What Is Bone Broth? Uses, Benefits & More
Bone broth has been causing quite a commotion in the world of natural health and wellness for the past decade or so. You may have read about celebrities that swear by its beautifying benefits or even seen it on a swanky, upscale menu infused with lemongrass and turmeric.
If you’re new to the world of diet and health or are simply looking for a simple weight-loss strategy, bone broth is about to become your new best friend.
Read on to discover why it just might be the revolutionary superfood you need to jump-start your health goals!
What Is Bone Broth?
You may have seen or even purchased bone broth at your local grocery store, but the bone broth we’ll be talking about is much more complex than the thinner, more stock-like broth you might be used to adding to your favorite soups or stews.
Authentic bone broth is one of Earth’s naturally high-powered healing foods. This nutritious broth is both complex and heartwarming, and can do more than just comfort you when you are under the weather.
Bone broth is made by simmering animal bones and connective tissues with some type of acid for an extended amount of time in purified water. The long cooking time is what gives the broth all of its nutritional benefits — it’s what helps infuse the broth with more of the vital nutrients, minerals, amino acids, and collagen from the bones.
Apple cider vinegar is often added as the acid and is said to carry its own health benefits. You can also add in additional spices or herbs, like turmeric or lemon peel, for added flavor or even additional wellness benefits.
Bone Broth’s Rich History
Bone broth has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for hundreds of years. The broth used in TCM is mostly beef bone broth made from the bones of cows, which are thought to have gut-healthy minerals, proteins, and fats.
Some documentation from the 12th century points to chicken broth’s use as a healing agent. A similar Caribbean dish, cow foot soup, is said to have strengthening properties because the broth is rich in collagen.
For centuries, bone broth has been used in many different cultures for a wide variety of health and wellness benefits, such as:
- Soothing colds
- Relieving digestion and supporting gut health
- Supporting hair, skin, and nails
- Helping with weight management
- Supporting mobility
- Supporting the immune system
- Helping with sleep
How We Make Bone Broth Today
Today, anyone with a little extra time can make bone broth! Learning how to make bone broth is easy as long as you own a slow cooker or a big stock pot.
Simply fill a large pot with some water, throw in a whole chicken carcass or two, and season with sea salt or veggies. Leave it to slow cook for 24 hours, and you’ve just made your own bone broth!
If you want to try adding bone broth to your meal plan but don’t own a slow cooker or pressure cooker, or just don’t have the time to babysit that broth while it simmers, you’re in luck. Today, many nutrient-rich, organic bone broth products that are on the market have already been slow-cooked for you, like our very own Powdered Bone Broth.
Are Bone Broth and Regular Stock the Same?
You may think of these terms as interchangeable. After all, they’re both usually made from bones and meat from animals and fish.
The main difference is that stock is usually simmered with vegetables and spices for a much shorter amount of time. Meanwhile, bone broth derives all of its nutritional health benefits from the slow cooking process. While normal broth or stock is only cooked for a few hours, bone broth is usually cooked for up to 24 hours.
It's in that process that the vital nutrients are extracted from the bones, giving bone broth its signature thick texture, rich flavor, and nutritious content. While stock has some health benefits, it doesn’t hold a candle to bone broth’s nutritional density.
The Health Benefits of Bone Broth: What Makes Drinking Bone Broth So Nutritious?
What can adopting a diet rich in bone broth do for your health? Adding this one simple but extremely nutritious broth to your daily routine can support your health in so many ways, from promoting joint health to aiding your digestion.
Promotes Joint Health
Bone broth contains the amino acid glycine, which is an essential building block your body needs to create joint cartilage. When you have strong cartilage in your joints, you may be at lower risk for certain types of joint pain.
Other nutrients in bone broth that can contribute to joint health include:
- Gelatin - This compound may promote healthy cartilage and support overall joint functioning.
- Chondroitin sulfate - This compound helps to keep your joint cartilage hydrated and happy.
- Glucosamine - This compound is another important building block for cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
- Hyaluronic acid - This molecule helps encourage cartilage hydration and can reinforce the squishy barrier between joints.
- Sodium, potassium, and calcium - These electrolytes can help hydrate joints, which may support smoother movements.
May Encourage Better Sleep
By adding a nutritious broth to your meals each day, you may also be helping your bedtime routine. Beyond supporting your joints, glycine also plays an important role in sleep regulation.
Glycine can help your body stay at an optimal temperature for high-quality sleep. Plus, glycine can help support your natural serotonin production. Since serotonin is a building block for melatonin, a known sleep regulator, bone broth can go above and beyond when it comes to your much-needed shut-eye.
