In a word, bone broth is simply magic. It's a multivitamin, a medicine for all kinds of ailments, and a delicious food all wrapped up in one. It keeps you healthy, helps you recover when sick, one of the most nourishing foods on the planet and ridiculously easy to make.
As an Asian medicine practitioner, I've been prescribing bone broth for years because it's considered a cornerstone in the pantheon of "food as medicine". However, it can be somewhat intimidating - especially if your stove happens to be where you store your pots rather than where you use them. It's worth cranking up the slow cooker and brothing like you're on a mission since it's a concentrated form of nature's love in a hot pot.
Let's start with the 10 reasons why bone broth needs to be brought back as a kitchen staple and the easiest bone broth recipe EVER.
10 Reasons Why Bone Broth is Magic
1. Reduces Inflammation: There are specific components in bone broth that reduce systemic inflammation; chondroitin sulfate is a structural component of cartilage and has been found to improve inflammatory conditions. Bone broth also contains large amounts of the amino acids glycine and proline. Both of these amino acids are extremely anti-inflammatory.
2. Aids Digestion: The gelatin in bone broth is soothing to the digestive track and actually helps repair the mucousal lining. It also helps break down the protein and fat from foods, making them easier to digest.
2. Heals Leaky Gut: Leaky gut shows up in the form of food allergies, autoimmune conditions, asthma, skin conditions, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue and more. Leaky gut goes largely undiagnosed and affects a large part of the population due to poor food choices, stress, environmental toxins, overuse of NSAIDS, antibiotics, and other medications.
Because the gelatin in bone broth heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract, bone broth is the single best food item you can eat to heal and seal your gut! Leaky gut is when your intestinal lining is weak and permeable, allowing undigested food particles or bacteria to leak from your gut into the bloodstream. Because these things don't belong in the blood stream, the body sees these food particles as invaders and goes on the attack.
Bone broth helps heal gut permeability. When your digestive system is healed and working well, you absorb and digest nutrients properly.
4. Increases Mineral Consumption: Unfortunately, the human body cannot manufacture its own minerals and therefore must get them through food. However, just because you're consuming minerals doesn't mean you're absorbing them. Most minerals are only moderately absorbed even when digestion is optimal. Due to everything from long term consumption of processed food to soil depletion, many people are mineral deficient. Because our biology is wired to consume food rather than supplements, bone broth offers things such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals in a form that our body can easily absorb.
5. Helps your Liver Detox: One of the liver's job's is to clean toxins from the body. The liver's ability to detox toxins efficiently is limited to the amount of glycine available; one of the richest source's of glycine is gelatin rich bone broth! We need to consume ample amounts of glycine the liver has the resources to do its job properly.
6. Helps Joint and Muscle Pain: The specific amino acids in bone broth, glycine and proline, are needed to build muscle, repair tissue and lessen inflammation. Bone broth is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin, two supplements many people take for joint pain relief. The latest studies have shown that the gelatin in bone broth provides almost immediate relief to joint pain. The glycine in gelatin speeds wound healing, helps stiff joints and promotes recovery.
7. Fights infections: Bone broth provides a rich source of minerals and amino acids that supply the body with raw materials to rebuild stronger and healthier cells. Bone broth also boosts antioxidant activity in the body.
8. Smooths Skin: As we age, our collagen production decreases. Bone broth is rich in collagen along with proteins found in flesh and connective tissues. Skin becomes smoother and more supple when there’s an abundance of connective tissue.
9. Helps Repair and Grow Bones: The large amounts of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in bone broth helps our bones grow and repair.
10. Assists with Sleep: Research has shown that consuming gelatin before bed helps induce sleep due to the amino acid glycine. Glycine plays an important role in the neurotransmitters within the brain, therefore bone broth not only improves sleep quality, but helps reduce daytime sleepiness and improves your memory during waking hours.
The Easiest Bone Broth Recipe EVER
- 5-8 pounds of grass-fed organic beef soup bones. I get mine at the Union Square farmer's market from Misty Brook Farms or Elk Ridge Farms. Most butchers will have bones on hand - but if doing this to help repair your gut, it's important that the bones are organic so you're not cooking unknown toxins into the broth.
- Vegetable scraps and/or fresh veggies. I keep carrot peelings, onion tops, and celery ends in a bag in the freezer. Veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, turnips, brussels sprouts and beets will give a bitter taste to the broth.
- Good old fashioned filtered water
- 2 Tbsp Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar
- 2-3 Tbsp Peppercorns
- 2 Tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Tsp Sesame Oil
- Rinse and clean the bones under clean water. Pat them dry.
- Roast the bones at 400 ° F for an hour until the bones are browned and yummy smelling. I put them on a rack in the pan so the fat drains off. Roasting and draining guarantees the beef stock will be flavorful; otherwise you may get an off-taste to the stock.
- Add the bones to a big pot along with any vegetable scraps you might have. Fresh veggies are great as well - additional garlic, leeks, and mushrooms will add awesome flavor.
- Add enough filtered water to cover the bones and veggies; bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the vinegar, bay leafs, peppercorns and sesame oil.
- Turn down the heat to a simmer for at least 4 hours. The even MORE delicious alternative is to throw everything into a large crock pot and let it run for about 24 hours.
- Throughout the cooking process, skim off any foam and add water as needed.
- When the stock is finished simmering, allow it to cool before filtering through a fine mesh seive and bottle in mason jars. The stock will settle and the fat should rise to the top.
- You can pick off the fat and use it for cooking or toss it; scoop out the gelled stock and reheat to serve as soup.
I like to put whatever I'll be consuming within 48 hours in the fridge, everything else gets put in ice cube trays in the freezer while it's still lukewarm before it's had a chance to separate. Once it's frozen, I pop the cubes into a freezer bag which means I can defrost a single serving for just myself or a larger serving when cooking for family or guests.
The peppercorns keep the stock balanced and assist in helping the body to digest the broth. It provides a beautiful base for anything I'm using it for; in order to use it to heal the gut and build blood, you need to get between 2-3 quarts a week into you. You can add the broth to any dish that you would normally add water to such as risotto, oatmeal, or quinoa. It adds a wonderful flavor and you'll be surprised how quickly you consume your 3 quarts.
You can always add turmeric, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cilantro, cayenne, paprika, rosemary, garlic or whatever other flavors you're craving.
Still a bit overwhelmed or squeamish but dying to try it? If you're in NYC, head over to the website The Simple Broth; in October of 2015, I dreamed with fellow acupuncturist Chris Chen and we started a company where you can order home made bone broth - we would love nothing more than to make it for you.