Ah, magic Paleo elixir, liquid gold, whatever you call it, bone broth is one of the most celebrated Paleo bowl-filling foods. And with good reason, as it provides a steamy-great mix of healthful benefits for the body, delivered with savory, hit-the-spot flavor. Quite simply, it’s broth made from the bones of beef or bison, poultry, fish or lamb, then embellished with veggies and spices.
In earlier days, bone broth was a regular part of our diet, often used as a base for sauces and soups. However, with the gradual disappearance of local butchers and the increase in processed, store-bought “broth-like” bouillons and soups, the making of bone broth — and enjoying it – went by the wayside. With the growth of the Paleo movement, however, bone broth has re-emerged as a nutrient-packed food, worthy of brewing up and sitting down to. Here are some excellent reasons why this broth is so magical for our health:
- Bone broth packs mega-amounts of minerals. The rich mineral content helps replace the deficiencies that our general diets often lack.
- Bone broth helps the gut heal. There’s a fair amount of gelatin in the broth, which works like a hole-filler for the unwanted openings in an unhealthy gut—brought on by factors like faulty diet, stress and medications. This boost to intestinal health helps improve absorption of minerals and guards against autoimmune issues and inflammatory reactions.
- It makes for happy joints. Bone broth is full of substances called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)—the glucosamine they contain is just one of the popular joint lubricating compounds being sold by the boatload in supplement form. In addition, the GAGs provided in a cup of bone broth deliver other key compounds for joint health and connective tissue, including chondroitin and hyaluronic acid. GAGs stimulate cells that produce collagen for the joints, tendons, ligaments and arteries as well.
- Bone broth also helps support oral health. The ability of GAGs to restore connective tissue helps improve gum tissue that has been damaged and weakened by bacteria that cause gum disease, which can lead to loose teeth or tooth loss.
- Bone broth provides adrenal support. Chinese medicine traditionally holds that the adrenals are part of the kidney system, and from that medicinal perspective, bone tissue relates to the kidneys. Subscribing to the theory of like supports like, the consumption of bone tissue can support the kidneys (and adrenals). Additionally, adrenal fatigue—the result of our poor diets, lifestyle stressors and inadequate rest destroying the adrenal glands’ ability to function optimally—is being increasingly recognized. Some ancestral nutrition experts suggest that bone broth may actually help repair openings in damaged kidney tissue that cause the kidneys to function in this sub-par state.
- Your skin, hair and nails look better with bone broth. The collagen produced from the GAGs in the broth is the main substance found in our skin, hair and nails that keeps them strong and healthy.
- It’s very high in proline and glycine—two amino acids that are also vital for healthy connective tissues. Among the roles, proline has also been shown to reverse atherosclerotic deposits and can help the body break down proteins for use in making new muscle cells. Glycine has been shown to aid digestion, help regulate blood sugar levels and enhance muscle repair, among other benefits.
- It’s easy to brew up a homemade batch and give your body all that bone broth has to offer. There are a number of recipes out there, but start with some good bones from an animal raised as healthily as possible, some veggies, a little apple cider vinegar, herbs and spices and some water and you’re set.
A few recipes to try: