Introducing the new hot drink around town – bone broth. Devotees claim this magical brew can help with everything from digestion and joint pain to better hair and nails. But is bone broth all it’s cracked up to be? WH investigates…
WHAT IS IT?
“Bone broth is a mineral rich infusion made by boiling bones of healthy animals with vegetables, herbs and spices,” says nutritional therapist Shani Shaker. The idea is to boil the bones long enough (think at least four hours) so that they begin to disintegrate and release all their nutrients.
WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT?
Good question! Bone broth isn’t exactly new – most cultures have cooked a form of it for hundreds of years. Hey, even your grandma’s eight-hour chicken soup is probably a not so distant cousin of today’s bone broth. But it’s been getting a lot of attention recently, not least due to Gwyneth Paltrow recently touting its benefits. Hey, where Gwynnie goes, we follow.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
“Bone broths are astonishingly rich in nutrients, particularly minerals and amino acids including glycine and proline,” says Shaker. “Glycine supports the body’s detoxification process and digestion while proline supports skin health, especially when paired with vitamin C.”
Got the flu? “Chicken bone broth inhibits neutrophil migration (in other words, it stops the cells that participate in the body’s inflammatory response) so helps diminish the side effects of colds, flus and upper respiratory infections,” adds Shaker. Guess your nan was right after all…
SOLD! ANYTHING ELSE?
It’s best to make your own rather than buy it from the shops, as typically store-bought bone broth has higher levels of sodium.
Also, don’t go overboard with it. Fiona Campbell, Registered Naturopath and Nutritionist and Lifestyle Labs says, “Bones are known to harbour the toxic heavy metal lead. A study published in 2013 showed that the lead concentrations in several types of organic chicken bone broth was several times that of the water in which the broth is made.”
Campbell recommends sticking to one cup a day as part of a healthy balanced diet. “And you may want to think about adding a teaspoon of spirulina to your brew, as a recent study suggests that it helps to protect the body from the adverse effects of heavy metal exposure,” she adds.
OK, LET’S MAKE SOME BROTH! HOW DO I DO IT?
Here’s Campbell’s favourite recipe:
- 500g of bones from freshwater fish (e.g. trout), grass fed organic beef, organic chicken or turkey
- 1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 onions, chopped
- Handful of fresh herbs, e.g. coriander, parsley, basil
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
Add the bones, vinegar and vegetables to a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Cover with a lid and simmer for 4 hours. When finished, make sure you cool the broth down as quickly as possible, store 3 days supply in the fridge, and freeze remaining portions (this helps to stop them from going rancid). Enjoy!