I grew up in Northern Italy drinking a cup of bone broth before winter meals. It warms the digestive organs and prepares the intestines to relax, digest food, and assimilate nutrients. We would make broth from chicken, beef, and/or pork bones after we had eaten the meat.
For me, bone broth is simple, nourishing, grounding and a great way to get into our bodies and take ease in the moment. It is easier to make than you might think and has profound healing properties.
Bone broth contains the amino acids arginine, glutamine, and cysteine, have been shown to boost immunity in humans and animals. In addition, cysteine chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine. In 2000, a study conducted by the American College of Chest Physicians found that chicken soup made with bone broth alleviates symptoms of the common cold, by clearing mucus, opening respiratory pathways, and providing easily digested nutrition.
Bone broth has a rich history of being used as a digestive tonic, especially in Traditional Chinese Medicine, an ancient and unbroken healing tradition. Today, it’s one of the top recommended foods for improving symptoms of chronic digestive conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis.
The reason for why bone broth is so healing for the gut goes back to collagen, which is released from the bones as they cook and becomes gelatin as the broth is cooked down. Collagen and gelatin are rich in amino acids that reduce inflammation in the gut, such as glutamine. These compounds also have the unique ability to heal inflammation-related tears in the gut lining, which can cause a condition called leaky gut.
Glutamine, an essential protein building black found in bone broth, specifically targets the intestinal lining and helps to rebuild it for stronger digestion. When vegetables are added to the broth, it contains electrolytes (minerals) and carbohydrates (from vegetables), which help keep us hydrated. Hydration is always important and is crucial during the healing process.
Your gut bacteria are constantly speaking to your brain. The makeup of gut bacteria, called your microbiome, influences mood, memory, cognition, and adaptation to stress. When the microbiome is healthy, the brain is also healthy.
Research is finding that the degenerative and inflammatory diseases on the rise in industrialized societies can be corrected by the use of gelatin-rich foods such as bone broth due to the presence of restorative amino acids such as glycine, alanine, proline, and hydroxyproline.
During a recent cold, I had the honor of adding Urban Herbs immune-boosting Chinese herbal blend to my bone broth. My family’s illness, which had been lingering for almost two weeks, literally dissipated overnight. I highly recommend steeping bone broth with medicinal herbs. You can procure these in Montpelier at Integrative Acupuncture or online at Urban Herbs.
Easy Bone Broth Recipe
You will need:
Bones, skin, and giblets from 1 roast chicken** – hormone free + antibiotic free
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
Any medicinal herbs you wish to add
2 stalks celery
After roasting a chicken, place the remaining ‘frame’ of the chicken (the bones, skin, and cartilaginous bits) into a crock pot or pot.
Cover the bones with water, adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
Cover and cook on low for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 2 hours.
Carefully strain the broth through a fine metal sieve and discard the bones.
Use the broth immediately, store in the fridge for about a week or freeze for future use in ice cube trays for quick defrosting.
**If you would like to use beef bones, make sure you roast them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes before adding them to your broth.