If you are constantly experiencing stomach bloat or gas after a meal, it could be a sign of a bacterial imbalance in your gut. Years of poor diet and nutrition practices can lead to these imbalances, as well as damage to your intestinal lining.
Bone broth, specifically the gelatin it contains, may support your intestinal lining to promote natural nutrient absorption and overall gut health.
Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Bone broth is also full of many other vitamins and nutrients that can help support your overall health. These include:
- Calcium - This mineral helps maintain strong bones and teeth and also supports healthy heart and muscular function.
- Phosphorus - This mineral helps build and repair tissues from all parts of your body and is also used to build DNA.
- Potassium - This mineral helps your body retain and distribute hydration.
- Magnesium - This mineral plays an important role in energy production and can also help support your muscles.
- Amino acids (glycine, glutamine, and proline) - These amino acids can help support proper digestion and natural collagen production. They may also promote a healthy metabolism and contribute to overall wellness.
Encourages Weight Loss
If you can’t seem to get rid of stubborn belly fat, drinking bone broth may be the solution.
Drinking bone broth may help curb unhealthy junk food and sugar cravings while balancing nutrition, which can provide some serious support on your weight loss journey. It can also support a healthy metabolism, which plays a huge role in weight loss.
You may also see an increase in your energy levels, which can help you have the energy to take that extra lap around the block when you're exercising.
Why? Because bone broth is packed with protein. And this protein doesn’t just affect your energy — it can also help you feel fuller for longer while still packing in a hearty helping of nutrients.
Nutritious Source of Collagen
Of all the possible benefits of drinking bone broth, what could be more appealing than a more youthful appearance? Seriously, how much money would you pay (or have already paid) for products that promise to boost collagen production, stimulate new skin cells, or even slow the production of fine lines and wrinkles?
It’s no secret that, as you age, your collagen production starts to decline. That’s when you start to notice things like fine lines, saggy or drooping skin, and even under-eye bags.
The good news is, you can supplement your waning collagen production by drinking bone broth. Not only does bone broth contain loads of collagen, but it also contains gelatin, which can support natural collagen production.
How Do You Use Bone Broth? Recipes and Tips
Bone broth is not only full of health benefits, but it’s also delicious! Its rich and hearty flavors make it an excellent replacement for regular broth or chicken stock.
There are several ways that you can incorporate bone broth into your daily diet. Here are a few to get you started:
- In a soup or stew - Bone broth can be used like regular broth in soups or stews to add flavor and nutritional value. Bone broth is a bit thicker than the regular broth you may be used to cooking with, so it may take a few tries to get the hang of it. As an added bonus, try adding in a few veggies and meats to bring out the flavors of your broth.
- For cooking your rice - Most of the time, your container of rice is going to tell you to boil it with water. However, you can use bone broth instead for a richer flavor. Plus, the rice will soak up the nutrients and add health benefits to whatever meal you’re cooking. Or, if you’re like Dr. Kellyann, you can use your bone broth for cooking low-carb cauliflower rice!
- In a gravy- You can use beef or chicken bone broth just as you would normally use broth or stock when making gravy. It’s a great way to supercharge this culinary staple, and it’s also a great way to make the holidays a little healthier. You can use gravies to add flavor to turkey, chicken, potatoes, and more.
While these are just a few starting ideas, feel free to get creative!
If you want some more tips, Dr. Kellyann has a collection of bone broth recipes on her blog!
If you currently follow a special diet like keto, paleo, gluten-free, or soy-free, you may also want to ask your nutritionist for some bone broth recipes that are tailored to your specific dietary needs (though bone broth is generally a very friendly option for these diets!).
Bone Broth: An Ancient Liquid With Big Health Benefits
Bone broth is a thick broth that is made by boiling down meatyanimal bones to extract their essential nutrients. From supporting your joints to promoting a healthy digestive system, bone broth can transform you inside out.
For thousands of years, people from all cultures have been writing about the lasting health effects of bone broth. Take stock of that testimony, and see for yourself by drinking a mug or two of bone broth every day!
Looking to learn more about bone broth and tons more to support you on your health and wellness journey? Explore the Dr. Kellyann blog here for more articles like this!
Ready to try Dr. Kellyann’s famous bone broth for yourself? Explore the best bone broth around here.
Roles of dietaryglycine, proline, and hydroxyproline in collagen synthesis and animal growth | National Library of Medicine
The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen: Meet the Protein Behind Healthy Skin and Joints | The Cleveland Clinic
Bone Broth Vs. Stock: Which is Better? Bone Broth Has the Added Benefit of Collagen But It’s More Expensive| The Cleveland Clinic