Written by Krista Goncalves, Registered Nutritionist
Now that the colder weather has settled in, you’ve probably been wanting to incorporate more warm, comforting food and drinks into your day.
My Granny always had a big pot of broth or stock simmering (using the bones from our leftover chicken or turkey dinners), filling the kitchen with a rich, savory aroma of chicken soup.
Mmmmm, boiled animal bones. I know, sounds a bit weird, perhaps even downright unappealing to some. But I bet this will change your tune…
Did you know that just one of the many benefits of drinking traditionally prepared bone broth is that it may decrease the look of wrinkles and reduce cellulite?!
Weirdness aside, if drinking the “elixir” made from boiled bones will smooth the lines on my face and de-rumple my butt – I’m all over it!
Seriously though, this is something I have not only frequently recommended to nutrition clients, but I’ve been cooking it up for my family for some time now and sip it almost daily – sometimes in place of a morning coffee.
Can’t imagine a day without coffee? Don’t knock it, ’til you try it!
The main reason for personally implementing it was to help heal my ‘leaky gut’ due to the high mineral, gelatin & amino acid content, including Arginine, Glycine, Proline and Glutamine – all known for their amazing healing properties.
However, I’m certain it has also helped with my chronic lower back pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
As for the status of my rumpled butt… well, I’ll just keep that observation under my trusty over-stretched but non-see-thru Lulus.
The Origins of Broth
The history of its use can be traced back to even our most ancient ancestors.
Bone broths, made from a variety of animal sources (beef, chicken, pork, fish, etc), were a way of allowing our ancestors to use and benefit from all parts of the animals that provided them with sustenance.
By boiling the parts of the animals that they couldn’t traditionally eat, or use as clothing and tools, they were able to extract an amazing amount of additional nutrition than from just the meat alone. ~ adapted from BonedBroth.com
Here are my Top 10 Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth:
Ladies, I know you’re really going to love the last 4 on the list!
- Taste & warmth factor
This one may seem oversimplified and subjective, but what’s not to love about a hot, soothing drink that’s simple yet full of flavor? Move over dehydrating, overstimulating afternoon coffee – there’s a new “fix” in town!
- Nourishment & hydration
Through simple old school, real food, traditional cooking, you’ll be nourished with ample protein & minerals, and hydrated from the inside out.
Properly prepared broth offers a satisfying, high-protein snack to ward off less healthy temptations like sugar-filled pumpkin spiced mocha lattes!
- More affordable whole food supplement
Bone broth is an amazing way to get a concentrated amount of a wide variety of nutrients, including glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid, collagen, gelatin, and various amino acids – rather than taking handfuls of expensive supplements & protein powders.
Additionally, the traditional slow cooking process preserves the nutrients better than the high heat extraction used to make most commercially-made supplements.
I often consume it after exercise as a quick post-workout recovery snack for the extra protein and electrolytes, as does my husband, who’s an avid runner.
It’s certainly the most affordable way to “bullet-proof” your day!
- Heals a leaky gut
Key components like protein-rich gelatin (“cooked collagen”) & the amino acid glutamine help to heal and protect the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and this aids in the absorption of other key nutrients à good gut health!
Proponents of the GAPS diet (and other gut healing protocols) often advocate daily consumption of broth due to its incredible healing properties. By healing a leaky gut, you can effectively reduce the incidence of food allergies & intolerances .
Wondering what the heck is leaky gut? Marcelle Pick, Ob/Gyn NP explains in this article.
- Boosts immunity
We’ve always been told to eat chicken soup to fight a cold or flu, right? Turns out there’s actually truth in this old saying!
It’s not widely known that much of our immune system is intimately linked to the health of our gut. If the gut is healthy, we would naturally have a stronger immune system.
Chicken soup actually has a boosting effect on white blood cells – our infection-fighters, and it stimulates antioxidant activity in the body, namely the action of glutathione, considered a “master antioxidant” .
So get the whole family drinking it this cold & flu season!
- Better joint health
The glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate in broth can stimulate new collagen growth to help repair damaged joints and the abundance of the pro-cartilage amino acids glycine and proline have an anti-inflammatory effect  à good for arthritis sufferers!
