Hailed as the superfood of the paleo world, bone broth is incredibly nutritious. It's packed full of gelatin along with vitamins and minerals, which have potent healing benefits for your gut, joints, immune system, skin health, and more.
It's easy for your body to digest, and because of it's ability to promote healing (particularly the gut lining), it's a staple for anyone suffering from leaky gut, IBS, and a whole host of autoimmune diseases.
It's the slow and long cooking process that releases gelatin (a broken down version of collagen) from the connective tissue and bones, and it's gelatin that's the star of the show. Why's it so great? Well, major areas of our bodies are made from collagen – like our intestinal lining – and in fact, it's the most abundant protein in our bodies. Here's how getting more gelatin from bone broth can help:
The gelatin from bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. That means it attracts and holds liquids (including digestive juices), helping to heal and strengthen your gut lining, and support proper digestion.
Courtesy of chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage, bone broth can improve joint health and provide relief for those suffering with the likes of arthritis.
Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory effects. Arginine, for example, has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis (whole-body inflammation). Glycine also has calming effects, which may help you sleep better.
The amount of collagen we produce decreases with age, and fortunately studies have shown that supplementing with collagen increases our skin's firmness and texture, while decreasing dehydration and fine lines. This is why bone broth has been named "better than botox". Hallelujah.
You can now buy bone broth in the odd healthy cafe, or from supermarkets. But it comes with a hefty price tag – around £5 a serving. Fortunately, it's incredibly cheap to make yourself (and most likely, more nutritious). All you need to do is source high quality, grass-fed bones. This is a must. For a lowdown on why grass-fed is more nutritious, read our blog post here.
You'll be surprised how easy bones are to pick up from your local butcher, a farmer's market, or even online (we buy ours from Athleat.co.uk, and you can get £10 off using code 'FITTYLDN'). You can use chicken, beef, pork, or even fish.
The most efficient way to create your broth is to use a slow-cooker or crockpot. You simply chuck in your bones, add a few basic ingredients – carrots, celery, any leftovers from the week – then turn it on and go about your day. Come evening, you'll open the door to a tantalising aroma.
You can use bone broth as a base for delicious soups and stews, or sip it straight as a hot beverage. It can also be frozen for future use.
Around 1.5kg of bones
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (we use Willy's ACV)
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 celery stalks roughly chopped
1 onion roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
If you're using beef bones, roast them in the oven at 200*C for 40 minutes. If you're using chicken, ignore this step.
Place the bones in your slow cooker, and pour the apple cider vinegar on (this helps to draw out the goodness from the bones).
Chop your vegetables and garlic – no need to peel them – and add to the cooker. You can also add any vegetable scraps you've got lying around.
Fill the slow-cooker with water, and season with a generous amount of salt.
Cook on low – for chicken bones we recommend 24 hours, and for beef 48.
Then strain the broth through very thin mesh sieve, or a cheesecloth. A good broth will usually have a layer of fat on the top, which will gelatinize when thoroughly cool (you can use this to cook with – it's great for sautéing onion!).
Once it's cool, either keep it in your fridge or freezer. It should be good for a solid week.
If you're drinking it, why not experiment with adding spices and herbs? Think smoked paprika, garam masala, nutmeg, tabasco, chillis. Our favourite is to add turmeric, black pepper, extra ACV and fresh grated ginger.
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