Bone Broths: Nature’s Magic Elixir

According to an old South American proverb, “good broth will resurrect the dead.” While this is an obvious exaggeration, it speaks to the value placed on this wholesome food, going back through the annals of time, including the days our own grandmothers insisted that we eat chicken soup to cure our colds.  Did our ancestors (and grandmothers) get it right?  We think so. And modern science seems to agree.

Bone broths have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to nourish the kidneys, fortify the blood, and support our vital essence (or chi). There’s no fancy wizardry involved though, as bone broths are simply stocks made from animal bones.  Bone broth was a way our ancestors made use of every part of an animal, when nothing went to waste.  Bones and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments that we cannot eat directly, were boiled over a period of hours (and sometimes days).  Our own grandmothers somehow knew this to be true, and even before modern science caught up, they understood that there were many healing benefits—in addition to delicious ones—from sipping this broth. Unfortunately, as the corner butcher store became replaced with the corner fast food restaurant and the dreadful MSG (contained in many store bought bouillon cubes and soups), bone broths started to become a thing of the past. Today, modern science has finally validated what our grandmothers knew –  that the simmering of the bones and ligaments actually does release powerful health aids.  Today, we know these benefits to come in the form of compounds, like collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine, and minerals, like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur, all of which have the power to transform your health. 

Collagen is crucial for your bones, ligaments, cartilage, and brain, can even be effective in treating arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases. Collagen is the gelatinous jiggly layer atop your broth (or what we sometimes find in our cooling roasting pans). Before you toss it next time, think again – this is the good stuff!  Collagen is the protein found bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.  The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin. In recent years, medical scientists have discovered that your health is in large part dependent on the health of your intestinal tract. Many of our modern diseases appear to be linked to an unbalanced mix of microorganisms in our digestive systems, thanks to an unbalanced diet too high in sugars and too low in healthful fats and beneficial bacteria. Collagen contains valuable nutrients and protects and soothes the lining of the digestive tract and can aid in healing IBS, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and acid reflux. Gelatin promotes probiotic balance and growth. Not only is collagen incredibly good for your digestive system, but studies have also shown that its power to enhance your connective tissue helps your skin look more radiant (someone with smooth skin has high connective tissue) and helps decrease cellulite (which comes from a lack of connective tissue).  

The gelatin in bone broths also contain amino acids arginine, glycine, glutamine and proline.  These amino acids also contribute to the broth’s incredible health benefits. Amongst other things, they are good for the immune system, release growth hormones, prevent the breakdown of protein tissue (like muscle), help detoxify the body, promote strong and healthy bones, skin and teeth, and improve sleep and memory, relieve joint pain, and aid in digestion.

It appears our ancestors (and grandmothers) had it right. So, let’s bring back this homemade remedy and restore balance to our modern Western diet, so reliant on processed carbohydrates. Our bodies will thank us for it.