If you’ve got a bone to pick with bone broth, I understand. While I personally love bone broth and found it essential in my gut-healing journey, I know to others, it can sound a little, unappetising.
If that’s you, I get it, but I would love to have the opportunity to change your mind.
What is Bone Broth?
Before we start, bone broth is vastly different from the packaged chicken stock you may have used to make soup. Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals. It’s a nutrient-dense stock that forms the backbone of many a soup and sauce but can also be drunk on its own. You can make bone broth out of practically any animal – including chicken, beef, fish, buffalo or lamb.
I’d love to share with you ten reasons why I think that bone broth is super healthy and why you might like to include it in your diet. By the way, if you are vegan or vegetarian, then homemade vegetable stocks are delicious and nutritious for you too.
The first reason I’d like to point out is that it’s mineral-rich.
If minerals and vitamins were dollars, bone broth would be rich! Bone broth contains protein, collagen, calcium, selenium, fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, iron, and vitamin A and K. This provides your body with essential nutrients, in an easy to eat and very easy to digest format.
- Our gut loves it.
Bone broth has been used for centuries as a digestive tonic, helping heal and seal the digestive tract’s lining while reducing inflammation in the gut. An amino acid called glutamine found in bone broth helps maintain the intestinal wall's function and prevents a leaky gut. Emerging research suggests that glutamine, along with other amino acids found in bone broth, may benefit people with irritable bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
If you’re looking for further gut support, I recommend Love Your Gut Powder. It helps remove the build-up of mucus, acid, plaque and bacteria in the gut to improve nutrient absorption and reduce digestive symptoms. If you’re looking to support your gut while on the move, why not try them in capsule form here?
- It’s an inflammation fighter.
Bone broth contains the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and arginine. Why does this matter? Well, chronic inflammation can lead to a whole host of diseases, including arthritis and cardiovascular disease; this is why it’s crucial to eat a highly anti-inflammatory diet and why I’m team bone broth. If you want to learn more about inflammation, click here.
- It’s excellent for the health of our joints.
Cartilage in the joints shrink and wear down with overuse, which can cause damage, pain and atrophy. Luckily, research indicates that collagen consumption can improve joint health and decrease knee pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis.
Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which support cartilage production.
- It can improve our brain function.
Bone broth can be extremely beneficial for our nervous system. The healthy fats within bone broth provide a source of fuel for the brain. Plus, bone broth is rich in calcium which is crucial for nerve health.
- Hello, glowing skin.
Collagen is blowing up in the beauty industry, and with good reason. Collagen is a significant component of the skin, helping keep skin wrinkle-free, plump and glowing. Unfortunately, as we age, our collagen production rate declines, so it’s crucial to replenish it through the diet to help slow skin aging and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
- It supports the immune system.
The small intestine acts as the first line of defence for our immune system. If the gut barrier becomes leaky, this can disrupt immune system function. We know that bone broth is protective for our gut, so it’s also a massive supporter of the immune system.
- It can assist with weight loss and weight maintenance.
I know it’s not all about ‘calories in’ and ‘calories out’, but if you are looking for low-calorie options to support a healthy weight, bone broth is an excellent option. Bone broth is full of protein which can increase satiation while being low-calorie which is ideal for the waistline.
- It can act as a sleep aid.
Glycine, naturally found in bone broth, may increase relaxation and promote sleep. Studies have shown that those who took glycine before bed fell asleep faster, maintained a deeper sleep and woke fewer times throughout the night. Glycine reduces daytime sleepiness, improves mental function and memory. Sign me up.
- It’s a bone protector and supporter.
Our bones are made mostly of collagen, which supports their structure and keeps them strong. Collagen consumption can increase bone mineral density and stimulate bone growth. Bone broth is also rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which creates and maintains healthy bones.
And that’s it! Bone broth is here to heal your gut, support your brain health and warm up your insides. What more could you want?
Beef Pho Bone Broth
S E R V E S 4
Bone broth is all the rage at the moment, but you can enjoy the gelatinous benefits of this age-old tonic in a variety of delicious ways. This particular twist will whisk you away to the streets of northern Vietnam, where pho originated in the early 20th century. It was initially sold at dawn and dusk by roaming street vendors shouldering mobile kitchens. The garnish of lime and bean sprouts is a modern variation on this traditional healing broth.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) beef bones (shin, knuckles, marrow and gelatinous cuts are good)
- 2 litres (68 fl oz/8 cups) filtered water, plus extra as needed
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- pinch of sea salt
- 6 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 3 cloves
- 1 brown onion, halved and sliced
- 1 × 7.5 cm (3 inches) piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) beef (e.g. sirloin), thinly sliced
- 3 zucchini (courgettes), spiralised
- handful bean sprouts, trimmed
- handful mixed basil, mint and coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Heat a large flameproof casserole dish over medium heat and melt the coconut oil. Add the bones and stir to coat. Cover and transfer the casserole dish to the oven for 30 minutes or until the bones are browned.
- Return the dish to the stovetop and add the water, vinegar and salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to as low as possible and simmer, covered, for 11/2 hours, adding a little more water from time to time if necessary.
- Carefully remove the bones using tongs and discard. Allow the broth to cool, then skim any unwanted fat off the top, setting it aside.
- Heat a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and toast the spices for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Move the spices to the side of the pan, add some of the reserved broth fat, then sauté the onion and ginger until the onion is translucent. Transfer to the casserole dish with the stock, then add the tamari and beef.
- Return to a gentle boil over medium heat on the stovetop, then reduce the heat to low, add the zucchini noodles and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente.
- Ladle into bowls, top with the bean sprouts, garnish with the herbs and serve with the lime wedges.
If you have a slow cooker, it’s perfect for this pho. If you prefer your noodles crunchier and your beef rare, you can put the noodles and beef into the bowls then pour over the hot broth.