I was traveling to a conference with a fellow Naturopath, discussing the cost and complexity of health care, when I was reminded of all the benefits of bone broth. Bone broth is a great source of many vital minerals including calcium, silicon, sulphur, magnesium, phosphorus and trace minerals. Also by boiling bones and the ligaments that link them, you will extract amino acids that your body can use for the health of your own ligaments and connective tissue. The process of slow cooking over a long period of time makes the nutrients accessible and easy to absorb.
Bone broth has been known to be a great tool in healing the gut. Those people who have intestinal inflammatory conditions, such as food sensitivities, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohns disease or colitis, are able to easily absorb nutrients from bone broth and replenish deficiencies. Bone broth contains gelatin which can enhance the production of digestive juices and helps prevent intestinal bugs from attaching themselves to the intestinal wall.
The minerals that are found in bone broth are best extracted from the bones by adding a little vinegar to the broth as it is cooking. One to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per quart of water is recommended.
These minerals have many functions in the body besides growing healthy bones. When we are deficient in minerals, we steal them from our own bones; this can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis. Minerals (especially calcium) are also helpful for pain and inflammation, cramps, muscle spasms, depression, insomnia, and palpitations.
Two amino acids are extracted from the joints and bones as they cook: glycine and proline. These are two necessary components of connective tissue, the glue that holds our bodies together. Connective tissue holds our joints together, keeps our skin in place, and helps keep our organs from all falling to the bottom of our abdomen. These two amino acids are known for their wound healing ability, and for contributing to fixing all the tiny damages that are done inside our bodies by inflammation. Glycine is also known to reduce inflammatory activity. Bone broth is great for supporting the body in healing infections, auto-immune disease, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or any organ damage. Proline is helpful in reversing atherosclerotic deposits. It encourages blood vessel walls to release the built up cholesterol. This will help decrease the blockages in your heart and reduce your risk of heart attacks.
As you can see, there are many benefits of bone broth. It is fairly easy to make. Start with the bones of any humanely-treated, range-fed animal. Place them in a large pot with vegetables of any kind. You can use the tops of carrots or celery, the ribs of kale or any other vegetable parts that are headed to the compost pile. Mushrooms are useful for immune support. Add some herbs if you wish; thyme and basil make a nice addition. Cover everything with filtered water. Don’t forget to add the apple cider vinegar. Bring the pot to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Allow the broth to simmer for up to twenty-four hours. You can simmer less time for smaller bones. The broth might have a gel like consistency once it cools. This is a great sign and means you have lots of gelatin and amino acids. Don’t worry if it isn’t gel like, it will still be plenty healthful.
I recently have been experimenting by adding all kinds of things to my broth. Recently I added eggshells to increase the calcium levels. I have also added the left over fiber parts from juicing. The apple added an interesting flavor. I hope you enjoy experimenting with this healthy tonic.
Susanne Booth is a naturopathic physician, primary care provider, and physical therapist at Sojourns Community Clinic. For more information, please contact Sojourns at (802)722-4023, 4923 US Route 5, Westminster, VT 05158, www.sojourns.org, find us on facebook, and visit our blog, www.reformer802.com/journey2wellness.