The Benefits of Bone Broth & Gelatin
There was a time when the bones from the Sunday roast (or from the last hunt!) were subsequently used to make a broth (sort of somewhere between a soup and a stock) for the coming days. It was not simply down to being frugal. A broth made with bones is incredibly beneficial for our intestinal tract, and these days it seems the health of our gut pretty much reigns over the way our bodies are functioning and how we are feeling. Broth is easily digestible, helps heal the lining of our gut, and contains valuable nutrients. It contains minerals in a form the body can easily absorb, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons; chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine (yes, that’s right, substances you can pay a fortune for now as supplements to assist with joint health).
Bone broth is also incredible for speeding up healing and recuperation from illness; chicken soup being the one we turn to for fighting off colds and flu, or simply to comfort us during times of ill health. Making your own bone broth is very cost effective, as you can make use of left over carcass bones that would otherwise be thrown away. Of course, if it is chicken soup or broth that you are making, you will want to get a free range chicken void of added hormones. To make your broth, simply cook the chicken in a large pot with water, covered with a lid (usually for about 2 hours). Take the chicken meat off the bones and return the bones to the pot. Continue to simmer the bones in the water – for a further 12 hours at least is best, as this gives time for the sulphates and gelatin to come out of the bones. Then remove the bones (or drain the liquid off, whichever is easiest). Add vegetables to the liquid (such as diced carrots, celery and potato… bok choy, spinach and/or peas). When the vegetables are almost cooked, add a handful of the cooked chicken meat back in (and use the remainder as your protein source for salads for the next day or so). You might also like to add some turmeric for additional inflammation fighting properties.
This type of broth can of course also be made from beef or lamb bones. You can also leave it as a clear broth, or add minimum vegetables or fresh herbs.
Here’s some reasons for taking the time to make your own bone broth and reap the benefits of gelatin (primarily, but also other minerals):
- Promotes healthy bones (essential for women in menopause)
- Assists the liver with detoxification processes, assisting to rid the body of toxins
- Aids good digestion, restores gut lining and promotes a healthy gut – gelatin absorbs water, helping to keep fluids in the digestive tract, which assists bowel movements
- Assists with food allergies and intolerances
- Reduces joint pain
- Fights inflammation
- Inhibits infection (think colds and flu) and helps wound healing
- Assists with beautiful skin – gelatin provides glycine and proline, two amino acids that are used in the production of collagen… and is thought to protect against the aging effects of sunlight
- Promotes hair and nail growth
- Improves sleep quality
- Provides a good source of protein
- Assists with weight loss – increases the production of Human Growth Hormone and boosts metabolism
It makes sense doesn’t it? I mean there must be an element of ‘good stuff’ missing from our diets as a consequence of losing some of the old ways of food preparation and eating. These days we really don’t need to think long term with regards to what we are going to eat and what we can utilise in multiple different ways to get maximum meals out of it… because we can just pop to the supermarket anytime, every day if we want to. We also no longer consume the same variety of parts of an animal, thus missing out on the parts that are high in gelatin, such as skin, tendons, and other gelatinous cuts of meat. Vegetarians should not miss out on these benefits either…. buy a high-quality gelatin powder to add to food or to create healthy and delicious gelatinous desserts. As with everything, there is gelatin and then there is gelatin! I’m not talking about the gelatin in jelly (or Jello) that is full of artificial colours, flavour and sweeteners…. make sure it is from a pastured and grass-fed source.
Enjoy getting back to basics and a little bit primal !