So much more than just a simple stock
There is so much press on the bone broth right now. There are even restaurants that are serving up bone broth ‘to go’ to help keep locals healthy and nourished this winter season. The benefits of bone broth have been known for centuries, but it seemed to be lost in our to go, fast paced world for a number of years. But it has made a resurgence as more and more people are looking to more traditional methods of healing and the benefits of slow (cooking, living, eating) are starting to get talked about more and the health benefits that come along with that.
Slow isn’t something that comes easily or naturally to many of us in this modern world (who’s got time?!), but luckily, bone broth is incredibly easy to make and it really requires very little effort on your part. And little bits of slow (or in TCM as we like to call it – yin) infused into your day, week, year can help you feel more recharged, centered, grounded and healthier day by day, preventing burn out and long term health problems.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the bones are considered the deepest part of the body. The skin being the most superficial layer and the bone and its marrow, where the deep reserves or essence are contained. They say your bones (including your teeth) are a marker of the state of you Kidney energy in TCM, which basically equates to your bank account or reserve of energy.
We tend to eat a lot of meat in North America, but often leave less ‘desirable’ parts of the animal behind. This is a waste, not only not valuing the animal, but also using only a limited amount of the nutrients available. In China if you order some meat or animal dish you have to use it all – something made with the meat, the skin and the bones. This ensures that nothing is put to waste, but also ensures that you’ll be eating a larger selection of nutrients. Throughout many traditional medicines, there is the approach of like cures like. TCM is no different. We use food as medicine and when someone is weak or imbalanced in one area, we highlight foods that are going to nourish them and help strengthen them and restrict foods that are going to work against them.
If you eat meat, or animal products, eating a variety of the cuts and types of meats can be incredibly beneficial to your health. It’s always important to start with a healthy, well-treated, ideally grass-fed and non-medicated animal. If you have Liver issues in TCM (for women scanty periods or anemia, dry eyes and blurred vision, muscle spasms or dry cracked nails), eating liver on a regular basis can actually be incredibly helpful offering you the nutrients (b vitamins, iron, vitamin a etc.) that will help you heal. Eating the skin and the collagen filled connective tissue found when cooking joint bones is excellent at healing your skin and keep it looking subtle and healthy. Chickens feet (yes, chicken feet!) in China is actually considered a beauty food because of all the collagen rich connective tissue in the joints. Dim Sum anyone?
So in using the bones in cooking, and making a bone broth, we are tapping into a source of nutrient dense and bone building nutrients. But the benefits of eating bone broth on a regular basis doesn’t stop with building your bones, the positive effects are many…
Some Benefits of Bone Broth:
Improves joint health and helps regenerate cartilage – by using bones that contain joint tissue on them (knuckle, rib, feet or neck), the components needed to build healthy joints like gelatin and chondroitin sulfate are transferred into the broth and can significantly reduce joint pain and discomfort over time.
Boosts immune system – Our immune system health is dependent on our white blood cells, which help our bodies fight infections battle incoming pathogens. These are made in the deepest level of the bones – the bone marrow. When we include marrow bones in our broth, we include the white cell components as well as the stem cells that help us produce new cells. Eating bone broth daily, particularly during the winter months when were more prone to colds and flus can help keep your immune system super charged and you super healthy!
Strengthens Bones – The longer we cook bones, the more minerals that are needed to build our bones are leached out into the broth. Minerals such as calcium and phosphorus are released as well as other trace minerals including magnesium, silicon and sulphur. These nutrients are key bone builders, particularly for those who are diagnosed with osteoporosis or another bone disorder. Consuming bone broth daily, when you have weak bones or don’t consume enough of these key minerals through your regular diet.
Helps to rebuild the digestive tract. Any digestive or intestinal issues such as: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Acid Reflux, Crohn’s disease and Leaky Gut can benefit from the regular consumption of bone broth. The high gelatin content is key for gut recovery and helps the body recover from digestive ailments. Including leaky gut, something which we hear about a lot these days and is a serious problem for many, can affect everything from our absorption of nutrients to mood and emotions to immune system function.
Prevents Anemia and builds blood. When we cook bones and the blood building components found in the marrow are released into the broth, we give our bodies the key building blocks to produce red (and white) blood cells. The gelatin is particularly helpful in preventing anemia. Women who consume bone broth around their menstrual cycles can help rebuild some of the blood lost. Adding in other blood building foods such as leafy greens, beets and herbs such as dang gui or gou qi zi (goji berries) can also help boost the blood building properties. See the bone broth recipe for other ideas.
Boosts Brain function: contains key ingredients (osteocalcin and fats) to help boost brain function and help Brain Disorders including Alzheimer’s
Auto Immune disorders –
Reduces inflammation, arthritis and joint pain
Helps Nerve function: Both the fat and minerals in the broth are essential for health and function of nerve tissue
Increases collagen production – helps with Weak Nails, Thinning Hair, cellulite, wrinkles and connective tissue in general
- Helps improve sleep and memory performance
- Adrenal Exhaustion
- Muscle and nerve function
- Great for Post Partum Women
- Post Menopausal women
- Helps Balance Endocrine System
- Burn out
- Anyone in recovery from surgeries, long-term illness, cancer
- You know, Basically Everybody!