SERIES: Ancient “Super-foods” for Beauty & Health
By far, one of the best examples of “food = medicine” is bone broth. Homemade bone broth has been lauded as a health tonic for everything from beautifying skin, to dealing with sensitive GI issues and joint pain (and much more). How can such a simple food have so many advantages? Homemade bone broth contains many beneficial nutrients, as well as trace minerals and amino acids. For non-vegetarians, it can be a great way to boost energy during times when you may be feeling overworked and worn out.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, bone broth is one of the main foods recommended during times of recovery, including post-surgery and post-partum. Often, it is combined into a porridge with grains and healing herbs, and eaten daily for breakfast.
If you are looking for a simple, time-tested way to nourish your whole body (including skin, cartilage, joints, bones, hair, skin and nails), this broth is definitely the way to go.
Bone Broth Benefits
Supplementation with foods that support natural collagen formation can improve skin hydration, elasticity, wrinkling and dermal collagen density. Dietary collagen can only be obtained from animal sources, but there are many foods in plant-based diets that will help boost collagen formation in the body <insert>.
My top recommendation for a food-based source of collagen is making (or buying) a high quality bone broth. It includes actual animal-source collagen, but also many of the nutrients and amino-acids that help our bodies naturally produce our own collagen.
Making Bone Broth at Home
It is fairly easy to prepare as follows. If possible, try selecting bones from organically raised poultry or grass-fed beef. The quality of bones (and nutrient value) will reflect in the taste of the final broth. If you are working with standard beef bones, I suggest first blanching them to enhance taste.
As an optional step, you may also wish to roast the bones prior to setting up the stock pot. You’ll find this adds a depth of flavour. If using poultry bones from a roast chicken, you may opt out of this step.
You will need:
- A large stockpot
- Choice of bones: chicken, turkey, fish, beef (grass-fed, organic recommended)
- Enough water to cover up the bones (add more as needed)
- 1-2 tbsp of of an acid such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (helps to break down the bones)
- 1 roughly diced carrot, unpeeled
- 1 roughly diced celery branch, with tops
- onion skins (save skins in advance)
- tbsp of black peppercorns
- Roast bones on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Place bones along with all ingredients in the pot, cover and let sit for 15 minutes
- Bring ingredients to a boil
- Then reduce heat to low, partly uncover and simmer for at least 8 hours (up to 48 hours)
- Make sure the bones are always covered in water, adding more water as needed
- Skim off any foam that appears on top of the liquid
- When done, remove bones (and veggies, if added) and transfer cooled liquid to a covered container
- It may be very gelatinous at this stage, or may turn to gelatin once refrigerated
- Once refrigerated, there may be a thick layour of fat on top – remove and use for other cooking if desired
How to use bone broth:
- Use as a base for other meals (to cook grains, soups)
- Use as a nourishing drink in the morning (reheat a spoonful in a mug with hot water)
- Kept refrigerated it should be consumed within 5 days, otherwise store frozen for longer.
- Enjoy on a daily basis!