Bone broth has a long history of medicinal use. It's known to be warm, soothing, and nourishing for body, mind, and soul. In fact, now there are entire diets, such as the GAPS diet which addresses neurological and gut health and indeed even focuses on addressing gut micro biome in autism.
The earliest physician, Hippocrates, wrote about gut health and broth. Now we know from decades of studies that our immune system is dependent upon our gut health, our micribiome.
In fact, you could say modern medicine is just now rediscovering how the gut influences health and disease.
Many of our modern diseases are rooted in an unbalanced mix of microorganisms in your digestive system, courtesy of a diet that is too high in sugars and too low in healthful fats and beneficial bacteria. We also know that decades of antibiotic use, despite its innumerable benefits, have negatively impacted gut health and paradoxically the immune system it was meant to support.
Digestive problems and joint problems, in particular, can be successfully addressed using bone broth. But as noted by Dr. Kaayla Daniel, vice president of the Weston A. Price Foundation and coauthor (with Sally Fallon Morell) of the book, Nourishing Broth, bone broth is a foundational component of a healing diet regardless of what ails you.
How Broth Has Been Used Through the Ages
While our ancestors used to have a pot of soup continuously puttering over the hearth, this changed with the advent of the industrial revolution, at which point many poor people simply couldn't afford the fuel to keep the fire going.
Today, if you want truly high-quality bone broth or soup, you can make it yourself or look for suitable alternatives that may be more nutritionally dense than what you could make. While bone broth, after you make it, is actually a fast food it takes long hours to make. One efficient way to create your broth is to use a slow-cooker or crockpot. A broth like Best of the Bone is slow-cooked at low heat (maintaining the health of enzymes) for more than 48 hours. If you are making broth on your own you can put other ingredients into your pot, be it spices, herbs or vegetables and cook them for hours.
Note: If cooking yourself the marrow may be removed from the marrow bones a couple of hours into the cooking, (and can be used in other dishes or sauces or even as a spread for bread, French-style) If left for entire cooking period, the marrow will melt into the broth, resulting in a broth that is cloudy but highly nutritious. The number one question we get from first-time Best of the Bone users is “wow, the broth is cloudy, almost creamy”. Yes, because of the marrow - which has a large array of health benefits thanks to its high omega 3 content and enzymes unique to marrow that a University of Michigan study concluded improved digestive health.
Benefits of Bone Broth
Leaky gut is the root of many health problems, especially allergies, autoimmune disorders, and many neurological disorders. The collagen found in bone broth acts like a soothing balm to heal and seal your gut lining, and broth is a foundational component of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet, developed by Russian neurologist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
The GAPS diet is often used to treat children with autism and other disorders rooted in gut dysfunction, but just about anyone with suboptimal gut health can benefit from it.
Bone broth is also a staple remedy for acute illnesses such as cold and flu. Bone broth contains a variety of valuable nutrients in a form your body can easily absorb and use. This includes but is not limited to:
- Sulfur, magnesium, phosphorus, and other minerals
- Components of collagen and cartilage
- Silicon and other trace minerals
- Components of bone and bone marrow
- Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate
- The "conditionally essential" amino acids proline, glycine, and glutamine
These nutrients account for many of the healing benefits of bone broth, which include the following:
- Reduces joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage and collagen.
- Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses etc. Indeed, Dr. Daniel reports chicken soup — known as "Jewish penicillin"—has been revered for its medicinal qualities at least since Moses Maimonides in the 12th century. Recent studies on cartilage, which is found abundantly in homemade broth, show it supports the immune system in a variety of ways; it's a potent normalizer, true biological response modifier, activator of macrophages, activator of Natural Killer (NK) cells, rouser of B lymphocytes and releaser of Colony Stimulating Factor.
- Fights inflammation: Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects. Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis3 (whole-body inflammation). Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better. Furthermore, the gelatin from the broth reverses and heals leaky gut - where undigested microscopic food particles enter the blood stream - causing inflammation.
- Promotes strong, healthy bones: Dr. Daniel reports bone broth contains surprisingly low amounts of calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals, but she says "it plays an important role in healthy bone formation because of its abundant collagen. Collagen fibrils provide the latticework for mineral deposition and are the keys to the building of strong and flexible bones."
- Promotes healthy hair and nail growth, thanks to the gelatin in the broth. Dr. Daniel reports that by feeding collagen fibrils, broth can even eliminate cellulite too.
The more gelatinous the broth, the more nourishing it will tend to be. Indeed, the collagen that leaches out of the bones when slow-cooked is one of the key ingredients that make broth so healing.
All of these contain high amounts of collagen and cartilage. Shank or leg bones, on the other hand, will provide lots of bone marrow. Marrow also provides valuable health benefits. You can make bone broth using whole organic chicken, whole fish or fish bones (including the fish head), pork, or beef bones such as Best of the Bone.
If you're using chicken, you can place the entire chicken, raw, into a pot and cover with water. Add a small amount of vinegar to help leach the minerals out of the bones. Alternatively, you can use the carcass bones from a roasted chicken after the meat has been removed.
A critical aspect of the broth-making process is to make sure you're getting as high-quality bones as you can - that means grass-fed bones and if using chicken or beef they should not be anywhere near a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) as this results in an entirely different food product, missing out on nutritional elements and subjecting your food to chemicals, hormones and pesticides.
Interestingly, chickens raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) tend to produce chicken stock that doesn't gel, so you'll be missing out on some of the most nourishing ingredients if you use non-organic chicken bones. If you can't find a local source for grass-fed bones, you may need to order them. OR, again, the certified grass-fed bones sourced by Best of the Bone and cooked for 48 hours means the cooking and shopping has been done for you and your family. Sample Beef Broth Recipe.
Bone broth made at home is very economical. As is Best of the Bone at less than $1 per serving. Broth also allows you the flexibility to use leftovers with your broth in a nice soup or sauces.
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