Hilary Te Hira, Natural Health Consultant
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is traditionally prepared by simmering bones and connective tissues of various animals in water with vegetables, herbs and or spices. Through this, nutrient compounds such as amino acids, bone marrow, collagen and minerals are released. The nutritional value of each compound will vary depending on the bones used and how long they have been cooked for.
In recent times, we’ve also seen the likes of pre-prepared options available on the market to support the everyday modern diet. These come in the form of a dried powder that can be taken as a hot drink or mixed into soups and gravies. Flavours include beef, chicken, miso, mushroom, and vegetable.
What are the benefits of bone broth?
The depth of health research on bone broth itself is still emerging. However, what is known indubitably is that bone broth is vastly nourishing, and by adding it to your daily diet may provide a range of health benefits – let’s take a look at some of these:
- Digestion and gut health
Not only is bone broth easy to digest, but it is also gelatine rich packed with amino acids such as glutamine, and collagen peptides - one of the main nutrients found in bone broth. These nutrients support gut health through protecting and healing the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. Scientists have found that overall health depends largely on the health of your intestines and its microbiome. As such, bone broths are often included in dietary regimens like the GAPS diet.
You may have heard bone broth often suggested to support recovery from a cold or the flu. Here’s why, bone broth has nutrients that aid production of white blood cells found in bone marrow. In addition, amino acids such as arginine, glycine and the already mentioned glutamine, are essential to the optimal function of the immune system at all of its natural stages, as well as liver detoxification.
- Joint comfort and mobility
Naturally found essential vitamin, minerals and proteins such as chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, phosphorus and proline are known contributors to connective tissue health. These nutrients along with collagen produce cartilage, healthy joints, tendons, which connect muscles to bones, and ligaments.
Is bone broth safe for everyone?
Yes, bone broth can be taken at all ages. However, you do need to make sure you are buying animal bones or pre-made options from sources that are ideally grass-fed, low GI, low sodium, organic and chemical free.
How much bone broth should I be having?
When choosing a bone broth supplement or making it yourself at home using a simple slow cooker recipe, consider how you plan to use it and the flavour that you’ll like most. If you are just starting, you may want to try including 1 cup per day, with an increased amount taken gradually over time. You may even opt to try a bone broth as the base in soups, or to make sauces and yummy gravies.
In short, we recommend giving bone broth a try and incorporating it as part of a balanced diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, oils, and nuts. Taken the right way, bone broth contains many vitamins and minerals which make for a nutritious addition to your diet routine.