s a few rules you should always follow.
- Bones must be organic and pasture-raised (wild-caught if you’re using fish bones).
- If buying the broth, make sure it’s in glass or a BPA-free container.
- Make sure it’s slow-simmered for at least 24 hours.
- Use roasted bones rather than raw for broth. Raw bones will result in a disgusting broth in all honesty.
Where to Buy Bone Broth
If you’re a busy body and would prefer to just buy your bone broth, these are the brands I suggest:
How to Make Bone Broth
If you want to protect your wallet, I would recommend making your own bone broth.
To save even more money, I usually save the chicken or beef bones from every meal instead of buying the bones. So if I make a whole roasted chicken, I’ll save and freeze the carcass along with the bones.
Once I have enough bones to make a broth, I’m good to go.
Alright, I’ve done plenty of rambling in this post, so let’s get right to the recipes. A shout out to the Weston A. Price foundation for this recipe. I’m a huge fan of what they stand for.
Bone Broth Recipe
Chicken Stock / Broth
The Bottom Line
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense food packed with an impressive list of health benefits.
Unfortunately, you can’t just get any ordinary bone broth at to the store to take advantage of the health benefits. Most store-bought broths or stocks are filled with artificial flavorings, additives, and made with low quality ingredients.
There are, however, a few brands that do produce high-quality bone broth (I mentioned them a few sections up).
You can either get it from these brands or, make it yourself.
So what are you waiting for? Give bone broth a try and see the difference it can make in your life