May 11, 2021
Unlike commercially prepared broth which relies on harsh cooking methods and questionable additives, traditional bone broth retains all the benefits of unhurried cooking and natural ingredients and withstands the test of time with unhurried cooking and natural ingredients.
Traditional, slow simmered bone broth made from well-sourced bones and ingredients has many health benefits over the “broth” or “stock” you might find packaged in the store. It is the delicious nutrient dense liquid that is the result of simmering bones gently for many hours.
With modern lifestyle, the advent of processed foods and lack of time for traditional cooking, bone broth is no longer a staple simmering on the stove (or in the slow cooker) of most households. Bone broth, however, has a long and rich history of culinary and medicinal uses and health benefits, even in historical modern times.
Traditionally bone broth has been used in many cultures:
Ancient Egypt: Probably the oldest traces of gelatin were found in a Pharaoh’s grave, apparently used as a type of glue. Ancient banquets in this same era also enjoyed the culinary use of gelatin in the form of savory aspic.
Jewish Folklore: Chicken soup (often referred to as Jewish penicillin), traditionally made from the bones and cartilage-rich parts of chicken, has been known to help with symptoms of colds and the flu. In fact, there are proven anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce your sore throat and cold symptoms.
Chinese Medicine: Practitioners of Chinese medicine have used bone broth to support the digestive system, as a blood builder and to strengthen the kidneys. The marrow of bones is considered to nourish and sustain ‘jing’, which refers to the reservoir from which you draw energetic sustenance during your lifetime.
Middle Ages: An even earlier mention of the medicinal use of chicken soup (bone broth) was the 12th century Egyptian physician Moses Miamonides who prescribed gelatin-rich bone. broth as a remedy for colds and asthma.
Victorian Era: The gelatin in bone broth was popularized during the 1800’s as an ingredient to make gelatin desserts. It was sold in sheets, had to be purified and was quite time consuming. A US patent for powdered gelatin was finally obtained in 1845 by the industrialist Peter Cooper.
Bone Broth As Medicine
With something this deeply steeped in tradition with a history that goes back long before evidence-based medicine could determine the actual properties of bone broth – there must be something to the power of bone broth.
Advocates of an ancestral-based lifestyle favor bone broth for its wide array of nutrients that are difficult to find in any other food source.
The healthful properties of bone broth come from the many important elements in found in bones including electrolyte minerals, amino acids, bone marrow, gelatin and collagen from cartilage-rich bones.
This nourishing traditional food is very easy to digest and is soothing to the gut. Many people notice therapeutic effects from consuming a well-prepared, slow simmered, gelatin-rich bone broth daily, including for example, support for bones, joints and muscles, and improvement in their general well-being.
Other than supporting your general health or helping you feel a little better when under the weather (your grandmother was right, home-made chicken soup will heal many ills), some of the many attributes of bone broth include:
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. In traditional Chinese medicine bone broth is used to boost the immune system and fight infections.
Healing Intestinal Hyper-Permeability (Leaky Gut)
When the intestinal lining becomes too permeable and allows undigested food particles and disease-causing bacteria to leak from your gut and into the bloodstream the body sees these innocent food particles as a foreign invader and starts to attack itself. Increased intestinal permeability can be responsible for the formation of food allergies, autoimmune conditions, asthma, skin conditions, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue and most diseases associated with chronic inflammation. Leaky gut, affects a huge part of the population and is a growing epidemic due to poor food choices, stress, environmental toxins, overuse of NSAIDS, antibiotics, birth control and other medications.
Bone broth helps heal gut permeability. The gelatin in bone broth heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. A healthy digestive tract is the cornerstone of health. When the digestive system is healed and working well, nutrients are properly and efficiently digested, absorbed and assimilated. Consuming bone broth is a more natural and effective way to heal and seal the gut than taking supplements.
Supporting Detoxification in the Liver
The liver is so overburdened from the toxic and chemical nature of the modern world. Toxicity exists everywhere from the air and water to the food supply and personal care products. The liver is responsible for removing these toxins from the body. The ability of the liver to eliminate these toxins effectively is largely dependent on the amount of available glycine. Gelatin-rich bone broth is rich in glycine and a strong ally in detoxification support.
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 which are extremely anti-inflammatory.
Relieving Joint And Muscle Pain
The specific amino acids in bone broth, glycine and proline, are necessary to build muscle, repair tissue and reduce inflammation. Bone broth is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin. These are often taken in supplement form for joint pain relief, but are more bio-available when consumed in their naturally occurring state. 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.
Boosting Mineral Consumption And Absorption
Many people in the western world are deficient in one or more minerals due to dietary deficiencies or poor absorption. Furthermore, the soil is depleted in minerals. Ingesting these trace minerals through bones is extremely important. As the bones cook in water, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water. Homemade broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals. Bone broth offers easily absorbed extracted minerals and supports utilization of the minerals by promoting the health of the intestinal tract.
The gelatin in bone broth is soothing to the digestive tract and actually helps repair the mucosal lining. It also assists in break down the protein and fat from foods, making them easier to digest.
Improving Skin Texture And Elasticity
Collagen production decreases with aging. Bone broth is rich in collagen, the proteins found in flesh and connective tissues. Skin becomes smoother and more elastic in the presence of an abundance of connective tissue. Some have even suggested that bone broth helps eliminate cellulite.
Bone Strengthening And Repair
The large amounts of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in bone broth helps bones grow, strengthen and repair
Promoting Sound Sleep
Research has shown that consuming gelatin before bed helps induce sleep because of the amino acid glycine. Glycine plays an important role in the neurotransmitters within the brain. So not only will ingesting bone broth improve sleep quality, but it will also help reduce daytime sleepiness and help improve your memory during waking hours.
Real food aficionados understand that the secret to making the best broth is in the ingredients. Source bines from animals that have been humanely raised on open pastures with clean diets free of antibiotics, hormones and grains, organic vegetables and herbs and filtered water, ensuring the final product is as pure and flavorful as it is packed full of vitamins, minerals and gelatin. Bone broth can be sipped alone or added to recipes and meals for added flavor and nutrients.
If making bone broth on your agenda today, pick some up in-store or order online. Community Natural Foods carries a wide array of powdered, boxed and frozen broths.
Professional and gourmet cuisines rely on quality bone broth. The richness and depth of flavor that is used in soups, stews, gravies and sauces is unparalleled. And that alone is enough reason to include it in your cooking! Bringing bone broth back into the modern diet offers an easy and delicious means of obtaining the nutrition from parts of the animal that ancient man and traditional cultures prized!
Article written by Michal Ofer, Functional Nutrition Coach
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