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July 24, 2017

If you are active anywhere on social media these days, chances are you’ve heard a lot about bone broth and that it’s great for gut health.  Well, it’s true.  At least for most people. Some people with digestive disorders such as SIBO, or allergies like Histamine Intolerance are best to find a qualified nutritionist or naturopath to help guide their gut healing strategy to suit their specific needs, as some foods that are helpful for gut health, like fermented foods or long cooked broths can cause unwanted effects for some people.


So … you’re hearing about how awesome bone broth is for the Gut but you’re not really sure why it’s good or how it’s different from any other stock or soup you normally cook?  Well, read on for some simple explanations.


Stock is often made from meat bones (chicken, beef, lamb) and odds and ends of vegetables in the fridge and is generally the base for soups and casseroles.  It’s usually cooked for a short period of time from around half an hour to two hours.  Because of this shorter cooking time (relative to broth) there is often only small amounts of gelatine found in the stock.  When a stock is cooled, there is often only a fine layer of thicker stock at the top that has formed from the fats and collagen extracted from the stock bones.


Bone broth on the other hand is meat bones cooked in a liquid base for long periods of time, such as in a slow cooker, anywhere from 3 hours to 24 or even 48 hours. The best bones to use are usually those


of large joints, big bones with marrow inside, and chicken necks and feet are great for increasing the gelatin content.   Some people find that roasting the bones before cooking as a broth provides a great flavour to the finished broth.  


When a broth is cooled, there is often a thick layer of firm broth filled with gelatin on the top, and depending on the bones used, a layer of meat fat.    The fat can be either removed easily when cooled, or mixed back into the broth when it’s warm again for extra nourishment.


The reason why bone broth helps with gut health and immunity is because the long cooking time allows minerals; protein building blocks in the amino acids glutamine, arginine, glycine and proline; collagen and gelatin to be extracted from the bones.


Gelatin and proline are great for promoting the body’s production of collagen and cartilage, so it helps maintain good skin and digestive health.  Glycine is great for the digestive function as it helps with formation of gastric acid in the stomach, and bile salts that are used in the process of digesting good fats.


Minerals found in bone broth include calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, sulfur, and other trace minerals that are so beneficial for bone health, metabolism, immune health and many of the body’s basic functions.


What if you’re vegetarian or vegan and don’t want to use meat bones?  Well, you can still create an amazingly flavoured broth using vegetables, mushrooms and seaweeds which will provide a great source of minerals and phytonutrients that can be used in the same way as bone broth, but it won’t provide the same ratio of nutrients that bone broth does.


So now you’re thinking that you make your own broth but you’re not sure how to make it or how you will use it?  There are some recipes below that will suit both carnivores and vegetarians. Broth can be quite versatile so why not try experimenting with a few options to find out your own favourite way – here are some suggestions:


  • When the 3pm slump hits and you’re looking for a pick me up, try a hot cup of broth instead of another snack that won’t keep you satisfied for long.  When the weather is warmer, try a cool cup of broth instead of a hot one;

  • Wanting to cut down on the morning coffee hit but need something substantial to replace it?  Again, a nice warm cup of bone broth could be a great start to your morning;

  • Use it in soups or other slow cooked meals that call for stock or another basic liquid;

  • As a base for your own home-made sauces or gravy;

  • If you have a dehydrator or can borrow one, dehydrate thick bone broths to make your own

     stock powder.