Various cultures around the world have been cooking bone broth for thousands of years. In fact, our ancestors started making bone broth out of necessity, as they had to find a solution to consume parts of the animal that were too tough to chew but not suitable for making shelter or clothing.
Over 2,500 years ago, in Chinese medicine, bone broth was used to promote digestive health. Over time, it became a staple in traditional Asian meals and is now frequently used as a base for many recipes.
In the 12th century, bone broth gained popularity and was nicknamed the "Jewish penicillin" after the famous physician Maimonides started prescribing chicken soup to his patients. He described it as "excellent food as well as a medicine."
The history of bone broth over the years shows that it has long retained its reputation for numerous health benefits and incredible taste. And that's where much of its magic lies!
But what are the benefits of bone broth?
Preserves Skin Elasticity
Bone broth is a healthy addition to a balanced diet. Research indicates that the proteins in bone broth are the main health benefit for us. These proteins break down into collagen. With 28 different types, collagen accounts for about 30% of the proteins in our bodies. It is necessary for many different types of tissues in the body.
For example, collagen contributes to the formation of elastin and other compounds in the skin that are responsible for maintaining skin tone, texture, and appearance. In other words, it promotes the elasticity of firm and smooth skin. Moreover, the integrity of collagen is known to help reduce visible signs of wrinkles, diminish bags, and combat various other signs of aging. This is precisely the main protein present in bone broth.
Many people also report a decrease in cellulite when consuming foods and supplements containing collagen because cellulite forms due to a lack of connective tissue, which allows the skin to lose its firm tone.
As mentioned above, bone broth is one of the best sources of natural collagen in the world. As we age, our joints naturally wear down and become less flexible. Cartilage decreases as it is attacked by antibodies (age-related joint cartilage breakdown). When bone broth simmers, collagen from the animal parts seeps into the broth and becomes easily absorbable to help restore this cartilage.
Promotes Gut Health
Glycine is an amino acid that our bodies use to create proteins and makes up about one-third of the structure of collagen. We particularly need it for our growth and for making important substances like hormones and enzymes. Glutamine, on the other hand, is another important amino acid present in bone broth that promotes the health of the immune system and the intestinal wall.
Moreover, gelatin is one of the most valuable components of bone broth. Studies show that gelatin is beneficial for restoring the strength of the intestinal wall and combating food sensitivities (such as to dairy products). It also promotes the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut and supports healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract. A report published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology indicates that gelatin effectively supports intestinal health and integrity and has anti-inflammatory effects. All these amino acids and components present in bone broth play an important role in our gut health, and bone broth is easy to digest and soothes the digestive system, unlike many other foods that can be difficult to break down completely. After all, food is only truly beneficial if we can absorb its nutrients.
Supports Immune System Function
As mentioned earlier, one of the most remarkable aspects of bone broth is the support it provides to the intestines, which has an overall effect on the body and promotes the proper functioning of the immune system.
Leaky gut syndrome occurs when undigested particles from food leak through tiny openings in the weakened intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. At this point, the immune system detects them and becomes hyperactive. This increases inflammation and leads to dysfunctions in all areas. The immune system releases high levels of antibodies that attack healthy tissues.
Bone broth is one of the most beneficial foods to consume to restore gut health and, therefore, support immune system function and promote a healthy response to inflammation. Collagen, gelatin, and certain amino acids help seal these openings in the intestinal wall and support gut integrity.
Homemade Recipe - Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth
According to Dr. Josh Axe, a certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist, "to make bone broth adequately at home and get all the nutritional benefits, you need to get grass-fed beef bone marrow from local farmers' markets or from an online natural food store. It is also important to buy pasture-raised animal products free from added antibiotics and hormones to fully enjoy all the benefits of bone broth."
It's essential to understand that most "broths" bought in stores today are not bone broths or, in some cases, not even made from animals. Companies instead use laboratory-produced meat flavors in bouillon cubes, soups, and sauce mixes. That's why it's best to buy bones and cook a good nutrient-filled homemade bone broth.
This homemade recipe is one of the best ways to enjoy all the benefits of grass-fed beef bone broth. Moreover, making grass-fed beef bone broth is much easier than you think and is much healthier than store-bought versions. Discover our grass-fed beef bones on our online store to prepare the recipe below!
INGREDIENTS FOR HOMEMADE BONE BROTH RECIPE
- 4 pounds of grass-fed beef bones with marrow
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, cut into pieces
- 2 medium-sized onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, and quartered
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 6 sprigs of parsley
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
- 20 cups of cold water
INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOMEMADE BONE BROTH RECIPE
- Place all ingredients in a 10-quart slow cooker or large stockpot on the stove.
- Add the water.
- Turn on the slow cooker and be prepared to cook for at least 36 hours, which might mean 3 cycles on a standard slow cooker that has a maximum setting of 12 hours (unless you can set your slow cooker for 36 hours).
- If cooking on the stove, bring the large pot to a boil over high heat; reduce and simmer gently.
- In the slow cooker or stockpot, skim off any fat that rises to the surface from time to time.
- Let simmer for 36 to 48 hours.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Discard solids and strain the remaining broth into a bowl through a sieve. Let the broth cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate.
- Refrigerate and use within the week. Or freeze for up to 3 months.
Sources used for the writing of this article:
Dr. Josh Axe. (2022). Bone Broth Benefits for Joints, Skin, and Gut Health. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/nutrition/bone-broth-benefits/.
Marengo, K. (2020). What are the benefits of bone broth?. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323903#sleep.