You may have heard about bone broth, or LIQUID GOLD, and how it’s all a rage for healing your gut. If something’s wrong, pour the bone broth on it and it’ll be fixed (kind of like the My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s Windex cure-all solution…). Yup, it’s pretty spot on. Bone broth is incredibly beneficial in healing and sealing our gut lining, tightening the junctions in our small intestine (where my leaky gut peeps, at??), boosting digestion, supplying us with glowing collagen, and much more. So all of that is great, but it doesn’t solve the HOW of getting it into our diets regularly. Of course, drinking a cup a day is a no-brainer… but there are even more creative ways to sub or include bone broth into our regular meals, so you don’t even have to think about it and still get to enjoy all the magical benefits it will provide you with!
FIRSTLY, for those in the back… WHAT THE HECK IS BONE BROTH, AGAIN?
It’s basically just water, bones, and apple cider vinegar simmered low and slow for approx. 20-48hrs. This cooking process allows the nutrients in the bones to release– collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, other amino acids, and minerals– creating a nutrient-dense broth that becomes thick, and even gelatinous when cooled (reference). Many cultures have long included versions of bone broth for years and years as a part of their diets. Dr. Weston A. Price learned this on his quest around the world studying indigenous people and noting how they were all thriving and much healthier than “people of commerce”… AKA… US, the people who have been exposed to processed foods. One of the commonalities he found from these groups of people who had never been exposed to processed foods, was that they all had a version of bone broth in their diets (reference).
Ever hear “Chicken soup heals all”? It’s something likely your grandmother, great-grandmother or earlier are VERY familiar with. Yet, something we lost in our more modern, processed, quick…fast-food type of culture. But we all reach for that chicken soup when we are sick almost instinctively! Luckily, we are circling back to the even more nutrient-dense version it!
SECONDLY, WHY you’d want to include bone broth in your diet on the regular vs. just when you’re sick…
BENEFITS OF BONE BROTH
- STRENGTHENS YOUR IMMUNITY: The collagen and amino acids in bone broth help strengthen and repair our gut lining, which is where over 70% of our immune system resides. Our gut lining within the small intestine contains protection in the form of villi and microvilli, they’re similar to toothbrush bristles which you’d want to be tight to be most effective. And if you’ve heard of something called “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability, this is when that protection has become loose… aka, those “toothbrush bristles” now look like they’ve been abused for 6 months and so they’ve loosened up (if you can picture that)! The openings of these “bristles” so-to-speak… allow undigested foods to release into the bloodstream (leaky), which our immune system inherently perceives as a threat… thus launching attacks. This is partly why so many food sensitivities and autoimmune diseases are on the rise. The villi and micro-villi (or toothbrush bristles in my analogy) become so loose and ineffective after years of eating processed foods, GMOs, refined sugars, excess carbs, antibiotics, and more. Basically, the Standard American Diet has been a perfect recipe for leaky gut. And, bone broth helps to seal and heal these junctions like nothing else with its amazing amino acids, which are building blocks in our bodies. In this way, bone broth can also effectively reduce food sensitivities.
- STRENGTHENS YOUR DIGESTION + DETOXIFICATION: Bone broth aids in stomach acid (HCl), gastric juices, and bile salt production which is necessary for proper digestion, the assimilation of nutrients, and protection against pathogens, parasites, and more. This also promotes more regular bowel movements, hello detox (reference).
- IMPROVES JOINT HEALTH: The gelatin and collagen help to strengthen the skeletal system, rebuild connective tissue, ease joint pain, and reduce inflammation. As mentioned, amino acids are building blocks in our bodies. Think of these guys as the repair crew. If you’re recovering from a workout, have chronic joint pain, inflammation, arthritis, or anything similar… bone broth is a must (reference)!
- GLOWING SKIN, HAIR, AND NAILS: If collagen is involved, you can bet it’s going to make you even more beautiful. Collagen provides the building blocks for your skin, hair, and nails.
- BRAIN FUNCTION: That gut-brain connection is so real. Our brain is our 2nd gut, so when you support your gut, you directly affect your mental health and mental state. Glycine is one of the amazing amino acids found in bone broth which has connections to better sleep, more focus, improving mood disorders and anxiety, and overall support to our mental health (reference).
- OVERALL HEALTH: “All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates | What ancient Greeks knew back in the day, we have just circled back to. I could go on and on about the benefits bone broth provides, but the bottom line is… by supporting your gut regularly and maintaining strong gut health, you are supporting your overall health as it affects everything. Bone broth is an easy, delicious and nutritious way to do it and with my tips below, you’ll have even more ways to incorporate it easily and consistently.
NOW, ONTO THE GOODS…
5 Ways To Get More Bone Broth In Your Diet
Ideally, 1-2 cups of bone broth per day are amazing for healing the gut. But, any little bit you get is going to be great for you. Drinking it alone or loaded with toppings like ghee, spices, or avocado is a favorite for sure and always a great go-to. Here are some more ideas!
one: As a cooking liquid
This might seem like a no-brainer, but honestly, the possibilities are endless here! Use it to sauté your greens, pour it in ground meat hash, throw it at the bottom of your whole turkey or chicken… and whatever else you can dream up. I also love using it in my Instant Pot stew.
two: In your smoothie!
Stick with me here, because YOU WON’T TASTE IT. Nope! Using 3/4-1 cup or so of bone broth (frozen or fresh) is a great way to use up bone broth. You can even freeze it as ice cubes if you’d like. You can grab a recipe for my Cinnamon Roll smoothie using bone broth here.
three: In soup, of course.
Use bone broth as your stock or water ALWAYS! Not only is it a no-brainer, but honestly, it will taste way more flavorful too. It’s also an easy way to make a quick, clean out the fridge type of meal vs. waiting hours for stovetop soup to develop flavor. That part is already done for you. Simply add your veggies, protein, and SPOON! Here’s an example of how I do this for a 15 min. dinner solution. And another idea for bone broth ramen here!
four: In dips, sauces, and gravy.
The rule still applies… you have liquid in a recipe, try it with bone broth. Why the heck not? Try my mushroom gravy with bone broth for a richer, nutrient-dense situation.
five: In your hot cocoa.
As for what bone broth to use… I have a tried and true slow cooker recipe you can use here and as for brands to buy, my absolute favorite is Bonafide Provisions which you can find in the freezer aisle at Whole Foods or order online! They’re sourcing and production quality is the best.
I hope these ideas were helpful for you and get you drinking more bone broth on the regular!