Bone Broth Benefits and the Ancient Primal Nutrients
From gut health, to improved sleep, joint health, and so much more.
By: Robert Eilers | NightOwl.FIT Community | August 14th 2017
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Sipping warm, rich broth made from healthy bones is something people have enjoyed since the beginning of recorded history. But what does the average person need to know about bone broth? What goes into making it? What are the distinct health advantages?
First a little about the origins of bone broth.
The Paleo diet also called the “Caveman” diet, centers around the idea that if we eat like our ancestors did 10,000 years ago, we will be healthier, lose weight and curb disease. That means foods that can be hunted, fished, or gathered: meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, veggies, roots, fruits, and berries. No grains, no dairy, no legumes (beans or peas), no sugar, no salt. While these standards can be bent a little bit more today with our evolutionary development there are certain things our ancestors did that should not be forgotten.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors started making bone broth out of necessity.
Throwing away parts of an animal was unthinkable. Successful hunts were so rare that every part of the animal – not just the muscle meat most people buy at the grocery store today – was precious.
Through this necessity to use every part of the animal they quickly learned they burned the bones they could break down the tough animal bones and draw out the nutrients.
Bone broth has a long history of medicinal use. It is known to be warm, soothing, and nourishing for body, mind, and soul.
Physicians harkening as far back as Hippocrates have associated bone broth with gut healing. And while the importance of gut health is just now starting to fill our medical journals, this knowledge is far from new. Bone broth managed to cross international borders and became a staple of traditional Asian cuisine. Traditional Chinese meals often feature a light soup made from bone broth and vegetables to cleanse the palate and help with digestion.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is simply a broth made by boiling bones (often with meat still on them). Sometimes vegetables, herbs, and spices are added for additional flavor and nutrients. Bone broth is an ingredient that can be used to create or flavor all kinds of dishes. It contains parts of the animal we typically like to discard (like cartilage and bone marrow), all nicely broken down so we get the full dose of nutrients.
Bone broths are typically simmered for a long period (often for 8 hours, and sometimes in excess of 24 hours), with the purpose being not only to produce gelatin from collagen-rich joints but also to release a few trace minerals from bones. At the end of cooking, the bones should crumble when pressed lightly between your thumb and forefinger.
Bone Broth Frugal Benefits
Bone broths are remarkably inexpensive to make. Many times you can prepare a decent broth for the cost of energy used to heat your pot alone. By using the bones from leftover roast chickens matched with vegetable scraps you’ve saved, you can make a gallon of stock for pennies. In getting to know your butcher or local rancher, you can often acquire beef or lamb bones for free.
Another reason I constantly push getting to know your local farmers at your farmer’s market.
Collagen in Bone Broth
Inside the matrix of bones, there are many proteins including collagen, which forms the inside fibrous part of the bone.
Collagen is a group of amino acids making up 25-35% of our body. It’s found in our bones, skin, joints, tendons, and ligaments. As we age, we lose collagen. This contributes to age-related joint issues, not to mention the loss of skin elasticity.
In collagen, you can find the amino acid glycine, which is pretty important in terms of your overall health. Glycine is termed non-essential, which means your body cannot make it on its own. The human body requires at least 10 grams per day for basic metabolic processes, so we have a pretty significant daily deficit that we need to get through diet. Most people these days aren’t eating getting enough of this vital nutrient.
Bone broth contains approximately 27.2 grams of glycine per 100 grams of protein.
Quick Benefits of Bone Broth
- It Improves Joint Health: Bone broth contains gelatine which role is to act as a cushion between the bones and helps them move more freely. It also helps with aging as it creates stronger bone and supports healthy bone mineral density.
- May Improve Cognition: The Glycine in Bone considered an “inhibitory neurotransmitter,” and can act in the brain similarly to an antidepressant, without all the side effects.
- Improve the quality of your sleep: It does this by decreasing core body temperature and increasing cutaneous blood flow. Cooler body temp means deeper sleep. Human studies show that 3 grams of glycine taken before bed increases the quality of your sleep and reduces daytime sleepiness following sleep restriction.
- Increase Insulin Sensitivity: Studies shows that the fat tissue in bone marrow is a significant source of a hormone called adiponectin. This adiponectin in bone marrow has been shown to help with insulin sensitivity.
Make Your Own Bone Broth
Basic Chicken Bone Broth Recipe
When making chicken broth, a good ratio of water to chicken parts is a quart of water for every pound of chicken. If you have room in the pot to add more chicken parts, go for it. For chicken broth, two hours is enough to extract flavor and gelatin.
To make chicken broth, a whole chicken can be used if you also want meat, but using just wings and backs will make a flavorful and gelatin-rich broth.
- 4 to 5 pounds chicken and/or chicken parts
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled, and chopped
- 6 sprigs parsley
Combine all the ingredients, plus 4 quarts cold water, in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours. Skim off any scum that rises to the top.
Strain solids from the stock. Let cool completely then refrigerate (3 to 5 days) or freeze (3 months).
For those of you who enjoy bone broth but would rather not always cook your own (I’m one), here are some great companies that personally use.