A few days ago I posted a picture on Instagram of a big mug of bone broth. Since then, many of you have sent questions about why I drink it, what it does & how to make it. All fantastic questions & I want to tackle them today.
I tend to drink more bone broth in the winter than the spring or summer just because I crave those warm, savory, comforting types of things when it’s cold. However, I’ve been doing more research on the benefits of bone broth so its taking more of a staple role in my diet.
Before we dive into 5 reasons to drink bone broth, let’s first establish answers to some of the most common questions.
What is bone broth?
As the name suggests, bone broth is a broth made from the bones of an animal. Much of the bone broth you’ll find in a grocery store is from cows but you can also make or buy it from chickens or fish. I prefer mine from chickens.
Why is it good for you?
In addition to being incredibly rich in vitamins & minerals, bone broth is an exceptional source of collagen. Collagen is a protein found in the connective tissue of animals (and humans) which provides a wide variety of benefits from skin health to joint health & more.
It’s important to remember that there are different types of collagen and the different types have different roles. Also, the animals I mentioned – cows, chickens & fish – tend to predominantly provide a certain type of collagen.
Collagen found in broth from cows’ bones is primarily types 1 & 3 which are best for the health & strength of your skin & nails.
Collagen found in broth from chickens is rich in type 2 collagen and provides amazing benefits for joints & gut health.
Super cool factoid about collagen from fish: it appears to increase our own collagen production! Pretty cool, right?
How do you make it?
You guys know I’m a pretty simple person. I like simple, no-fuss recipes.
I buy the highest quality chicken I can find (this really matters when boiling bones) and I throw the feet & backbone section in a crockpot, submerge it with water, add onions, carrots, salt & apple cider vinegar and let it slow cook for 24 hours. There are absolutely more complex recipes but I’m a simple girl.
A word on “high quality chicken” – I buy organic, free range chicken from a local farmers’ market where the chickens not treated with hormones or antibiotics.
You can also buy bone broth. Please know, however, that much of the commercially produced bone broth contains MSG and I’d recommend you stay away from that. Buy bone broth without MSG or make your own.
(For anyone who is local to Winston Salem, North Carolina, definitely check out Caldero Bone Broth. Her chickens are happy, healthy & her bone broth is outstanding.
Are there health concerns?
Yes. We’re boiling bones. This is why I emphasize buying very high quality chicken/beef/fish if you’re making your own. Bones, including human bones, naturally contain both minerals & heavy metals. Though you’re not eating the bones, many of the nutrients are extracted while they simmer. You want to make sure that you’re using bones from grass fed animals who have not been treated with hormones, antibiotics or given feed that has been sprayed with pesticides & herbicides. When in doubt, buy your bone broth. Keep in mind, however, that you can purchase low quality bone broth just like you can make low quality bone broth. The same animal standards apply to products you purchase and you’ll want to stay away from MSG.
5 Reasons to Drink Bone Broth
- It is fantastic for your immune system.
I mentioned that bone broth is rich in collagen. One of the amino acids that makes up collagen is known as proline. Proline is essential for tissue repair. When you give your body the tools it needs, like proline, for a strong immune system, you will recover more quickly & completely than if you rob your body of these critical tools.
- It supports gut health.
One of the primary components of gut health is the strength & integrity of the lining of your gut. When we eat diets rich in processed foods, that gut lining begins to break down. The breakdown triggers inflammation, gastrointestinal issues and pain. The collagen within bone broth helps to protect & repair the lining of your gut.
- It will make you more beautiful.
I’m talking primarily about skin & nails here. Of course collagen is a major component of our skin (and the source of many cosmetic procedures). Collagen helps with fine lines, wrinkles & even cellulite.
- It can increase your own body’s production of collagen.
When we don’t give our body the nutrients it needs, our own production of collagen can slow. This may lead to premature aging, skin wrinkling, joint pain and inflammation. Fish collagen has been shown to increase endogenous production of collagen in humans!
- It can reduce joint pain.
Collagen is concentrated in our joints. When collagen breaks down, we see more joint pain and inflammation. Increasing your consumption of collagen and increasing your body’s production of collagen can make a major difference in joint pain and inflammation.
Of course it goes without saying that this isn’t a miracle food. There are tons of foods with health benefits & that doesn’t mean you should eat them if you don’t love them. Telling yourself that you MUST choke something down because it’s good for you is a fast track to giving up. You’ve got to eat foods you love that love you back. That means:
- Eat foods you look forward to eating & totally enjoy
- Eat foods that make you feel great both while you’re eating it & afterwards (no guilt or regret)
- Eat foods that give you energy and satiety without any kind of stomach upset or bloating
If this fits the bill, awesome! If not, not a big deal.
For those of you who are ready to make your own, I fashion my “recipe” after Dr. Axe. His recipe is super simple and he taught me the Apple Cider Vinegar trick: adding a little ACV helps to draw the nutrients from the bones!
- Chicken necks, feet and backbone
- 4 tbsp ACV
- 1 onion
Place everything in your crockpot & cover with water. Cook on low for 24 hours then discard the bones. I sip on a cup or two cups per day.