(Photo: Boo George)
You know when you’re sick and someone offers to bring you chicken soup? Well, there’s good reason for it. Chicken soup boasts all of the ingredients your body needs for recovery: chicken for protein, veggies for antioxidants and essential vitamins, and salt to replenish any sodium your body’s lost if a fever has you sweating. It’s a winning combo, but the recipe just got a Hollywood makeover. The result? Bone broth.
Come again? We were first introduced to the health tonic by a Teen Vogue fave (and former cover star) Shailene Woodley, who swears by the stuff. “Bone broth is everything,” Shailene said in a recent interview with MTV. When the actress is willing to sing the praises of a new health craze, we listen. After doing a little research, we’ve found that Shailene’s onto something with her love for the broth, which is made by simmering organic, grass-fed animal bones in water. The high content of calcium, magnesium, collagen, amino acids, and phosphorus is known to improve digestion, support joint tissue, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite, preserve skin elasticity, and so much more.
The It soup is being promoted by celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, athletes like Kobe Bryant (it’s the official sports drink of the L.A. Lakers!), and Hollywood skin experts like Mila Moursi (who counts Jennifer Aniston as a client). The word is out.
While boiling a bundle of bones might sound simple, it requires setting aside six to 12 hours to really get the full effect. And in our fast-food, quick-fix culture, consumers tend to reach for store-bought broth instead. But that effort is worth it! The nutrients extracted from the cartilaginous bones make for a gelatinous, nutrient-rich soup, rejuvenating your body in a way no over-the-counter supplement ever has. Oh, and your body can digest it with no problem. “All of the trace minerals and nutrients are easily absorbed by your body,” explains Moursi from her L.A.-based skin care studio.
Unbeknownst to most of us, we’re often unable to absorb drugstore supplements, as the body does not recognize them as food. Yep, your morning multivitamin is simply digestedrather than actually absorbed—shucks. Since the body registers bone broth as food, it can fully absorb all those healthy minerals and nutrients that have been extracted from the animal bones. It’s a tonic that works both inside and out, affirming the age-old adage that health starts in the gut. “A balanced, non-acidic pH in your gut is essential to keeping your skin free of breakouts,” explains Moursi. Not convinced yet? Four more reasons why bone broth should be your new best friend:
1. Your digestive health will improve.
The first pillar of bone broth is its gut-rejuvenating qualities due to its high level of gelatin, the protein extracted from the joints and tissues of animal bones. Gelatin provides a protective layer over the digestive tract, which tends to deplete over time due to your daily consumption of toxins and processed foods. A strong digestive tract not only helps nutrients pass through your system successfully, but also aids in nutrient absorption and alleviates common stomach issues like leaky gut and a host of other problems.
2. You’ll reap its detoxifying benefits.
Your liver will love you for this. The liver’s ability to expel toxins and naturally repair itself is dependent upon the amount of glycine in the body. As our environment is more toxic than ever before with polluted air and processed food at an all-time high, the natural amount of glycine produced by the body is no longer enough. Enter bone broth. The high glycine content in the savory juice is a great detox. In addition to working wonders for your liver, gelatin’s anti-inflammatory properties enhance antioxidant activity in your body, cleansing the upper respiratory system, which helps ward off infections.
3. Your skin will get glowy.
“Bone broth should be called beauty broth,” says Moursi, referring to the wonders it works for your skin, hair, and nails. Proline and glycine—the two amino acids in gelatin—facilitate hair growth and protect against splitting hair and nails. Meanwhile, glucosamine (another amino acid), reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to promote an even and glowing skin tone. “The collagen and gelatin in bone broth help nurture the skin so that it continues to produce high-quality collagen, strengthening the tissues from the inside out.” As Moursi attests, it all boils down to collagen, which helps to maintain skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of cellulite and wrinkles. Got problems with acne? According to Moursi, bone broth can help that too! “The broth can prevent and soothe inflamed skin caused by acne, eczema, or psoriasis through the extracted minerals from the cartilage. These antioxidants help balance the body’s pH and calm inflammation.”
4. Your bones will be unbreakable.
You might have guessed this one from the name. “Bone cartilage in the broth contains hyaluronic acid, which draws water and minerals into the cells,” says Moursi. Not only does the gelatin strengthen and form a protective layer around the bone and cartilage, it also contains calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus—three ingredients essential for healthy bone maintenance. Magnesium, which is necessary for successful calcium absorption, stimulates the thyroid to produce more calcitonin, which aids in overall bone preservation. And of course, we can’t forget gelatin, which is found in all of your major joints such as your knees, knuckles, and feet, and is crucial to joint maintenance and strength.
You ready, chef? Cook up your own pot of broth tonight. Go to your local market, ask for a Ziploc bag of organic bones, and leave them all to simmer in a pot of water for six to 12 hours with flavorful spices and vegetables of your liking. You could also gather the remnants of your roast chicken or grilled steak. A long simmer period is crucial to allow the nutrients to be extracted from the cartilaginous corners of the bones. Yum! No, really.
By Gillian Sagansky
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