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10 Reasons To Try Mineral-Rich Bone Broth

Learn why mineral-rich bone broth is simmering in kitchens everywhere, and how to make your own healing batch.

Drinking chicken soup as a cure when you are sick is more than just an old wives’ tale. Your grandmother may have actually been on to something. Which is why bone broth has become very popular as of late and follows the same principles—warm, mineral-rich broth is not only soothing but good for you. So how is it different from soup? And how do you know if you’re making it correctly to get all the important health benefits?

What Is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is essentially a mineral-rich infusion made by boiling bones—usually either chicken, beef, or fish—most often with vegetables, herbs and spices. Bone broth is different than simple broth, in that it’s a time-intensive process, often taking over 24 hours to simmer out all the minerals, gelatin, and collagen-rich nutrients from the bones. That might not sound appetizing, but it’s what gives the broth its numerous health benefits.

Health Benefits of Bone Broth

1. Excellent Source of Minerals: Bone broth is a dense source of minerals that are easily digested and absorbed into the body. Bone broth is also an excellent source of calcium and magnesium — a great option for those who do not tolerate dairy.

2. Reduces Joint Pain: Why pop a pill to get joint relief? Bone broth is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are therapeutic for joint health. Bone broth is also very high in the amino acids proline and glycine which are important ingredients for healthy connective tissue, such as ligaments and joints. The gelatin in bone broth has actually been shown to relieve joint pain, making it as effective as taking an anti-inflammatory medicine. Those suffering from Lyme Disease symptoms are encouraged to drink bone broth.

3. Heals a “Leaky Gut”: “Leaky gut,” also known as gut hyperpermeability, is a condition where the intestinal lining leaks and allows undigested food particles and bacteria into your bloodstream, causing your body to attack these foreign invaders. Poor food choices, environmental toxins, stress, antibiotics and other medications, help to contribute to this condition. The gelatin in bone broth helps to heal the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. When your gut is sealed and healthy, your body is better able to absorb and digest nutrients properly.

4. Boosts the Immune System: Bone broth provides a rich source of minerals and amino acids, which is known to boost the immune system. Not only is it soothing, but it allows the body to repair itself and fight infections.

5. Fights Inflammation: Bone broth also has many components that help to improve inflammatory conditions. The naturally-occurring amino acids, such as glycine, proline and arginine in bone broth also helps the body’s detoxification process and fights inflammation.

6. Healthier Hair, Skin and Nails: Thanks to the gelatin in bone broth, regular consumption leads to healthier hair, skin and nails. Bone broth is also rich in collagen, the proteins found in flesh and connective tissue. As we age our collagen production decreases, which is why skin wrinkles and sags more as we get older. Bone broth is rich in collagen, and has been found to make skin smoother and suppler.

7. Detox Your Liver: The toxic and chemical overload that our bodies are exposed to on a daily basis put a big burden on our livers.  Gelatin-rich bone broth is an excellent source of glycine, aiding the liver in its ability to do its job properly.

8. Balances Blood Sugar: Studies show that the amino acid glycine found in bone broth also helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Glycine controls gluconeogenesis, which manufactures glucose form the protein in the liver.

9. Improves Sleep: Glycine has also been reported to induce sleep and plays an important role in regulating the neurotransmitters within the brain, creating a calming effect.

10. Helps Repair and Grow Bones: Bone broth is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, all vital building blocks for bones. This is an excellent way for those who are dairy intolerant to get these important minerals.

The taste of homemade bone broth is far superior to any found in a can or box, and making broth at home is extremely affordable as the bones, joints, and bits that would normally end up as waste can be converted into a nutrient-dense medicine.

Note: When making bone broth, look for high-quality bones from organic grass-fed beef or bison, pastured poultry, or wild-caught fish. Since you will be drinking the minerals in concentrated form, you want to be sure you are cooking up a healthy animal void of growth hormones and antibiotics. If you don’t have bones from your own meals, local butchers or farmers will often sell you the bones for next to nothing.

Give this simple homemade bone broth recipe a try. Bone broth takes a long time to cook out the minerals, but involves very little active. Just let it simmer and enjoy!

Bone Broth Recipe

2 pounds (or more) of healthy bones
2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
1 onion, quartered (peel on)
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the acid in the vinegar makes the nutrients in the bones more available)
Filtered water – enough to fully cover the bones in your pot
Optional: 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of peppercorns, two cloves of garlic, additional herbs or spices to taste.

Directions:
If using raw bones, roast them in a pan in the oven for 30 minutes at 350º F.

Place bones in a large stock pot (or slow cooker). Pour water and vinegar over bones and let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. Roughly chop the vegetables and add to pot (except the parsley and garlic). Add any spices, herbs, salt, or pepper. Bring the broth to a vigorous boil, then reduce to a simmer until done. (beef broth=48 hours, poultry broth=24 hours, fish broth=8 hours).

During the first few hours of simmering, remove any impurities that may float to the surface. You can also scrape off the frothy layer that forms at the top with a big spoon and discard.

During the last 30 minutes, add garlic and parsley.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Using a fine metal strainer, strain the bits of bones and vegetables.

Once cool, store in a gallon size glass jar and store in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze for later use. Try freezing in small portions (ice cube trays work well) to throw in recipes.

Cooking Note: Slow cookers work well for smaller batches, especially since we never recommend leaving a stove unattended.  

