Bone broth is one of the most popular trends in health and fitness right now.
Some people are drinking it to lose weight, improve their skin, and nourish their joints.
This article takes a detailed look at bone broth.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is a highly nutritious stock that can be made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue.
Recipes for bone broth often include an acid-based product, such as vinegar or lemon juice.
This breaks down the collagen and connective tissue and leaves you with a tasty, nutritious liquid commonly used in soups and sauces.
Bone broth has been getting a lot of buzz for the last few years among the health-conscious. Some people swear by drinking a cup each day.
You can make bone broth from any animal bones, but a few popular sources include:
- wild game
Any marrow or connective tissue can be used, including feet, beaks, gizzards, spines, legs, hooves, hocks, whole carcasses, or fins.
Summary: Bone broth is made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue. The resulting nutrient-dense liquid is used for soups, sauces, and health drinks.
What nutrients does bone broth contain?
The nutrient content of bone broth depends on the ingredients and their quality:
- Bone. The bone itself yields minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Sodium, magnesium, and potassium may also be present.
- Marrow. Bone marrow gives you vitamins A, B2, B12, and E, plus omega-3s, omega-6s, and minerals like calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc.
- Connective tissue. This tissue provides glucosamine and chondroitin, which are popular dietary supplements for arthritis and joint pain.
Bones, marrow, and connective tissue are all largely made up of the protein collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked.
Gelatin has a unique profile of amino acids and is particularly high in the amino acid glycine.
Summary: Bone broth contains many vitamins and minerals, which can be an important part of your diet.
How to make bone broth
Making bone broth is easy, and many people don’t even use a recipe.
All you need are bones, vinegar, water, and a pot.
But if you’re not sure where to start, here’s a simple recipe you can follow:
Start to finish: 4 hours (or up to 24 hours)
- 2–3 lb. (1–1.5 kg.) chicken bones
- 1 onion (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves (optional)
- 4 liters (1 gallon) of water
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt (optional)
- 1 tsp. pepper (optional)
- Put bones and any vegetables into a large stock pot.
- Pour water into the pot so it covers bones and vegetables. Add vinegar, then bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat, add salt and pepper, and let simmer for 4–24 hours. The longer it simmers, the tastier and more nutrient-dense it will be.
- Allow broth to cool, then strain out the solids. Now it’s ready.
You can also add other meat, veggies, or spices to your broth. Popular additions include:
- bay leaves
- lemon rinds
After it’s done, you can store the broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Instead of a pot, you may want to use a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or Crockpot.
Summary: Bone broth is very easy to make, and all you need are a few simple ingredients.
Health benefits of bone broth
Bone broth is high in many different nutrients, which may provide some impressive health benefits.
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For example, it contains:
- high amounts of various minerals
- the protein collagen
- the amino acid glycine
- the joint-improving nutrients glucosamine and chondroitin
Keep in mind that there aren’t any scientific studies that have looked at the benefits of bone broth directly.
However, based on its ingredients, bone broth may have the following potential health benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory effects. The glycine in bone broth may have some anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Weight management. Bone broth is usually very low in calories but can still help you feel full. This may be due to its gelatin content, which can promote satiety or fullness.
- Joint health. Glucosamine and chondroitin, found in the broth, may help to improve joint health and reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Bone health. Bone broth contains nutrients that are important for bone health, such as calcium.
- Sleep and brain function. Glycine has been shown to help improve sleep.
Summary: Bone broth contains several healthy and beneficial nutrients. It may have anti-inflammatory effects, can help improve bone and joint health, and may improve sleep quality.
Frequently asked questions about bone broth
Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about bone broth.
Where can I get bones?
You can use bones from the previous night’s dinner or get them from your local butcher.
The best thing is that bones are cheap and sometimes free. You may be able to find butchers who will give them to you at no cost instead of throwing them away.
Is there a difference between bone broth and bone stock?
Not really. These are essentially the same thing — the terms are used interchangeably. However, bone broth can sometimes be thicker.
How much of each nutrient is there in bone broth?
Ultimately, the nutrient content of bone broth depends on the quantity and quality of the ingredients. It also depends on the following factors:
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- which animal did the bones come from and what that animal ate
- how much bone is in the recipe you’re using
- the length of time the broth cooks for
- if the meat on the bone you’re using was previously cooked
Bone broth is high in many nutrients, some of which have health benefits.
However, there’s currently a major lack of direct research on bone broth.
At the very least, bone broth is a nutritious, tasty, and incredibly satisfying addition to your diet.