The Health Benefits of Bone Broth

This popular health food trend with roots in the past has health applications for energy, weight loss and even better sleep.

  • Bone broth in a jar
    Bone broth, made with the boiled bones of poultry, fish or beef, is a health food trend steeped in tradition. Its amino acids and nutrient base helps with weight loss, and is also a natural energy source.
    Photo by Allan Penn
  • The Bone Broth Miracle cover image
    In "The Bone Broth Miracle," author Ariane Resnick, CNC, details the health benefits of bone broth and also lists several recipes to promote energy, immune strength and overall health.
    Cover courtesy Skyhorse Publishing

  • Bone broth in a jar
  • The Bone Broth Miracle cover image

What was once known as your grandmother’s miracle cure for a cold or the flu is now the most popular health-food trend. The Bone Broth Miracle (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015) details everything you need to know about the many health benefits of this miracle soup. This excerpt comes the chapter “Bone Broth Health and How Other ‘Trends’ Stack Up.”

With every health trend, whether it is juicing, coconut oil, detox cleanses, gluten-free dieting, or another movement of the moment, it can be difficult to sift through all of the different messages coming our way. We live in a society that is constantly on the go, and taking care of ourselves can be exhausting, particularly when there are so many conveniences—from fast food to prepared meals to boxed mixes that cut the time of cooking considerably. While this is an understandable concession of a busy lifestyle, we pay for it later with excess weight, nutrient deficiency, and myriad illnesses and ailments that can make life pretty miserable.

With all of these different diets competing with one another, nailing down the exact benefits of each and applying it to your own diet can be a daunting task. Going gluten-free can be a wonderful way to rid your body of many inflammatory food products, but sometimes it can be easier to ask “Is that gluten-free?” than question whether even a gluten-free swap is truly healthy for you or just labeled that way. Similarly, juice cleanses can offer myriad benefits from antioxidants and energy boosters, but if it is made with non-organic fruits and vegetables, you may just be drinking an elixir of sweetly flavored pesticides and chemicals from the farming process. Many green juice products, for example, contain large portions of fruit juice to sweeten the vegetable taste, but contain scads of fructose that can cause spikes and drops in blood sugar level. Businesses in the food industry can just as easily slap on a “gluten-free” or “green juice” label to a product without having to reconcile other empty nutritional elements, and this can be very damaging to consumers who rely on honest labeling to make their food selections.

What consumers, health enthusiasts, and chronic illness sufferers who are looking to make healthy changes should take away from the trend of the moment is twofold: first, that it should never be a trend. Nutritious eating is about healthy lifestyle changes as a whole, and while some movements like the Paleo Diet appear as though they are here to stay while others have long since passed, it is because Paleo has been able to accomplish what other nutritional movements have not. It has encapsulated what healthy eating truly is by weeding out the preservative-filled and processed foods that many people have become so used to seeing on store shelves or passively nuking in the microwave after a long day. The second is that the marvel diet or ingredient of the moment is never just about that one ingredient, but rather what that ingredient can mean as a tool to open the door to a rejuvenated, energetic, and healthy new lifestyle full of opportunity. Too much of something is never a good thing, whether it is water, sunlight, or even bone broth, but added in balanced amounts to a daily lifestyle can be the health awakening that you have been waiting for.

So what makes bone broth different? Bone broth is a return to our roots. As a species, hunting, gathering, and preparing meals based on animal meat were what made us thrive. Boiling the meat and bones of animals for soups and stews was perhaps the founding culinary practice of our survival. The health benefits of bone broth are innumerable, but the exercise of preparing it is what makes bone broth truly unique. Unlike many other popular health trends, the emphasis on drinking and cooking with bone broth is not so much about restricting a particular food group, but rather on having special awareness of the kinds of foods that we choose to put into our bodies. The practice of selecting healthy bones from local farmers, organic butchers, and organic food sources is the first step along this path, because it manifests a desire to take control over the healthfulness of the food that ends up on the dinner table.

While cooking bone broth can seem intimidating based on the long hours it can often require, modern conveniences like pressure cookers and slow cookers mean that you do not have to sit around monitoring the stove all day. Making bone broth is as simple as adding healthy bones, water, and vinegar to a pot and letting the goodness from the bones cook out into a rich broth over many hours. Once you have nutrient-filled bone broth in your kitchen, drinking it daily and using it as a base for meals can become as routine as preparing a morning cup of coffee or boiling a pot of water. Taking a step back and preparing a meal that is truly made from scratch can help us better understand the cost of convenience in other foods that we have commonly accepted into our diets. The practice of preparing bone broth can manifest into other elements of our cooking as well, from selecting vegetables and spices that boost energy, revitalize our whole system with good vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, and detoxify our bodies by ridding them of all of the foods that weigh us down and contribute to illnesses. The most important aspect to remember of this nourishing approach to cooking and eating is that it is not that hard. With an investment in time-saving kitchen appliances, incorporating bone broth into a regular routine is completely within reach, if not incredibly easy.

12/22/2015 11:04:56 AM

Lead accumulates in the bones of animals so add 1/4 teaspoon modified citrus pectin to each cup of bone soup to bind it.

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