By Donna Mischke, Director of Family Services at Concierge Care Advisors
Recently I had to rush out of town to help a sick relative having some emergency surgery. Within a few hours of arriving, I began the process of making some health healing bone broth. Our family has been making this for several years now and I truly believe it has healing powers. Its very easy to make and there is plenty of evidence that drinking it can be very beneficial.
Back in prehistoric times, hunters and gatherers would use the inedible parts of an animal such as the bones, hooves, and knuckles to make a soup type broth they could drink. Bone broth can be made from bones of many animals including but not limited to chickens, pigs, cows, veal, turkey, deer, lamb, or fish. The marrow and connective tissues like feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards, and fins are great to use, and are where most of the healthy extractions live. Bone broth is simple to make and only takes a few bones, water, a big pot and some heat. I have been making mine in a crockpot for a while and really like this method. You can quickly mix the ingredients and forget about it for anywhere from 1-3 days.
If you are still reading and haven’t been totally grossed out by the thought of boiling animal bones and chicken feet, then I can tell you some of the wonderful healthy reasons to give it a try. Of course, each batch will depend on what type of animal bones you use and where the bones come from. Animal bones are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and many other healthy trace minerals. Fish bones contain iodine and connective tissue provides glucosamine and chondroitin. Marrow is high in vitamin A and K2 along with other minerals like boron, manganese, zinc, iron and selenium, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Also, these animal parts will contain collagen which turns into gelatin containing essential amino acids. This gelatin is said to support healthy digestion and may be beneficial for individuals with leaky gut or inflammatory and irritable bowel syndrome. By boiling and simmering these bones over a few days, you can create a very tasty and super healthy drink.
Scientists say our overall health is directly related to the health of our intestinal tract. Bone broth can benefit the digestive system by helping to reduce chronic inflammation and improve joint health. Other studies have shown that bone broth can help brain function and help improve sleep. I prefer to find my beef bones from grass fed and finished animals. I like my chicken bones to be from organically and humanely raised, free range chickens. The same goes for any other bones I would use in my broth. The healthier the animal, the healthier the broth. I prefer to make separate batches of beef broth or chicken broth but mixing different types of bones is acceptable as well.
Bone broth is easy to make and there are many recipes on the internet. While a few of the steps may differ, I start with a crock pot and add about 2-4 lbs. of bones. I then add about a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar. I turn the crockpot on high until it boils. At this point, I turn it down to simmer and will let it continue for 24-72 hours. In my opinion, the longer it cooks the better it tastes. Allow the broth to cool down when ready to serve or store. Use cheesecloth to strain the broth into a large container. You can now store the broth in a jar in the refrigerator for 5-7 days or freeze small cubes in an ice tray and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
As I mentioned above, there are many different recipes, and you can add vegetables and other spices to your broth. Sometimes I add onions and garlic and other times I might just add some salt. You can also use a big stock pot and do this on the stove or use an instant pot for fast bone broth. If you don’t feel like making it, store bought bone broth is also available. Just check the labels for organic and whole food ingredients only. I have also heard there are bone broth cafes opening in some cities.
I try to drink a cup a day for health benefits. I make sure and drink a cup if I feel a cold or other illness coming on. The broth can also be added to other dishes and soups if drinking it is not desirable. So, if you’re interested in trying a new healthy trend, go buy some bones.