A few years ago, I dismissed my acupuncturist’s prescription for bone broth because it sounded too weird (even for me). I’ve been known to drink apple cider vinegar and even bentonite clay but something about cooking up bones and eating the stuff that came out of it freaked me out a bit. Now my friends are chatting it up and the Internet is singing its praises. I decided to do the research to answer the important questions: What is bone broth and why is everyone talking about it?
What is bone broth?
Bone broth has become the latest food trend promising to cure all with its nutritional benefits. It is similar to stock in that you roast animal bones then simmer the bones with vegetables and herbs. The main difference is that bone broth is supposedly more nutritious because you simmer it for a much longer period of time (3-4 hours versus 12-48 hours) thus allowing for the release of nutrients.
Why are people talking about it?
Bone broth has become really trendy, possibly due to the popularity of Paleo-type diets. The New York Times says it “ranks with green juice and coconut water as the next magic potion in the eternal quest for perfect health.”
This concoction is said to have a variety of health benefits. The Naturopathic Physician who penned New York Times bestseller Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet promises it helps to shed pounds, inches and wrinkles. In addition to weight loss claims, health blogger Wellness Mama maintains it is supposed to support hair, skin, nails, joints, gut and immune health.
Although it is trending now, bone broth is not exactly new. Eater explains “beef tea” was a popular health drink in the 19th century. Florence Nightingale called it, “An illustration of great nutrient power in sickness.” A South American proverb claims, “A good broth can resurrect the dead.”
Is bone broth backed by science?
The experts say the health claims may not be up to snuff. In the article “Science Can’t Explain Why Everyone is Drinking Bone Broth,” Dr. William H. Percy refutes the claim that the collagen in one pot can help your hair, skin, nails and joints. “The idea that because bone broth or stock contains collagen it somehow translates to collagen in the human body is nonsensical.” While NPR agrees there is not enough research to back up these claims, they also provide a variety of recipes for it.
Not all of the health claims surrounding bone broth are a load of crap. Like we mentioned in our article on cold remedies backed by science, chicken soup may actually help defend against infection and inflammation and the same should apply to bone broth made from the bones of chicken:
“Research says it may be better than over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. The soup inhibits the movement of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell that defends against infection.”
Should you drink bone broth?
Why not? It’s easy and inexpensive to make. You don’t have to deal with the sodium in pre-packaged stocks when you make it yourself. A bowl now and then has at least some health benefits—but don’t go overboard. According to The Seattle Times it should supplement a broad, whole-food diet.
Bone Broth Recipes:
Ready to say yes to bone broth? Here are some recipes to get you started:
- Nourished Kitchen is popular blog working to revitalize traditional foods. They list a few recipes here.
- The Kitchn is another blog that features easy to follow recipes with a ton of pictures.
- Wellness Mama features an informative guide that tells you everything you need to know to make bone broth at home.