Bone broth, or marrow broth, is often thought to be nothing more than a stock broth or just a warming fluid for those cold winter nights. The reality is that marrow broth offers significant nutritional and immune support. I prescribe it to patients who have had surgery or are prepping for surgery, patients with fragile GI tracts, and patients with chronic debilitating illness. I drink a cup of clear bone broth many mornings before work or before going to the gym to support my immune system and fuel me up for the day ahead.
Bone broth is a great source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, in forms that your body can easily absorb. It’s rich in the amino acids glycine and proline, which are important for a healthy gut and proper digestion, muscle and wound repair, a strong immune system, and healthy nervous system. It also contains chondroitin and glucosamine, the compounds used to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain.
Finally, smaller “soup bones” contain collagen, a protein found in connective tissue, which is abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin. The gelatin in bone broth can help heal a leaky gut, which may be of specific benefit those with inflammatory or autoimmune disorders. These compounds also reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation, prevent bone loss, and build healthy skin, hair, and nails.
I use very large bones for when I'm in the mood to eat the softened marrow. I also use smaller flat beef bones, cartilaginous poultry bones, chicken feet, and knuckle bones for when I need a gelatinous bone broth. I always make my own and never buy prepackaged. I purchase the bones from my local butcher, who carries grass-fed beef and free-range poultry from reputable farms.
Basic Marrow Broth Recipe
- 4 quarts water
- 1 - 2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 large onion, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 2-3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- 2-4 lbs. beef or poultry bones
Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker set on high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the setting to low for 12-24 hours.
Larger bones should cook longer than small bones. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes!
Skim the fat several times during cooking. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, and discard the waste.
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