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Bone broths have been part of traditional diets around the world for thousands of years. You’ve probably used them for soups or other dishes for flavor, but did you know that they also have incredible healing capacities?
Why Bone Broth Is Good for You
There’s a reason your grandmother always fed you chicken soup with traditional bone broth when you were sick.
Traditional bone broths can help:
One of the most healing nutrients found in a traditionally prepared bone broth is collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body that holds your tissues, muscles, and joints together. It’s made up of amino acids—including glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline—which can help promote a healthy gut.
Bone broth also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to help osteoporosis, joint pain, and arthritis.
Other nutrients found in bone broth include:
- Vitamins B3 and B12
Not All Broths Are Created Equal
It is important to note that not all broths and stocks are the same. The canned or boxed vegetable or chicken broth that you find at the store has a different cooking process and nutrient constitution compared to traditionally prepared broths.
A traditional bone broth is cooked for a longer period of time—typically six to 12 hours—compared to a quick broth, which takes between 30 minutes and one hour. During the longer cooking process, more vitamins, minerals, and proteins are drawn from the bones to create a gelatinous texture. This texture is needed for healing purposes and will appear when the broth is cooled or at room temperature.
How to Make a Healing Bone Broth
Bone broth can be made with any type of animal bone, including:
To get the most nutritional benefits, make sure to use bones from organic meat or poultry to avoid added hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, and pesticides.
You can buy animal bones from your local butcher or from a health food store at the meat counter. The bones might not be displayed, but you can ask if they have any in the back.
Another great way to get bones is to cook a whole organic chicken (or pieces of chicken that are still on the bone) in an oven or slow cooker, and then use the leftover bones for your broth.
The cooking time will vary depending on which type of bones and cooking method you use. Bone broth can be made on the stove or in a slow cooker. To keep things simple, try the following recipe.
Easy Collagen-Rich Bone Broth Slow-Cooker Recipe
This bone broth is rich in nutrients and doesn’t take a lot of effort to prepare. Simply place the ingredients in a slow cooker and enjoy several hours later.
- 2 carrots, chunks
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 celery stocks, chopped
- Bones from one chicken (organic/free-range)
- 2 chicken feet* (buy these from your local butcher)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 6 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 to 9 cups filtered water
*Chicken feet help create a gelatinous and nutritious stock. Don’t worry, you will remove them before consuming the stock. If you can’t find chicken feet, ask for a few chicken neck bones.
Place all ingredients (except for the water) into the slow cooker.
Add filtered water until it fills your slow cooker (amount of water will vary depending on size of slow cooker).
Cover and place on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.
Remove lid and take out vegetables and chicken bones with a slotted spoon. Discard the bones and vegetables.
Strain the remainder of the stock into two mason jars.
Let cool for 30 minutes before placing in the refrigerator.
Note: To reheat chicken stock, do NOT use the microwave—it will deplete some of the nutrients. Place in a small sauce pan on the stove over medium heat.
If you don’t have time to make your own bone broth, there are some great options at your local health food store (look in the freezer section). You can also find reputable bone broth dealers online:
How to Consume Bone Broth
Your bone broth can be used as a base for soups, sauces, or as a cooking liquid for beans, grains, and vegetables. It can also be consumed on its own as a hot beverage. Try adding a pinch of sea salt and/or fresh grated ginger for flavor.
Consume a minimum of one cup of broth per day if you are looking to:
- Heal your gut
- Strengthen your bones
- Boost your immune system
If you have a specific medical condition, work with a nutritionist or health care provider to determine the amount of broth you should consume per day.
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*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.