The latest superfood doesn’t come from the Tibetan mountainside or Peruvian rainforest. You can even make it yourself, with a quick trip to a butcher. (Photo by Erin Handley for Whole9)
The hottest trend in health circles right now? Boiling bones. Bone broth is everywhere, from healthy cookbooks to beauty blogs to a New York City restaurant that shills the soup in to-go cups. If you haven’t seen it around, know this: bone broth is made by boiling animal bones, herbs, and vegetables into a flavorful, bone marrow-filled stock.
Devotees are drawn to the broth for its long list of nutritional benefits. Can’t digest your food? Joints a little achy? Memory a little hazy? Skin looking a little sallow? Adding bone broth to your diet might do the trick.
Below, health experts weigh in on four benefits of broth. Then, we bring you a delicious recipe to whip up this healthy elixir at home.
Beef up your mineral intake
“People are becoming disenchanted by our convenience-focused fast-food culture. These foods may be easy, but they don’t nourish our bodies,” Melissa Hartwig, co-founder of the Whole30 challenge and New York Times bestselling author of It Starts With Food, tells Yahoo Health. “Homemade bone broth is chock full of nutrients missing or under-represented in today’s modern diet.” The simple soup is more nutrient dense than your average drugstore vitamin: “It’s an excellent source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, in forms that your body can easily absorb,” says Hartwig.
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Heal a leaky gut
Dr. Amy Myers, autoimmune specialist and author of The Autoimmune Solution, out in January, recommends the broth to patients with Leaky gut syndrome. “The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and helps aid in the digestion of nutrients,” Myers says. Hartwig agrees, saying, “It’s rich in glycine and proline, amino acids not found in significant amounts in muscle meat (the vast majority of the meat we consume). These amino acids are important for a healthy gut and digestion.”
Calm inflammation (and your mind)
What do damaged joints and autoimmune diseases have in common? They’re often the result of inflammation, often brought on by stress and poor food choices. “Bone broth contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain,” Hartwig tells us. As an added bonus, the broth might actually prevent inflammation from the get-go: “The amino acid glycine found in bone broth can be very calming,” says Myers.
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It’s not your typical beauty food, but that doesn’t stop Hartwig from touting bone broth’s looks-enhancing powers. Heard of collagen? “Soup bones’ include collagen, a protein that breaks down during slow-cooking to form gelatin. The gelatin in bone broth… helps to build healthy skin, hair, and nails.”
(Photo by Erin Handley for Whole9Life.com)
Make it yourself - Bone Broth Recipe
Though you might be able to find bone broth at local health food stores, both Myers and Hartwig suggest making it yourself. Try the recipe below, but be forewarned—you might want to start boiling in bulk.
4 quarts water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 large onions, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley
2-3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
2-4 lbs. meat or poultry bones
Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker set on high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the setting to low for 12-24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes! Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter into a large bowl, and discard the waste. If you don’t have a slow-cooker you can still reproduce this recipe on a stovetop, with a large pot on low heat.
(Recipe reprinted with permission from Whole9Life.com)
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