- Greater bone density
Minerals like calcium, magnesium & phosphorous that are leached out of the animal bones are readily absorbed by the body (= bioavailability) and critical to bone growth & repair à good bone health! 
- Improves skin, hair & nail health
Bone broth offers plenty of hyaluronic acid, and gelatin (aka “cooked collagen”) -both key factors in promoting wrinkle-free skin, shiny hair and strong nails.
Could bone broth be the NEW BOTOX?!
Heather Hanes, Nutritionist at KulaMama.com says, “You know all those lotions and potions that claim they can reverse aging due to their natural collagen?
Well, collagen (when cooked and more digestible – we know as gelatin) is a pretty large protein and it can’t penetrate the skin. So, all those marketing claims are bogus. Taking natural collagen internally is the only way to give your skin a boost.”
FYI – collagen makes up half the protein in our bodies, so you’re literally “body building” AND fighting wrinkles when you drink broth!
I know you’re already a broth-believer, but wait, there’s more…
- Cellulite reduction!
While there is a genetic component, the appearance of cellulite occurs mainly due to a lack of connective tissue.
According to Donna Gates, author of Body Ecology, “due to the abundance of collagen found in homemade bone broth, which in turn helps our bodies to create more connective tissue, this helps to smooth out our skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite.” YES!!!
- Calms the mind and promotes sleep
Just to wrap up this list on a warm and fuzzy note – try a cup of broth before bed as both magnesium & glycine can have a very calming effect promoting muscle relaxation and deeper, more restorative sleep. Aaahhh.
Is there anything that broth CAN’T DO?! Ok, so it can’t snuggle up with you while you fall asleep at night, but it will be waiting for you hot & ready in the morning 😉
By the way, when it comes to natural gut healing ability, as well as all the other benefits I’ve mentioned, store-bought tetra pak broths are not made the same way, and do not contain the same nutrients. They do, on the other hand, often contain loads of salt, fillers and MSG – usually labeled as yeast extract.
Ready to start making your own daily “health elixir” broth & soup base?
First, you must start with pastured (grass-fed) animal bones, preferably organic.
In a big stock pot, add water just to cover bones, add in whole organic onions and entire heads of organic garlic. I don’t even peel them! Why not you ask? Because that’s where most of the nutritional value is for those foods.
I also add in a huge handful of parsley, big chunks of washed, but unpeeled organic carrots & celery, as well as seasonings such as bay leaves & peppercorns. I’ve even been known to throw in some seaweed for extra nutrients like calcium & iron.
Then a big splash of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (acetic acid) to help break down and leach out all those fabulous minerals from the bones.
Why didn’t I mention salt? I’m certainly not against sodium in our daily diet. Just the opposite in fact, provided it’s the right kind of salt. I also like to adjust the saltiness of my own cup, because as I mentioned – I make this for the whole family.
When the broth is ready, I either add in a pinch of sea salt or 1 tsp of Himalayan Pink Salt Sole – pronounced “sol-ay” from the German meaning fluid light energy.
The key is to then simmer your broth on low for up to 24 hours – some people do even longer!
Too Impatient to Make Traditional Broth?
However, if having a constant supply of quality animal bones on hand, and tending to a giant soup pot all day simply isn’t your thing (or you just can’t be bothered to dust off that crockpot you got as a wedding gift that sits at the back of your cupboard) – I have the solution!
Kelowna BC-based Boned ~ a Broth Company.
It’s so great to have fresh, homemade nutrient-rich broth available right in my ‘hood! They’ve even got Canada-wide distribution now, so check out the handy Store Locator option. These guys will seriously hook you up!
As I sipped on my Boned beef broth recently while nursing a nasty cold, I felt so comforted because it really tasted just like my Grandma used to make. Not too salty, perfectly seasoned and chock-full of protein – 57 grams!
Their product is also non-gmo, dairy-free, gluten-free, antibiotic- & preservative-free. Bonus.
Will that be beef, chicken or veggie (hemp-based)? Sip it, or soup it!
Love it? PIN IT! Sharing the love is so nourishing.
Krista Goncalves is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist & Registered Nutritional Counselor with Making Lemonade ~ Empow(her)ed Health.
You can usually find her blogging about all things women’s health & nutrition, if she’s not in the kitchen making broth or pinning recipes about broth on Pinterest!