Bone Broth: Fad or Functional?


Do you ever feel like it's hard to keep up with what foods are new and trendy and if they're actually good for you?

Since bone broth has been all the rage lately, today I'm going to demystify if it's an expensive hoax or nutritious gold.

Not to sound too edgy here, but I've been drinking bone broth since the early 90s, way before it was put on the map in the US as a gut-healthy food.

Bone broth has been used in other cultures for centuries and my ancestry includes one of those cultures. I am half Persian and half Argentinian—my Iranian mom used to make bone broth for me and my sister whenever we were sick because of its immune-boosting properties. We now laugh about how "bone broth" is actually just "stock" (that has simmered for a bit longer) but that if you put something in a mason jar and give it catchy name, it can sweep the nation as the coolest new thing to have. Why didn't we think of that?

What exactly is bone broth? Bone broth is made from animal bones and connective tissue — typically from cattle, poultry, or lamb but can include fish — that have been boiled into a broth and slow simmered with herbs, spices, and vegetables (usually onions, carrots, celery, garlic) for a minimum of 12 hours but up to 24-78 for richer flavor and nutrients.

What to look for: quality is essential when choosing bone broth. You want organic, grass-fed cattle or pasture-raised poultry as these will yield the most nutrient-rich broths and you won't be getting unnecessary hormones or antibiotics.

Why is it good for you? Bone broth does more than soothe the soul. The slow simmer time enables all of the beneficial proteins, collagen-rich gelatin, minerals, and compounds to be released from the bones and makes the nutrients easy for your body to absorb. Without getting too science-y, here are the spark notes on how bone broth promotes better health.

Joints: bone broth provides an excellent source of easily absorbable collagen that can help restore cartilage and gelatin that can help form and maintain strong bones.

Gut and immune system: according to Dr. Axe, one of my favorite functional medicine doctors, amino acids in collagen build the tissue that lines the colon and entire GI tract so supplementing with collagen can support healthy digestive function. In addition to helping form strong bones, gelatin can also restore gut lining strength, fight food sensitivities, support the growth of good gut bacteria (aka probiotics), reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, and help increase absorption of nutrients from other foods.

Skin, hair, and nails: as we age, collagen production declines. The collagen in bone broth can help maintain skin's youthfulness by reducing wrinkles, puffiness, cellulite formation, and stretch marks. You can expect to see benefits in your fingernails, hair, and teeth as well because the collagen protein provides the building blocks for these as well!

Bonus: it helps aid detoxification by supporting the liver, boosts metabolism, supports nerve function, and more. Bottom line, bone broth lives up to the hype. If you don't want to spend $10-$12 per cup, you can make a pot yourself and store in the refigerator for about 5 days or freeze it. This is a simple recipe from Dr. Mercola.

Are there other trendy foods that you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comments!

In good health,