Other ideas to try:

  • Try adding bone broth in your soups and stews in place of a boxed broth.
  • Sauté or boil bone broth with your vegetables for a healthy infusion.
  • Use bone broth in place of water while cooking pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or quinoa

Natalie LaVolpe is a freelance writer and former special education teacher. She is dedicated to healthy living through body and mind. She currently resides on Long Island, New York, with her husband, children and dog.

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Kristi

Hi,
I just came across this article & recipe recently. I made beef broth (from marrow bones), 2 lbs, & cooked on low in crockpot for almost 48 hrs. I went exactly by the recipe shared in this article for beef. I’m seeing that lack of gelatin doesn’t mean it’s bad; just not enough joint material but still full of nutrients. Mine did not gel (yet). Still cooling in my gallon sized jar. But I’ve noticed about 3/4 of an inch of oil on the very top, as well as what looks like an inch layer of sediment at the bottom. The broth is also a medium-dark brown color. Is my bone broth still okay? Should the fat be skimmed off after cooling? And should the sediment particles just be stirred up & consumed?

Diana Snow

Just wondering if it is ok to freeze your left over cooked bones until you have enough to make the bone broth. Will it affect the nutrients?

Susan Higgins

Diana Snow, no, it’s perfectly fine to freeze the cooked bones if you plan to make the bone broth at another time. And you don’t have to thaw before adding them to your pot.

Valorie Clemmons

What about vegans? Sounds healthy, but what if you don’t eat red meat?

Susan Higgins

Hi Valorie, there are many vegan recipes for mineral-rich vegan broth on the internet.

Sheila A Zike

Farmers Almanac needs to try to dig a little deeper for their sources. How about a real Farmer’s wife who has been cooking “stock” her whole life? Bone broth is a Millennial’s new catch phrase for something we farmers have known for quite some time. And, I would rather cook the bones of a cow who had been treated with antibiotics when it was sick, than the bones of a sick cow that never got well and was sent to slaughter. You, young lady, should also do some research .

Mitchell

grew up on a farm, love bone marrow, thank you for sharing and all our meals were fresh off the farm

Barbara

Does one take off the “fat” that comes to the top of the pot or top of broth after it cools?

Michelle

i put 3 lbs of bone broth in my slow cooker with 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar for 48 hours and it never gelled. What am I doing wrong?

Susan Higgins

Michelle, If your broth didn’t gel it just means you didn’t have enough joint material in the broth, but the broth will still be full of nutrients. Some people throw in some chicken feet to their chicken bone broth to add more gelatin. Also, check your water to bone ratio – if you have too much water it might not gel. But again, you’ll still have mineral rich broth. Lastly, a slow simmer is best, try not to boil too vigorously.

David Post

Give me a break there are far more hormones in the vegtables and there will be no antibiotics in the bones. Organic grass fed is only your misquided opinion

Debra

Sir your statement is wrong please research before making statements such as this??

madmommi

Hello,
I know this bone broth is good for you, but what about when certain people do not ingest gelatin at all. What should they do instead?
Thank you.

Susan Higgins

Hi madmommi, if you do not digest gelatin, you should avoid bone broth. And perhaps speak to your doctor about supplements you can take to get the minerals you need.

Susan Higgins

Hi Belinda, yes. you can include the chicken skin in the broth. Use enough water to fully cover the bones in the stock pot your are using. Cooking chicken bone broth longer than 24 hours is fine but as you may know, the taste can start to alter a bit, the longer you cook it. I used a crock pot and let it simmer for 24 hours and it was perfect.

Susan Higgins

Hi Cheryl, the difference is the bone broth is taken one step further, to leech out more of the collagen, gelatin and minerals from the bones. Stock is usually simmered for about 3 hours.

Susan Higgins

Hi David Hill, absolutely! Just be sure not to skip the roasting step, which is very important for raw bones. Then add to your stock pot (or crock pot) with water. Skim off any impurities as it cooks.

Susan Higgins

Hi James, yes, 48 hours. This is because beef bones are quite large and you’re giving it more time than chicken or fish bones to get out the minerals.

Susan Higgins

Hi Marilyn Delson, you don’t want to speed up the process when it comes to bone broth, so we wouldn’t recommend it. But you can use a crock pot. I recently simmered chicken bone broth from 24 hours using my crock pot and it worked great.

Belinda Mauldin

For poultry, can you include the skin in the broth when simmering? Also what’s the maximum amount of water that you use for the most benefit? Does it hurt to simmer chicken bones longer than 24 hours? I’ve always let the chicken bones simmer until you can break the bones. Please let me know what’s best. Thanks!

David Hill

Can deer bones be used in this broth?

Susan Higgins

Hi David, yes, any bones work!

Cheryl

Ahem, isn’t stock the proper name for broth made from bones? Simple broth can be made from meat, skin, and fat but in order for it to be stock it must be made from bones.
Maybe it is me, but “bone broth” instead of “stock” sounds like “wood that writes” instead of “pencil”.

James

Simmer beef bones for 48 hours?

Marilyn Delson

Can a pressure cooker be used to speed up the process? If so, for how long?

Robert Herring

Do I fill the pot with water? I make a lot of soup to share with family. Would this be tasty to use when making bean soups?

Janet Tanner-Tremaine

When I was a young child, my Grannyalways had a pot of bone broth on the go in Winter. We certainly benefited from it as our family grew up fit and strong – and it tasted delicious accompanied with Gran’s own homemade brown bread and lashings of butter!

Susan Higgins

Janet Tanner-Tremaine, wonderful, thank you for sharing! Sounds delish!

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