Have you boiled your bones yet? (well not YOUR bones but you know what I mean… I hope)
Bone broth is a firm favourite of nutritional therapists due to its many benefits for the body. I don’t often eat meat, but when I do I try to get it with bones included so I can whip up a bone broth and keep it in the freezer to make soups, strews, gravy and other dishes and give them that nutritional punch. This is perfect if you make a roast chicken on a Sunday – not only can you use the left over meat for salads and curries but also use the nutrients in the bones and joints too reducing overall food waste.
Bones themselves are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous and by brewing connective tissue into bone broth it provides the body with natural compounds from the cartilage and tissues such as collagen too.
So, what are the benefits?
DIGESTIVE HEALTH – Some amino acids present within bone broth may also be helpful for digestion. An amino acid called glutamine helps heal the intestinal barrier so may support people with absorption issues, leaky gut or inflammation.
JOINTS – Bone broth is a source of gelatin, which can break down into collagen in the body. This is especially important for joint health and protection. Bone broth can also contain glucosamine and chondroitin, natural compounds found in cartilage that are known to support joint health.
IMMUNE SUPPORT – The amino acids found in bone broth, including glycine and arginine, have strong anti-inflammatory effects and therefore could support your immune system if chronic inflammation is an issue
SLEEP – The amino acid glycine, found in bone broth, may actually help you relax! Studies have found that glycine helps promote sleep!
BUT – it’s incredibly important that the bones you use are good quality – other not-so-nice compounds can be stored in bones which can leech into your bone broth. As always, it’s important to consider where your food is coming from and how it has been raised.
Want to give it a go? Here’s my easy peasy bone broth recipe
- 2–3 kg beef bones, chicken carcasses, lamb bones
- 2 handfuls of any onions, leeks, carrots or celery ends or veggie cuttings
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- A few dried bay leaves or any other left over herbs / stalks
- 1tbsp of apple cider vinegar (helps extract the minerals from the bones)
1. Place all the ingredients into a large cooking pot and cover with cold water. The water level should comfortably cover the bones whilst still leaving room at the top of the pan.
2. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, lid on, for at least 6 hours for chicken and 12 bigger bones, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. The longer the bones simmer, the more nutrients are released – for great results boil chicken carcass for up to 12 hours until the bones begin to crumble and keep beef bones going for 24 hours if you can.
3. Strain the liquid and use immediately or leave to cool before storing (preferably in glass/ceramic rather than plastic). Bone broth will keep in the fridge for several days or up to a week if you leave it undisturbed, as a layer of fat will form on the surface and keep it sealed from the air.
If you struggle with time there are some great producers who make bone broth or bone broth powders you can buy. If you live in Brighton head to your local health food store or if you want to get it online I like Ossa Organic, Planet Paleo and Coombe Farm