Start with bone broths – the elixir of life
Bone broths are essential in every kitchen. If you walk into a traditional food kitchen at any given time, you will undoubtedly be embraced by the homely atmosphere created by the aroma and sounds of a bone broth gently bubbling away on the stove. A good bone broth is at the centre of many meals produced in a traditional foods kitchen. After all “a good broth will resurrect the dead” according to a South American proverb. Not only does a good bone broth add a unique depth of flavour to food, it provides extreme nourishment on many levels.
An essential component of any traditional culture around the world for hundreds of years, bone broths are known for their healing, repairing and preventative qualities. Chicken broth alone, has been prized as a remedy and cure for many ills. The Jewish referred to chicken broth as the ‘penicillin’ remedy for the flu. 12th century physicians prescribed chicken broth to treat colds & asthma. It has been shown by modern research that regular consumption of bone broths are preventative and help to mitigate infectious diseases.
Unfortunately in recent years, these stories have dissolved. There are generations of children and people who simply cannot relate to the homely aroma of a bone broth simmering on the stove, let alone remembering it. Why? Like many other valued traditional food practices, the making and consumption of bone broths is a tradition that has been lost and replaced with commercially produced imitation type powdered and tetra packed ‘stocks’ that offer a host of unfavourable ingredients. More often than not, these products are not even made with ‘chicken bones’ or ‘beef bones’; the key components of a good bone broth!
When migrating towards a healthier lifestyle and making changes for the betterment of your health, an important step to take is, making bone broths and using this in all of your meals. This simple age old traditional food and its many health benefits are definitely under-rated.
Bone broths are the gelatinous liquid produced after gently simmering beef, chicken, fish, lamb or turkey bones, carcasses, feets, heads & or necks for 6-24 hours, in water with the addition of carrot, celery, bay leaves, parsley, celery & a little apple cider vinegar. This process extracts valuable proteins & minerals important for good health. An important note to make, is that when you make your own bone broths you are using bones from organic, pasture raised animals. This will give rise to a gelatinous rich broth, loaded with omega 3 fatty acids and essential minerals. It also reduces exposure to antibiotics and hormones. See (here) for recipe.
A properly prepared bone broth slowly simmered on the stove will contain minerals from bones, cartilage, marrow & vegetables as electrolytes in a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw these minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth.
5 BIG REASONS TO MAKE & INCLUDE BONE BROTHS IN YOUR DIET
1. Bang for Your Buck Bone broths are a very economical health supplement. They make good use of many parts of the animal that is often wasted on producing pet or stock food or fertiliser for the garden. So ask your friendly butcher for the large marrow bones and smaller soup bones, the feet, neck & heads of chicken. They all make great gelatinous bone broths and they are cheap. Not only do bone broths provide a nutrient dense food source rich with minerals, proteins & fats, they are the perfect means to stretching a meal, enabling the use of less meat and more broth. Think soups, gravies, casseroles, stews.
2. Amino Acids – Bone broths are rich in various amino acids, including glycine, proline, lysine & arginine.
- 35% of these proteins are glycine. This important amino acid is required in levels higher than our body can make during pregnancy and therefore bone broth is an important source of glycine at this time.
- Collagen rich foods such as bone broths are the best source of glycine needed for balancing out another amino acid know as methionine found in eggs & meat. Although methionine (obtained mainly from muscle meats) is important for cell growth & repair, cellular communication, antioxidant defence and detoxification, glycine assists in the safe disposal of methionine.
- Glycine assists in the Phase II liver detoxification of methionine , which is a crucial process for maintaining healthy function of the Central Nervous System (CNS). It also helps to regulate the synthesis of bile acids & is thought to promote wound healing and tumours.
- It is always best to consume foods high in methionine (such as muscle meats) with foods that are high in glycine (bones & skin). In other words, cook your meat on the bone, eat your chicken with the skin on, enjoy your pork crackling with your roast and devour sausages, rissoles & steak with a bone broth gravy to keep amino acids in balance. The presence of folate will also work with glycine to clear excess methionine from the body. The best sources of folate rich foods are green vegetables, liver & legumes. Bone broths contain another amino-acid known as cysteine, which encourages the expulsion of mucus from the lungs easier by thinning the mucus and making it less sticky. Hence assisting with recovery from colds and flus.
3. Essential Minerals – Bone broths are super concentrated with essential minerals. Throughout the gentle cooking process, a high amount of minerals are leached from the bones into the broth. These important minerals are in a form which our bodies can easily absorb and assimilate. They promote healthy bone growth and strong teeth. These minerals are important for proper nerve function, maintaining good body ph, contraction & relaxation of muscles & for regulating tissue growth. Calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, sodium & sulphate are rich in bone broths. The addition of apple cider vinegar to the bone broth, aids the extraction of these valuable minerals throughout the cooking time.
4. Glycosaminoglycans – such as glucosamine, chodroitin, sulphate, or hyaluronic acid are found in collagen rich bone broths. These bio-molecules are known for their powerful ability to support bone and joint health and to nourish ligaments, tendons & skin. Glucosamine in particular is known for its power to stimulate the growth of new, healthy collagen and help repair damaged joints. Collagen is not only in your joints, it exists in bones, arteries, hair, skin and everywhere in between. “This means glucosamine rich broth is a kind of youth serum, capable of rejuvenating your body, no matter what your age” (Shanahan).
5. Gelatine – Bone broths are rich in gelatine and according to Dr. Campbell-Mcbride, bone broths are an important component of healing and sealing the gut and promoting healthy digestion. The proteinaceous quality of gelatine from bone broths is hydrophilic – which means they attract digestive juices to the surfaces of cooked food particles. “Gelatine acts first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been used successfully in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, including hyperacidity, colitis and Chron’s disease” (Fallon).