Many people and cultures recognize humble chicken soup as a wonderful part of the cure for the common cold and more. Recently the idea of consuming bone broth or brodo for health has been trending. So why the big interest and what makes bone broth unique?
Sometimes referred to as brodo, bouillon, broth or stock, all of these terms are the same concept expressed in three different languages. Typically they are constructed by simmering bones, vegetables, and herbs in water. The long cooking process breaks the bones down, releasing nutrients and minerals resulting in a nutrient-rich easily digestible liquid. This liquid is called broth or stock in English, brodo in Italian and bouillon in French. Consommé is bouillon which has been clarified using egg whites to remove excess fat and sediment. Soup often starts with a stock or broth to which additional ingredients like cut up vegetables, chunks of meat, beans, grains, pastas and other flavorings are added.
In Chinese Medicine there is the concept of “essence” or Jing which is a storehouse of energy much like the wood pile of logs we keep to fuel the fire in the fireplace. We are born with a certain amount of Jing and it gets consumed as we age, just like the wood gets burned in the fireplace. Some life experiences consume more Jing than others: stress, overwork, pregnancy and labor, demanding lifestyles, excessive sex and extreme physical exertion. Symptoms such as low libido, fatigue, apathy, cloudy mind and signs of premature aging indicate what we call Kidney Jing Deficiency. Including bone broth in your diet on a regular basis can help replenish your Jing giving you the fuel to keep living life to its fullest. Also for couples having difficulty conceiving a baby, drinking a cup of bone broth daily will boost their Kidney Jing and improve their chances of successfully conceiving and having a healthy baby.
Bone broth contains a variety of nutrients that are fundamental to maintaining good health in an easily digestible form; these include:
- Calcium, phosphorus and other minerals
- Silicon & other trace minerals
- Glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate
- Components of collagen & cartilage
- Components of bone & bone marrow
- Essential amino acids – proline, glycine & glutamine
Some of the benefits of consuming bone broth regularly are that it can:
- Reduce joint pain & inflammation
- Inhibit infection and support the immune system
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote healthy bones & cartilage
- Promote healthy skin, hair & nails
- Heal & seal your gut (intestines)
- Improve sleep & memory
- Support healthy blood & liver function
- Increase energy
Some of the common issues that can be helped by consuming bone broth regularly are:
- Auto-immune disorders
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reflux (GERD), Chron’s disease, ulcers & food allergies
- Injuries to soft tissue (including surgery), bones, cartilage and teeth (including cavities)
- Poor healing of wounds
When we sleep better and feel better, we naturally have more energy to accomplish our goals each day and bone broth can be a beneficial part of our self-health care. It can also be very economical as you can use leftover meat carcasses and bits of vegetable scraps that would otherwise end up in the garbage or compost pile. It takes time to produce your own broth but for me it’s a labor of love with very little work. Mostly the stock just needs to simmer with occasional tending by me.
Here are some places to get started making your own bone broth.
- My favorite chicken (or turkey) broth/soup stock that I have been making for years. In this recipe I skim off the fat so you get a nourishing low-fat broth.
- If you want to make a more complete meal out of it here is my basic soup recipe starting with homemade stock.
- Two Brodo recipes from Chef Marco Canora of Hearth & Brodo, New York: Beef Brodo Recipe and Chicken & Beef Broth