With autumn upon us, our bodies naturally crave warmer foods. Who doesn’t love that sensation of hot, hardy food in their belly? It warms you from the inside out, and helps you feel cozy even when the weather outside gets nasty…
But what about physical benefits? How can we treat ourselves to warm, wholesome food that’s also going to provide our bodies with the essentials of good health?
The short answer: bone broth.
What Is Bone Broth?
Bone broth, unlike store-bought stock or broth from a jug or can, is homemade stock actually made from bones, meat, vegetable, spices, etc. – and also unlike the packaged alternatives, retains the important nutrition from its ingredients!
It’s a traditional food, made for generations as a low-cost, richly healthy meal (or base for other meals), typically compiled from leftover ingredients – the bones of meat already eaten, “inedible” parts of animals, etc.
Today, however, bone broth is still extremely popular as a true superfood, as well as a staple of many high-class restaurants and culinary masters. Not only is real, homemade bone broth extremely delicious, its health benefits are undeniable!
Bone Broth and Your Body
With benefits ranging from gut health to immune system functionality, hair and skin health to reducing joint pain, bone broth has something to offer nearly everyone – not to mention that it’s tasty and warms your body on a fall day!
Bone broth is great for:
- People who abstain from eating grain or gluten
- People suffering from digestive problems
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers
- High-intensity athletes
- People suffering with joint inflammation and/or osteo-skeletal issues
Bone broth’s numerous health benefits stem from the ingredients. Because it’s made with actual animal bones, it contains collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine – all released as the bones break down during the simmering process. These proteins contribute to digestive health, nervous system function, help regulate blood sugar, and even help with wound healing.
Glycine converts to serine, a neurotransmitter that reduces stress and boosts memory, mood, and alertness.
The broth also contains high levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and other minerals – contributing to healthier bones, teeth, hair, and nails (among other benefits).
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Studies have shown that rich broths help fight respiratory inflammation (one of the reasons chicken soup is great for colds), contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates (which reduces joint inflammation and helps with arthritis), and can even reduce allergy symptoms.
As you can see, bone broth is one serious health food!
How Do You Eat Bone Broth?
This mega-nutritious and heartwarming superfood has a whole range of uses. The simplest, of course, is to replace your morning cup of coffee with a cup of warm bone broth! You can add a little salt, garlic, or turmeric for flavor.
A bit of bone broth in the morning will put some pep in your step like that jolt of caffeine, but instead of crashing a short while later, this is energy that will stay with you (and benefit your body too).
Bone broth can also be used in a variety of cooking contexts, from the base of soups and stews to braising meats and vegetables.
To give you an idea of what’s possible with delicious, nutritious bone broth, here are a few recipes from around the web:
Chickpea, Pumpkin, and Sage Stew (via Food52)
Beef Pot Roast with Winter Root Vegetables (via Nourished Kitchen)
Braised Root Vegetables and Cabbage with Fall Fruit (via Food & Wine)
You can also use bone broth to cook noodles or rice, or as a substitute for any stock/broth in recipes you know and love!
Let’s Make Some Bone Broth!
- 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source
- 2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- Optional: 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon or more of sea salt, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, additional herbs or spices to taste. I also add 2 cloves of garlic for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Adding an acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) will help to extract minerals from the bones.
Simmer bones for:
- Beef broth/stock: 48 hours
- Chicken or poultry broth/stock: 24 hours
- Fish broth: 8 hours
For a little extra help, find a great tutorial from Mommypotamus here.
It’s best to use organic, grass fed bones. Check the freezer of your local grocer, or get in touch with your favorite butcher!
Bone broth is the perfect staple of the autumn and winter diet. It will help keep you healthy and cozy throughout the cooler months of the year. Experiment with your own recipes to find what tastes best to your palate, and start enjoying the benefits of bone broth right away!