By Joanna Vinsen
Naturopath and Medical Herbalist
Urban Herbalist Clinic
Have you been thinking of giving bone broth a try?
Fair to say it has been a bit of a worldwide phenomenon in recent years but What is bone broth? And what can it do for you?
Bone broth is a nutrient rich brew, packed with minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, silica and sulphur, plus the all-important collagen. When you add in the essential amino acids like glutamine, glycine and proline and the fact that bone broth is easily absorbed by the body, bone broth a “Powerhouse Superfood” –(Mark Hyman MD)
Bone broth is great for the gut, protects the joints, helps with skin repair and healthy immune function, boosts detoxification and elimination, and aids metabolism. This means that this tonic can support the treatment of leaky gut syndrome, food intolerances, painful bone and joint conditions and low immune function.
I’m sure most of you are aware of the makeup of a bone – hard on the outside and soft in the middle. Locked away inside the bone marrow is a veritable store cupboard of essential nutrients that are not only anti inflammatory but are also full of all those goodies I mentioned above.
You can make your own bone broth in a slow cooker or you can now buy it in powder form, which is a lot easier. To get all the goodies we must cook the bones - literally – until they fall apart. Bones, feet, ligaments and tendons. And of course, we would want to be sure that the bones are not from animals raised in a hormone laden environment. Bones are roasted and then simmered in water or stock very slowly, for a long period of time, to release all the vital nutrients. A slow cooker is perfect for this purpose.
The finished brew can then be sipped or used in stews and cooking. You can add Braggs apple cider vinegar or vegetables if you want to. At the end of the cooking process you are going to end up with a protein rich stock full of collagen, proline, glutamine, glycine, amino acids and gelatin- all the broken-down ingredients. It’s a great way to get chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, well known for their positive effects on arthritis and joint pain.
The stock will be coloured depending on the bones you have used. Fish bones will be translucent, chicken bones will turn stock a golden yellow and beef bones will produce a deep brown stock. If you put vegetables, beets, carrots in the broth of course that is going to change the stock colour. After cooling in the fridge, the stock will take on a jelly like firmness – this is how it is supposed to be. Usually a layer of fat forms over the top and you can scrape that off if you choose to. Such a rich base for soups and stews.
For general good health or to aid in chronic inflammatory dis-ease in the body bone broth is a no brainer!
Bone broth bullet points
- Collagen in the bones breakdown during the cooking process and release gelatin
- Gelatin contains essential amino acids like proline and glycine
- Collagen and gelatin builds healthy connective tissue
- Gelatin and collagen improve hair and nail quality plus the gelatin in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid which means it attracts liquids – especially digestive juices. This helps to aid gut health
- Contains glycine which stimulates stomach acid production. This will affect digestion and soothe acid reflux
- Is involved in the synthesis of glutathione and uric acid which helps detoxification processes
- The proteins in bone broth provide the raw material needed to make healthy bones and cartilage
- Arginine is an anti-inflammatory amino acid which helps to boost the immune system and is used in the body during detoxification, methylation, protein synthesis, collagen and elastin production and stimulates the immune system by releasing natural killer cells (NKCells)
- Gut healing glutamine is the “go to” amino acid for healing and sealing the gut. It helps to maintain the function and integrity of the intestinal wall.
- Leaky gut is a condition where tiny microscopic holes in the gut lining allow molecules and proteins that should stay within the gut to cross over into the blood stream, starting an inflammatory cascade of immune reactions.