The Benefits of Bone Broth
By Melanie May
Bone broths have a long history in cooking and have become quite popular again thanks to health-conscious influencers promoting the benefits of bone broth all over the media.
Drinking bone broth is believed to be very beneficial to health and especially good for maintaining a healthy digestive system and fighting inflammation in the body.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense stock used for making sauces, soups and drinks. In fact, legendary French chef, Augustine Escoffier said, “Stock is everything in cooking, at least in French cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.”
However, there is a difference between stock and broth and that is the cooking time. Bone broth requires a long cooking time.
How do you make bone broth?
Bone Broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals and fish. Bones, feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards and fins can all be used.
It really is quite easy to make your own bone broth. You just need a large pot or slow cooker filled with water, vinegar and your choice of bones.
Vinegar is used to leach all the nutrients out of the bones into the water and you can flavour the broth even more by adding herbs and spices.
You bring the pot to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and let it cook for at least 12 hours but most recipes say to cook for up to 24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes. Once cooked, strain the liquid, discard the solids, and season to taste.
The nutrient value
Animal bones are rich in minerals including calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus and collagen. Fish bones contain iodine and bone marrow contains iron, vitamins A and K, fatty acids, selenium, zinc and manganese. All of these are beneficial to health, however, each batch of bone broth will vary in nutrients depending on type and quantity of bones used.
Bone broth aficionados rave about its health benefits such as helping digestive problems, boosting the immune system and aiding inflammation problems. Bone broth is often recommended as part of the gut and psychology syndrome (GAPS) diet for various ailments such as autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and as part of paleo diets.
Other purported health benefits include relief from joint pain and osteoarthritis, detoxification of the liver, wound healing, anti-ageing properties, hormonal balance, increase in energy, strengthen bones and improve sleep quality.
However, there is very little scientific research regarding bone broth to back up these health claims and there is also no evidence to suggest that bone broth is a better way of consuming these nutrients compared to other foods.
There is research, however, that says that adding vegetables to bone broth increases the nutritional value of the stock.
How to use
Many people just sip bone broth like they would any hot drink, but there are other ways to use it.
You can use it when cooking your favourite grains – rice, quinoa, barley, couscous, farro.
Also you can use it to make soups and stews.
Use bone broths to make smoothie bowls – no, honestly, this is a thing. Of course, this trend-combining trend started on Instagram. Try a turmeric, ginger, bone broth smoothie bowl and don’t forget to post a photo of your concoction on social media.
If you don’t have time to make it there are various brands available in supermarkets and specialised food stores. Carol’s Stock Market is one we use a lot. Here are some recipes from Carol’s Stock Market.