By Kiwani Lowansa Allen
It’s still winter-ish, depending on where you live, and therefore still flu season. This season has been a doosie. When you are sick or when people are sick you need to make an extra effort to stay well. It turns out your grandmother was right, eating chicken soup made with homemade broth has amazing healing properties! Mineral rich bone broth is not only good for your immune system, it’s good for your gut, skin, hair, and has all the amino acids necessary (glutamate, cysteine and glycine) to create glutathione, one of the main antioxidants in the human body. An antioxidant is a chemical that resists the chain reaction of oxidation, which can be damaging to the cells in your body. Not only that but bone broth is also fairly high in protein: 167g (which is about 6oz) contains roughly 16g of protein. Pretty great right?
Here is how you make it:
1-2 lbs of bones*
1-1½ gallon of filtered water (depending on the size of your stock pot or slow cooker)
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
*The best bones to start with are knuckle bones from grass-fed beef or buffalo or pasture raised chicken bones.
You can add vegetable and herbs like onions, garlic, thyme etc. But don’t add them in until just three to five hours before you are about to stop cooking your broth otherwise they will get bitter.
Put all your ingredients into your slow cooker or stock pot and cook on medium-low heat for 12-24 hrs. Some people say more time is necessary but 24 hrs seems to work great for me. The amount of time is why I use a slow cooker so I don’t accidentally burn my house down. That would kind of negate all the gut healing of the bone broth! When it’s all done, put it in the fridge and let it cool, then skim off the fat. I separate the broth into quart-sized containers and freeze all but the one I am currently using.
How do you use bone broth? You can drink it straight, use it in soup or stew, use it in roasts or braises or any old thing you might want a little bit of savory liquid for.
Bone broth is also high in gelatin. You’ll see that after cooking it for 10 or more hours it gets really “gloopy” after it’s cooled down. The gelatin in bone broth is from the marrow and from the ends of joints. So, what is gelatin good for?! More like, what is it not good for? It helps support healthy joints, skin, gut, hair, nails and more. Gelatin is made up largely of the amino acids glycine, proline and glutamic acid. With all that cooking comes a bunch of minerals released form the bones (the vinegar in the recipe helps break down the bones) like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Getting them in liquid and all natural form makes them super easy to absorb unlike a lot of supplements that are from synthetic sources. If you are like me when you have the flu you might take an NSAID like Ibuprofen to help with the pain and inflammation. In general I try to avoid drugs but when you can’t sleep because of pain…. you do what you need to do. The good news is the glycine in gelatin is also really great for gut healing and inflammation.
As mentioned above, bone broth is also good for the skin. There is a distinct relationship between gut health and skin health. Glutamine has been shown in some human trials to support gut health by helping improve the function of tight junctions. This might account for reduced gut permeability. Tight junctions are specialized connections between cells. Gut permeability can be linked to several issues, one being skin issues. The WebMD definition of gut permeability is:
“A possible cause of leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability or intestinal hyperpermeability. That could happen when tight junctions in the gut, which control what passes through the lining of the small intestine, don’t work properly. That could let substances leak into the bloodstream”.
When unknown “things” get into the bloodstream they are called antigens and can cause an immune or inflammatory response. i.e. hives, acne, etc. All in all, bone broth is kind of magical. I hope this inspires you to make your own amazing bone broth.
Kiwani Lowansa Allen was born and raised in Idyllwild. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Exercise Science from Bastyr University. She is also a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist (with more than 1000 hrs of training) and a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher.
The health section on SpecialsNotOnTheMenu.com is sponsored by Sky Island Organics, which has a natural food store, cafe and art gallery at 54423 Village Center Drive, Idyllwild.