Revitalizing Benefits of Bone Broth
By: Dr. Katie Gleisner
Bone broth is deceptively easy to make and is a health boosting power house. It contains essential nutrients, including minerals, collagen, and amino acids that function as the body’s building blocks. Keep reading to learn about the ancient wisdom and health benefits of bone broth, and I will share one of our favorite recipes to brew this season. So grab your stock pot and get ready to simmer some bones to create a nutritious and delicious bone broth.
Ancestral wisdom and indigionous cultures around the world have valued consuming animal bones for health benefits. Bones store calcium, an essential mineral to build and repair our skeletal system. Our ancestors recognized that consuming bones built strong bones. Eskimos ate fermented fish bones, Native Americans crushed up small bird bones into an edible paste, African tribes fermented goat bones, and in Asia they slow cooked bones into broth. Eating animal based protein and utilizing the whole animal, bones, connective tissue, and organ meat, provide essential nutrients to support our and the environment’s health.
When you simmer a combination of meat, bones, skin, tendons and ligaments on low heat for several hours, you are transferring the nutrients from these leftovers directly into the broth. Slow cooking bones and connective tissue gently releases collagen, gelatin, as well as essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and amino acids. You have made a hearty batch of bone broth when it thickens and takes on a gelatinous quality after it has been stored in the refrigerator. If your broth does not thicken into a gel, you will want to add more collagen dense ingredients including chicken feet and joint bones. Store bought bone broth goes through a flash pasteurization process in its aluminum lined container, which impacts its nutrient profile. It is best to make your own bone broth, which you can sip, use as the base for soups, and incorporate in other recipes.
Bone broth is a gut healing superfood because of its role in maintaining normal intestinal barrier function. Our intestinal membrane functions as a protective barrier from our “outside” and “inside” environment. When you catch a cold or get a tummy bug, it most likely enters through your digestive tract. Fortunately, 70% of your immune cells are located in your gut to respond to microbial invaders. However, many people struggle with leaky gut syndrome, which occurs when there is damage to the intestinal lining and it becomes permeable. This breakdown in gut lining integrity increases the risk of inflammation, autoimmune disease, and lowered immune function. Bone broth contains amino acids glycine and glutamine, which improve digestive function and improve intestinal integrity. Also, these amino acids produce the most potent antioxidant, glutathione. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions, healing your gut will help reduce your symptoms, improve nutrient absorption, reduce oxidative stress, and boost immune function.
Bone broth is rich in collagen, the most abundant protein in our body. Collagen is the main structural component of our connective tissue, and is found in our bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments. Consuming collagen supports your own collagen production, i.e. beautiful skin, hair, and nails. Collagen is rich in glycine which is essential for detoxification and regulating dopamine levels. Simply sipping on a mug of bone broth or eating chicken bone broth soup helps support cell function and a happy, balanced mood.
Bone broth is sacred and healing food of our ancestors. When you regularly incorporate bone broth into your diet, you are providing your body with the raw materials to build strong bones, resilient skin, healthy gut barrier and detox pathways, and support a balanced mood. Learning to make bone broth will improve your health, and is a step to becoming a great cook. Bone broth is incredible to have on hand to create a hearty soup or nutrient dense ingredient for recipes. Bone broth is a fantastic and delicious way to nourish yourself and your family.
Savory Chicken Bone Broth
- 10 lbs of chicken bones (combination of necks, wings, and backs)
- 1 lb chicken feet
- 5 quarts cold water
- 8 cups ice cubes
- 2 cups 1-inch thick slices, peeled carrots
- 3 cups 1 inch thick slices leeks (white and light green parts)
- 8 ounces quartered yellow onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bunch thyme
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- Rinse the bones and feet very well and be careful to remove all blood and impurities, place the bones, feet and water in a large stock pot. NOTE, If 5 quarts isn’t enough make sure there is enough water to cover the entire mixture, while leaving enough room for the ice.
- Bring the pot to a simmering boil over medium high heat and maintain for 20 minutes.
- Skim off any impurities that may have risen.
- Turn off the heat and add the ice. Once again, skim off any solidified fat and impurities that form on the top.
- Add vegetables and herbs and bring the pot back to a gentle boil. After 30 minutes skim off any impurities that rose to the top.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 hours. If the water level drops below the top of the veggies and chicken add more water.
- Gently ladle the stock, through a fine mesh strainer into a container of your choice.
- Fill a sink with ice water and let the stock cool for an hour.
- Stock lasts around 3 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
- We collect most of the fat after the broth has completely cooled. My husband, Quinn, saves the chicken fat to make delicious biscuits. It’s pretty much chicken flavored butter.
- This broth has a lot of bones, therefore the final product is collagen dense. It turns into a jelly when refrigerated, but easily melts into a liquid when cooking.
- There is no salt or pepper in this recipe. Make sure to season liberally when using this in a recipe.
- If you have no idea where to get chicken bones or feet, call Goffle Road Poultry in Wyckoff, NJ.