How and Why to Drink Bone Broth – Benefits and Recipe!
May 22, 2019
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So you’ve heard of bone broth, a so-called “superfood”. It’s made a comeback. Why? Well, here is how and why to drink bone broth (amazing health benefits and easy recipe tips).
It’s a fine day here in the UK and no better time to write about my favourite hot beverages! If you’re ready, we’re going to dive in and explore today’s article: “How and Why to Drink Bone Broth”.
Bone broth is an amazingly healthy broth (or stock) made by simmering bones and preferably connective tissues for long periods of time.
This time is mostly between 24 – 48 hours.
It is often made with a variety of garden and root vegetables such as carrots, onion, garlic, celery, and potatoes along with a variety of herbs and spices.
This amazing dietary staple has been present in many cultures for thousands of years, but unfortunately is less common now in some. Similar to nutrient-dense organ meats…
I love bone broth and try to drink it every day! It’s brilliant for so much and there are many reasons to drink it or include it in your favourite recipes.
In this post, I will also talk about how to make your own bone broth (which will save money and allow for personal recipes), and the best places to get different types of bones and healthy connective tissues.
(P.S. This is great for those on a ketogenic, paleo, or gluten-free diet… Not so much for a vegetarian diet though!)
Benefits and WHY You Should Drink It!
There is much to talk about when it comes to the benefits of bone broth, so below I’ve compiled a list of some of the best reasons to consume it more often!
For the benefits listed below, bone broth is often attributed to being “anti-aging” – and it really may be!
As I discussed in my post about the best foods to boost longevity, this is especially true if we can get this beneficial ingredient into to our diets whilst we are young. However, it is still highly beneficial for those in adulthood and later ages.
Bone broth is also a great natural wholefood alternative to expensive supplements, such as those containing ‘glucosamine‘ and ‘collagen hydrolysate‘.
Disclaimer: Although bone broth certainly is healthy, there is much potential misinformation about it out there, including unbacked claims that it can cure digestive ailments. It may benefit digestive health, but with a lack of research, it should not be relied on for this. Furthermore, make sure to source your bones carefully, as toxins may build up in the bones of some animals. More on that later.
1. Bone, Connective Tissue, and Joint Health
Naturally, it makes sense to start that is the most obvious benefit of drinking bone broth: It is good for our bones! Just as much so, it is brilliant for tendons, ligaments, organs, joints and all connective tissue in between.
Bone broth contains high amounts of collagen, molecules called glucosaminoglycans, and other proteins.
These proteins include glycine and proline, and along with bone broth’s other components, are important building blocks of collagen.
Collagen is a family of proteins which are vital for building connective tissue (the stuff that holds our body together), and it is the most abundant protein type in animals, comprising about 30% of the human total protein content! Along with this, our bones are made up of between 20-40% collagen.
These proteins have a natural tropism for cartilage – meaning that when we absorb them they know exactly where to go!
They actually go to work anywhere that our collagen is, and are sent to the places in the body that we need them the most. Extraordinarily, they can attract up to 1,000 times their own weight in water, which helps to keep our skin smooth, our joints supple, and our tendons strong and elastic!
Another important building block of healthy connective tissue, found in our skin, joints, and organs, is elastin! As the name suggests, elastin provides the elasticity (“bounce” and “stretch”) in our body. Consuming bone broth to boost elastin may therefore prevent and combat wrinkles! Additionally, it could boost the recovery process of connective tissues, making injuries and wounds heal faster!
These components of bone broth often help to give it a gelatinous texture. (much like that of jelly!)
This property of bone broth is often attributed in large to collagen hydrolysate (gelatin), which is powerful for protecting – and stimulating the growth of – all of the above ingredients of healthy connective tissue.
Additionally, bone broth also contains minerals that are important for the health of our bones, tendons, joints, organs, and skin.
These include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. These can be added to, and so can the vitamin content of bone broth, with the addition of vegetables.
Do note that it is slightly low in calcium, however. A glass of milk is a better source.
