No longer just your grandmother’s chicken soup, today’s bone broth is touted as an elixir for everything from digestive and joint health to weight loss and glowing skin. Let’s boil it down.
What is Bone Broth?
At its most basic, bone broth is simply the liquid produced by simmering animal bones in water. The cooking process, which can take up to 24 hours, releases nutrients from the bones that can then be readily absorbed into your body.
These important nutrients include minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus), vitamins (including A and K2), fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), and amino acids (including glycine and arginine), as well as the natural compounds glucosamine and chondroitin.
Many of the nutrients commonly found in bone broth can be difficult to get individually from other sources, which is how bone broth earned its reputation as a nutritional powerhouse.
Benefits of Bone Broth
See how this super-soup can lead to positive changes in your body.
- Gut Health: The gelatin released as the bones break down has been proven to support healthy digestion and may be especially beneficial for those who suffer from irritable and inflammatory bowel conditions.
- Anti-Inflammation: The amino acids found in bone broth have been proven to fight inflammation. The body’s inflammatory response can be temporary, like swelling after a minor injury, or a chronic condition that can lead to serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and some types of cancer.
- Joint and Skin Health: Collagen released from the animal bones and connective tissues contains important amino acids that your body uses to build and strengthen its own connective tissues—your tendons, ligaments, and cartilage—as well as your skin.
- Weight Loss: Although bone broth is naturally a low-calorie food, it provides a feeling of fullness because of the rich gelatin. It’s also high in protein, which can help control your appetite and boost your metabolism.
Getting Started with Bone Broth
Homemade and commercial recipes both typically add extra ingredients like vinegar, herbs, and aromatics to boost nutrition and dial up the flavor profile, making bone broth one “medicine” you’ll be more than happy to take.
Ready to give bone broth a try? Start with this basic method and make it your own:
Bone Broth (adapted from Delish.com)
3 lb. beef bones
1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 onion, halved
1 head garlic, halved
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
4 sprigs thyme
Preheat oven to 450°. In a large roasting pan, toss bones, carrots, and celery with oil. Roast, shaking the pan halfway through, until everything is slightly caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Add bones, roasted vegetables, and pan juices to a stock pot along with vinegar, onion, garlic, peppercorns, and herbs. Add enough water to cover everything by at least 1”. Cover pot and bring water to boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover with lid slightly ajar, and cook for at least 8 hours. Longer is better! Occasionally stir, skimming off foam on top if necessary.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain broth over a fine-mesh strainer and discard bones and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then divide broth between airtight containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week, in the freezer for up to six months. If freezing in glass jars, be sure to leave ¼ of the jar empty to allow for expansion during freezing.