The Amazing Benefits of Bone Broth
January 26, 2018
You may have heard about bone broth and its purported health benefits, which include everything from decreasing inflammation to improving joint functions. But is there any truth to these wide-ranging claims?
“The benefits of bone broth have been making headlines because it’s believed bone broth has special nutritional properties,” registered dietitian nutritionist Amy Jamieson-Petonic says.
Even though there is not a lot of evidence-based research that bone broth is the secret to good health, “this does not mean bone broth is unhealthy, it just isn’t the cure all for everything that ails you,” says Jamieson-Petonic.
What is Bone Broth?
The terms broth, stock and bone broth are typically used interchangeably. Bone broth, broth and stock are built on the same basic recipe of water, meat or bones (or both), vegetables and seasonings.
There is nothing new about bone broth because chefs and home cooks have been using feet, knuckles, tendons and bones of all sizes from poultry, beef, pig and fish to make rich, nourishing broths forever.
“Many cultures have long regarded broth as a healing food, especially if you consider the tradition of eating chicken soup when you're sick with a cold or the flu. There’s seolleongtang in Korea, sopa de lima in the Yucatán and ‘Jewish penicillin’ (chicken soup with matzo balls), to name a few,” Jamieson-Petonic says.
One benefit of a steaming bowl of chicken soup filled with vegetables is that it can reduce inflammation in nasal passages and improve healing from a cold, she says.
"So your grandmother was right. Eat your chicken soup," she says. It’s good for you.”
How to Make Bone Broth
Packaged or canned broth is readily available in supermarkets, but anyone who can boil water can easily make bone broth at home.
“If you read the labels, you will see prepared broth is high in sodium, which may be okay for healthy adults, but is not good for people with high blood pressure or kidney problems,” she says. “That’s why I tell my clients to get back into the kitchen to improve their health. When you make your own broth, you use fresh ingredients and can season the broth to suit your own taste.”
The good thing about homemade broth is that you can use any part of an animal, including feet, heads, necks and backs, knuckles or tails. After letting the broth simmer for up to 24 hours, the stock will have a clear, rich color ranging from translucent (fish bones) to golden-yellow (chicken bones) to deep brown (ruminant bones). If you added vegetables, this may affect the color as well; for example, beets will turn the broth red.
For a delicious, substantial soup to be enjoyed during Northeast Ohio’s cold winter months, Jamieson-Petonic recommends these recipes for either a hearty bone broth made with beef bones or a nourishing vegetarian stock for people on a meat-free diet.
Slow Cooker Bone Broth
- 3 pounds beef bones, or more to taste
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorn 2 bay leaves
- Cold water to cover
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Kosher salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; spread beef bones out on prepared baking sheet.
- Roast bones in preheated oven until browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Place carrots, celery, onion, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves in a slow cooker. Place roasted bones over vegetables; pour in enough cold water to cover bones. Add apple cider vinegar and kosher salt.
- Cook on low for eight hours. Pour broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and discard any strained solids.
- You can skim the froth that forms at the surface of a stock as it cooks, but there's no real reason to do so. Do this only if you must have a clear broth. Otherwise, keep it in and garner the health benefits.
- You can also remove the congealed fat that forms at the top when the stock is cooled. If the bones are from grass-fed and pastured animals, the fat will be healthy for you.
Vegan Bone Broth
Makes about 3 quarts
- 4 tablespoons neutral oil like avocado, grapeseed, or safflower
- 2 cups celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup golden beets, thinly sliced in strips
- Small handful of dried wakame reconstituted in a bowl of water
- 4 cups mix of fresh chopped spinach and kale
- 2 tablespoons tamari or nama shoyu soy sauce
- ¼ cup organic light miso paste
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 to16 cups of water or veggie broth
- *Optional: 1/2 chunk of fresh turmeric, finely chopped, 1 cup chopped onion and 1 to 2 cloves garlic minced.
- In a large stock pot, sauté celery in oil over medium-low heat. If you’re adding turmeric, onion and garlic, add them now as well.
- Once celery is tender – about 5 minutes – add bay leaf, beets, water or veggie broth and soy sauce. Increase heat to medium and cover the pot.
- Drain the excess water off the wakame and add it to the pot. Bring to a near boil and reduce heat to low, letting broth simmer for about 45 minutes. Add spinach and kale, parsley and miso paste, stirring until miso dissolves.
- Strain off vegetables and use broth or serve with veggies for a light soup.
Traditional bone broth is simmered for as long as 24 hours. If that long cooking extraction method speaks to you, these ingredients (except for miso paste) can all go into a slow cooker. Once the broth is ready, add miso paste just before serving.
Source: Organic Authority
Amy Jamieson-Petonic, M.Ed., RDN, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. You can request an appointment with Jamieson-Petonic or any other University Hospitals health care professional online.