By consuming bone broth, not only our we also potentially protecting our skin from the damage of UV, but studies have shown its component Type II Collagen to be effective in arthritis treatment.
Apart from benefits to connective tissue, bone broth may also be a powerful anti-inflammatory. In particular, it may help to fight free radicals, boost the immune system, and protect our cells (cytoprotection).
Remember how I said that bone broth containing other proteins? Well, part of these is the simplest amino acid: L-Glycine (or just ‘glycine’).
A well-cited review article published from North Carolina suggests that glycine may help to prevent stress-induced gastric ulcers and those caused chemically. Furthermore, it may prevent tissue damage in organs and skeletal muscles caused by a lack of oxygen.
The same article mentions that glycine actively suppresses inflammatory cells and their actions. One way this is achieved is by preventing the formation of harmful free radicals and cytokines.
This is beneficial because, although inflammation is a natural response and is healthy in small amounts, chronic inflammation – which is responsible for much of modern disease – is particularly harmful and has been linked to many illnesses:
- Heart disease
- Many more…
Glycine is also important for detoxification (an important regulator of inflammation), which has led to some claims saying that bone broth may be a good “detox food”.
However, there is little research to back this, so for now we cannot say for sure. Additionally, since some bones from animals (such as grain-fed and caged chickens) may contain a buildup of toxins, this would mostly apply to properly sourced bones.
3. Weight Loss and High Protein Content
Naturally, consuming bone broth regularly will increase protein intake considerably.
Because of this, it may be good for those trying to lose weight as protein is very filling. In fact, of all three main macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates), it is the best at reducing appetite.
By suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin, and boosting the levels of hormones that help you feel full, higher protein intake is an effective method for reducing calorie intake.
Additionally, protein may significantly boost energy metabolism, particularly on a high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet. This helps to burn fat and increase the amount of calories used in a given day.
Another great benefit of the protein content in bone broth is its positive effect on the skeletal system. (This is a bonus way in which it benefits bone health!)
Protein and Calcium – What Is the Truth?
Despite popular belief, protein will not leach significant calcium levels from your bones due to its acidity.
This is only a possibility for those taking in too much protein, which increases the amount of calcium lost through urine… Bone broth has nowhere near such an amount!
The majority of research points to the beneficial effects of higher protein intake when it comes to maintaining the calcium levels in bones and preventing osteoporosis. This is especially true for the elderly and postmenopausal women.
Multiple studies reviews demonstrate this 1,2, and they’re not alone.
The most well-known added benefit of protein in bone broth is its possibility to increase muscle mass and boost muscle repair and help to boost the health of organs and the brain.
On that note, it’s a revered food item amongst bodybuilders! If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, bone broth is your best friend.
Not to mention, simmering bones and drinking the delicious result? That still provides a little extra calcium itself.
How to Drink Bone Broth
Onto the next part of our article, how should you actually drink bone broth? Especially if it comes out as a gel… That would be difficult to swallow! (Literally!)
Firstly, let me say that there are many ways to include this versatile ingredient in your daily routine.
You can make your own or buy it online. Kettle & Fire provide high quality bone broth from organic, grass-fed cattle and free-range chicken.
Personally, I love to scoop or pour it into a mug and heat it in the microwave for a few minutes or so, sprinkle with pepper, and enjoy!
It really is that simple, and for those concerned with caffeine intake, having a daily “bone broth cuppa” instead of that coffee is a great choice.
In cooking, bone broth works effectively as any sort of stock or stock cube would.
It can be used to add a rich, umami flavour and nutrients to soups, stews, and anything else where water and seasonings are used!
For those with dairy intolerance, it also works as a brilliant alternative for butter. In one of my favourite books ‘Deep Nutrition’ by Dr Catherine Shanahan, there was even mention of a chef who used it as a butter substitute when making things like mash potatoes!
His son – as you can imagine – grew up to excel physically throughout his ages.
