The Benefits of Bone Broth and How to Make It
Lately, it seems like everyone is talking about bone broth! Trendy restaurants are incorporating it into their menus, foodies are posting about it on social media, and nutritionists are raving about its nutritional benefits. But what exactly is bone broth, and why has it become such a hot food topic over the last few years?
While bone broth is nothing new and has traditionally been enjoyed by different cultures around the world for thousands of years, it’s currently having a moment in the spotlight. We spoke to Chef Mereya Ibrahim, nutritionist and author of Eat Like You Give A Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive, to learn more about why this nutrient-packed broth is so popular.
What exactly Is bone broth and how is it different from regular chicken or beef stock?
Bone broth is usually cooked longer, to the point where the marrow of the bone begins to break down, which boosts the natural collagen content of the broth. This offers a variety of significant health benefits because it’s rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of life.
What are the benefits of bone broth?
The benefits are tremendous! It's a rich, natural source of collagen—a vital protein which acts as the 'glue' for ligaments and tendons, creating elasticity in the skin and support for a balanced microbiome in the gut. Bone broth is also rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of life and are required daily for optimal health. It also helps to boost metabolism and support cardiovascular health. Amino acid-rich foods are a great source of glutamic acid, a main feature of 'umami' foods—studies show that eating umami-rich foods helps you feel satiated faster. Bone broth also has other vegetables added to it, enhancing its nutrient dense power.
Is there anyone who bone broth would be particularly helpful for?
Bone broth is particularly helpful for people over the age of 35, when collagen production in the body begins to decline rapidly. It’s also wonderful for people trying to cut their cravings for sugar and salt, and retrain their tastebuds to crave health-building foods—which is why I have it as a featured aspect of my first strategy in Eat Like You Give a Fork.
How often should you incorporate bone broth into your diet to see health benefits?
It's a wonderful practice to have it at least once a day for optimal benefits, but getting into the habit of enjoying it a few times a week will prove beneficial.
Is bone broth fattening and is it helpful when trying to lose weight?
Good fat is essential to a healthy eating strategy and is not considered 'fattening.' It can be used as a strategy to help lose weight because it’s rich in amino acids and protein, and helps you feel fuller and satiated faster than drinking juice or water, for example—and it hydrates at the same time. Many people confuse hunger with dehydration.
Are there any alternatives to bone broth that vegans or vegetarians can try that would give them some of the same benefits?
There are many sources of plant-based collagen available, including sea vegetables like algae. I also like tempeh, beans, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and avocado because they are whole food sources of collagen for those that don't eat animal protein. You can also enjoy a good quality nut or hemp milk to deliver a variety of amino acids.
Is bone broth something people should drink on its own or can it be incorporated into other foods?
You can enjoy it on its own or use it as a base for sauces. I often use it to cook whole grains instead of water for incredible flavor.
You feature a bone broth recipe in your book. We’d love to share it!
My recipe is low sodium too, which is an important consideration when you're looking at all broths and soups, especially packaged ones you find on the shelf.
LOW-SODIUM UMAMI BONE BROTH
Makes 2 to 2 ½ Quarts
My favorite way to make bone broth is in a slow cooker, but you can also do it in a pressure cooker. If you roast the veggies and bones first, it gives the broth an amazing, rich flavor. You will also feel such a boost of energy from the natural collagen in the bones. You can use the same basic recipe for chicken bone broth. Feel free to add more veggies and turmeric, or other spices to vary the flavor and make the broth more nutrient-dense. #betterthanbotox
3 or 4 celery stalks, chopped into thirds
3 large carrots, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 large red onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons ghee, melted
2½ to 3 pounds beef soup bones (see Note)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1) Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2) In a large bowl, combine the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. Toss with the melted ghee. Put the bones in a roasting pan, add the vegetables, and spread everything into an even layer. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown, taking care that nothing burns. Remove from the oven and transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
3) Add 12 cups water to the cooker (if your slow cooker is smaller, use less water). Cover and cook on low for 12 hours. While the broth is hot, strain out the solids and skim the fat from the surface, then allow to cool. Store the broth in airtight containers in the refrigerator. It may solidify a bit and become jelly-like—that’s the collagen, the good stuff, so don’t chuck it! When you reheat the broth, the collagen will liquefy—just give it a good stir to combine.
NOTE: For chicken bone broth, bring whole chicken to a boil, then reduce heat to a steady simmer for 1 ½ hours. Pick the meat off the bones and save them for another use. Reserve the cooking liquid, straining out solids and fat from the surface. Place the bones with the veggies as you would the beef bones, and use the defatted chicken cooking liquid to finish the broth in the slow cooker.
Mareya Ibrahim is an award-winning inventor, nutritionist, and the signature chef and meal plan designer for the bestselling diet book. Her cookbook Eat Like You Give a Fork invites readers to escape the dreaded diet mentality with a more positive approach to healthy eating. For more information, visit eatcleaner.com.
Lizzy Sherman is an award-winning digital content writer/editor. She has been a featured guest speaker at Cal State University Northridge, Digital LA and The National Association of Audience Marketing Professionals. When she's not writing, Lizzy enjoys yoga and playing guitar. Follow her on Instagram: @zillizy