This fall, there's a new trendy hot beverage filling mugs across America and experts are already singing its health praises. So what is this magical elixir? Bone broth. Marco Canora, owner of the new New York bone broth shop Brodo (think Starbucks but savory), says broth has been considered a great healer in many cultures and in South America, where's he's from, it's even said that a good broth can revive the dead. (Broth is just one of the top 50 winter foods for weight loss.)
As a bone broth devotee, I couldn't be more excited about this news. I first learned about the broth interviewing a nutritionist about leaky gut syndrome. She told me that all of her patients drink bone broth and not only did they see vast improvements in gut issues, but she called it "magic." Then I read that bone broth is one of the three pillars of the LA Laker’s official team diet. If it's good enough for pro ballers, it's definitely good enough for me! So I headed off to my local supermarket only to find they had no bones. The local butcher was able to help me out some, but then he recommended I try the Asian food market. I found out that the best way to make bone broth is with the boniest bones you can find, like beef knuckles, chicken necks, oxtails, soup bones and, of course, tiny, creepy feet. Once you get the bones, making a basic broth is simple: Cram them all into a crockpot with whatever vegetables and herbs you have laying around, add water to the top, and boil on low for 24 to 72 hours. It will smell wonderful and you'll end up with a nutritious and cheap drink or soup base. (Here's a more detailed recipe for advanced chefs.)
But enough about me, here's why you should try drinking bone broth.
1. Heal and seal your gut. According to Jill Grunewald, a holistic nutrition coach and founder of Healthful Elements, a cup a day works miracles for leaky gut syndrome but it's also good for protecting non-leaky guts. The gelatin in the bone broth (found in the knuckles, feet, and other joints) helps seal up holes in intestines. This helps cure chronic diarrhea, constipation, and even some food intolerances.
2. Protect your joints. Taking glucosamine supplements to help with joint pain has been common knowledge for years, but it turns out that bone broth has glucosamine too. But unlike pills, the broth also includes a host of other goodies that help keep your joints happy, healthy, and pain-free. The chondroitin sulfate in bone broth has been shown to help prevent osteoarthritis.
3. Look younger. Bone broth is a rich source of collagen. You can find collagen in all kinds of “plumping” products these days, but why stick it on the outside when you can drink it? Not only is drinking it cheaper, but it can make your skin, hair, and nails look just as radiant.
4. Sleep better, and feel better. The glycine in bone broth has been shown in several studies to help people sleep better and improve memory.
5. Immune support. Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, actually calls bone broth a “superfood” thanks to the high concentration of minerals. He says that the bone marrow can help strengthen your immune system. (Something that won't surprise your grandma who always made you her famous chicken soup when you got sick!) A Harvard study even showed that some people with auto-immune disorders experienced a relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth, with some achieving a complete remission.
6. Stronger bones. The phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium in the bones seeps out into the broth leaving you with the essential building blocks for healthy bones.
7. More energy. I’m not sure what the mechanism is for this, but if you read accounts of bone broth, you’ll notice everyone swears by the energy boost. I’d prefer to see science backing this up, but the research on bone broth is still emerging.
8. It’s very economical! What else were you going to do with those chicken carcasses, soup bones, and veggies going bad in your fridge?