So when it comes to how to drink bone broth, here are some ideas (don’t feel the need to limit yourself here, though):
- Drink it hot
- Add it to protein smoothies
- Use it as soup stock
- Cook rice, potatoes, and vegetables in it
- Freeze into handy stock cubes
- Replace butter with it (if dairy intolerant)
- Substitute it for gelatin (after all, it is gelatin)
How Often to Drink Bone Broth?
Honestly, for the best benefits it is best to include it as much as you can into your diet! Drinking 3 cups a day is recommended for medicinal effects when it comes to bone, joint, tendon, and skin health.
Either way, drinking it even once a day or a few times a week, and adding it into your cooking is a brilliant way to benefit from its amazing nutrition!
How to Make Your Own
When making your own bone broth, it is important to source your bones properly if you’re going to use it regularly. I mentioned before that certain toxins can build up in the bones of some animals – particularly conventionally raised poultry and livestock. These toxins include lead and the products of hormone injections.
In order to get bones of the best quality in health, nutrition, and taste, you should purchase your animal bones from organic, grass-fed, and pastured (UK Free-Range) butchers, or online health food stores.
Abel & Cole have quality beef bones and poultry carcasses for fair prices.
Your local butchers may also do bones of this kind, and all you need to do is go in and ask them! If they don’t, getting to know your local farmers or going to a meat market where you might be able to find this quality, or sourcing online are your best choices.
Your best bets – in order – are:
- Organic Grass-Fed & Pastured / Free Range
- Organic Grass-Fed
- Organic Pastured / Free Range
- Pastured / Free Range
- Organic Conventional*
When collecting leftover bones from a local butchers or fishmongers, you will very likely get them for free or for a very little price.
Most animal bones work well, including those from beef, lamb, pork, and non oily-fish!
The best bones are generally the smaller ones with the most cartilage and connective tissue on them. These include all sorts of joint bones. The cartilage and connective tissue should be white and shiny.
If you decide to use fish bones, you will only need to cook the broth for roughly 3-8 hours.
The Most Effective Appliance & Method
For bone broth, a slow cooker is your best bet when cooking! It saves money and time, improves nutrition, and is less messy.
I spoke about the benefits of slow cookers in my last post and gave some recommendations. It’s easily my most-used appliance for all sorts of healthy cooking!
Read More: Why to Use a Slow Cooker
Otherwise, simmering your bones overnight for at least 12 hours works pretty well, too. This does cost more and will require closer attention, but is effective nonetheless.
You want to cook it on ‘Low’ in a slow cooker for 24-72 hours on average.
When it comes to recipes, there are many online and in books which are easy to follow, delicious, and healthy! An excellent starting point is with Kettle & Fire’s Beef Bone Broth Recipe (You can also use other bones).
If you decide to mix up your own ingredients but don’t know where to start, simply choose vegetables and herbs and spices which will go well with the meat of the bones that you are cooking:
An example would be adding a lot of onions, garlic, and mint into a lamb bone broth!
On the other hand, vegetables like potatoes and leeks work particularly well with fish bones.
Note one unexpected thing, and that is that most people do not like the smell of bone broth as it cooks! It is a rather powerful smell, and whilst a lot of people might be able to tolerate it, it’s certainly not ideal all the time, more so if you’ve got company over.
There are multiple ways to work around this, including cooking your broth in large batches so you don’t have to do it often, cooking it using a slow cooker in the garage or shed (which is what I do!), or cooking it when other people aren’t in the house (if using a slow cooker) or at night.
Thank You for Reading!
Anyway, that’s it for this post, I really hope you enjoyed some reading this and learnt about the benefits of going fast. It is a powerful, delicious, and versatile ingredient that should be welcomed into our diets!
Today we have answered and explained how and why to drink bone broth. Unfortunately, it is an ingredient less common now than it when many cultures still used it as a staple.
I tried to enjoy at least a cup every day, and I have noticed the benefits of it in my own ways since I have started drinking it!
Let me know if you drink bone broth, if you’re going to give it a try, if you have any questions by replying below or messaging me on my social media! 🙂
Until the next one, stay healthy
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