Bone broth, long regarded as a natural medicine, contains proteins and minerals essential for everything from beating the common cold to speeding recovery from injuries. In fact, a 2010 study conducted at the University of Mosul College of Medicine found that bone broth, with its complex combination of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, significantly improved the speed and quality of healing bones. Broth is also packed with minerals and amino acids that fuel your body to rebuild stronger cells, thus boosting immunity.
So it turns out your grandma wasn’t so far off base when she encouraged you to eat a nice big bowl of chicken soup to cure everything that ailed you, from the flu to a broken arm. She recognized bone broth for the miracle worker that it is. Only recently have the rest of us begun to fully embrace this ancient remedy as a cure for modern ailments.
Bone broth’s health benefits are both immediate and long term. Because it’s packed with protein, it serves as the ultimate energy drink and post-workout recovery beverage for weekend warriors and pro athletes alike. As the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, broth has been shown to reduce inflammation—an underlying cause of some of the most prevalent diseases of the twenty-first century, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
Bone broth’s high doses of collagen also make it more powerful than any antiaging product or beauty cream, promoting younger-looking skin, healthier hair, stronger bones and nails, and smoother joints. Some doctors and nutritionists are even prescribing bone broth to patients afflicted with mental conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, and autism. This is because more research is emerging to support the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), a theory that suggests our brain functions depend heavily on the digestive system and its health.
Read More: The Basics of the Bone Broth Diet
WHY IT IS CALLED THE NEW MULTIVITAMIN
Have you ever read the ingredients list on the back of your multivitamin bottle? Then you’re probably already familiar with a lot of the words you’re about to see. Bone broth is a veritable food-based multivitamin that’s loaded with good things your body craves. Here are just a few:
Glycosaminoglycans are described by Dr. Cate Shanahan in her book Deep Nutrition as “very special molecules that keep our joints healthy.” Three of these compounds are prevalent in bone broth.
Glucosamine is widely used as a supplement to treat arthritis and help patients recover from injuries and surgery.
Hyaluronic Acid is naturally present in the human body, but studies have shown we can benefit from it as a supplement to treat osteoarthritis and mouth sores and toheal wounds and burns.
Chondroitin Sulfate can significantly reduce arthritic pain and increase joint mobility for people suffering from arthritis, according to a 2003 task force report by the European League Against Rheumatism. It’s sold in dietary supplements, and is approved and regulated as a symptomatic slow-acting drug for osteoarthritis in Europe and elsewhere.
Electrolytes are electrically charged particles that keep our bodies functioning normally and play a key role in keeping us hydrated by balancing the water inside and outside of our cells. Electrolytes are abundant in broth.
Calcium , the most plentiful mineral found in the human body, is one of the electrolytes also abundant in bone broth. Most of us know that calcium helps our bodies build stronger bones and teeth, but it also aids in clotting blood, sending and receiving nerve signals, supporting muscle function, releasing hormones, and maintaining a normal heartbeat.
Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It also strengthens our bones, helps our nerves and muscles to function normally, boosts the immune system, and keeps our hearts beating steadily, all while aiding in energy production. Magnesium also helps regulate our blood sugar levels. Ongoing studies are also investigating whether magnesium can help prevent and manage high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and other disorders.
Phosphorus , a building block for our bones and teeth, also aids in kidney function, muscle contractions, steadying the heartbeat, and nerve signaling. This powerful electrolyte plays a role in using and storing carbohydrates and fats, and for making the protein essential to grow, build, and repair cells. Phosphorus is especially helpful in developing our connective tissues.
Silicon , not to be confused with silicone , the group of materials that resemble plastic, is a mineral often used as a supplement to help strengthen weak bones, treat heart disease, and support the cardiovascular system. A 2013 article published in the International Journal of Endocrinology cited studies that found consuming foods rich in silicon can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, particularly for postmenopausal women. It’s also helpful in healing skin and sprains and in treating digestive disorders.
Collagen , the most abundant protein in our bodies, is often referred to as the “glue” that holds us together. It is most commonly found in the skin, bones, arteries, and connective tissues, providing structural support and a degree of elasticity that makes our bodies incredibly resilient. Collagen is what makes our skin strong and elastic, and is vital in replacing dead skin cells. It’s especially helpful in healing wounds more quickly and revitalizing the skin. Studies have even shown that ingesting the collagen found in bone broth can reduce the harmful effects of sun exposure. You can also take is as a supplements as it has got many benefits.
Gelatin is the food term people use for collagen. It is the most visible indicator of the nutrients you will extract from animal bones and cartilage when making bone broth. Most of us are familiar with Jell-O, and properly prepared bone broth should gel similarly when cooled. Gelatin is a well-known treatment for brittle nails, among other things.
Amino Acids , the twenty-two compounds vital to proper functioning, are often referred to as the building blocks of life. Many of the proteins found in bone broth actually turn into these amino acids when we’re digesting them. Bone broth is rich in two especially important amino acids.
All of these nutrients are locked in the bones, tendons, and cartilage of animals until the slow-cooking process liberates them. By simmering the bones, joints, and feet of healthy, pasture-raised animals in water for hours, or days, you are creating an extract of collagen, bone, skin, marrow, and fat—the very essence of our being—that the body can use immediately and efficiently.
Adding vegetables and herbs to your bone broth only enhances its nutritional benefits. And including an acid such as vinegar or wine helps to extract nutrients, particularly the minerals, from the bones. The result is a delicious way to get our daily dose of vitamins—and then some. You can follow this recipe. These vitamins can aid virtually every organ and function of your body, from nourishing your skin to supporting your metabolic system.