Bone broths seem to the the vogue food at the moment. Every where I turn, bone broth! Books, media, facebook, diets, paleo, it’s everywhere! As always, I’m putting on my detective hat to investigate and evaluate it’s purported benefits, so we can really understand if it is in fact a wonder food, or if it’s going to have its 15 seconds of fame and fade into the shadows…… It’s certainly giving coconut and kale a run for its money in the popularity stakes of late! I think Bone broth is new new bride and kale will be left holding the veil!
Firstly, a word of warning……If you are vegan or vegetarian, this may not sit well with you. It certainly divides the camps when it comes to whether we, as a society from an environmental, ethical and nutritional stand point, benefit from consuming the whole animal, or whether we are better off sticking to a herbivorous diet. Perhaps that is another debate!
Bone broth is huge in the paleo world, sugar free and grain free diets, for digestive healing, behavioural disorders and those with poor nutrition generally. To understand how a simple broth could be so beneficial, let’s break it down, no pun intended. To make a traditional bone broth, the bones from either chicken, beef, lamb or fish are used, generally after the meat has been cooked, the bones are simply ‘left over’, the bits that usually go in the bin. Think the chicken carcass after a roast, your T’bone sans the meat, lamb shank remnants etcetera. These bones, along with water, some vegetable scraps and peels, vinegar and aromats are cooked over a low heat for a long time, I’m talking 24-48 hours. The solids are strained out, and what you have left is a liquidy, gelatinous broth which you can either use straight away or freeze in ice cube size portions for future use. You can simply drink the broth as you would a tea or soup, alternatively it can be used as a base ‘stock’ in soups, stews and casseroles to give a nutrient and flavour boost.
The nitty gritty of understanding the benefits of bone broth lie in its nutritional profile. Once cooked for a long period of time, the bones soften and release an amazing array of protein rich amino acids, gelatin and minerals. These nutrients are extremely healing to a damaged, inflamed gut and allow an easy route for minerals to enter the body in an easy to digest form. Think of gelatin as ‘glue’. It soothes, heals and protects the very sensitive and fragile lining of the digestive tract. In previous editorials I have highlighted the importance of the gut in ADHD and autism spectrum disorders, hence, bone broths can provide much needed nutrients and gut support to heal damage which may be impinging on nutrient assimilation. Nutrients that are required for nervous system function, neurotransmitter and energy production and hormone balance.
Hence, there really is proof in the pudding when it comes to giving chicken soup for poor immune function. 80% of immune function comes from the gut, poor gut, poor immune function.
Hopefully it is evident that I am, in fact, a huge believer in the benefits of consuming bone broth on a regular basis if it fits in with your food ethos. Once again, it all comes back to the gut.