Homemade soup has a strong reputation as a healing food and there's a good reason for that. In particular, soups made with bone broth are especially healing for digestive conditions and other chronic disorders.
So, what is bone broth and why is it beneficial?
Bone broth contains the minerals of bone, cartilage and marrow in a form that is easy to assimilate and healing to our gut. The biggest benefit to the gut is due to presence of collagen and gelatin in bone broths:
Collagen is the protein found in connective tissue. It is abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. When cooked, collagen breaks down and produces gelatin.
Gelatin acts as an aid to digestion and has been successfully used as a treatment for digestive conditions such as Crohn's disease, constipation, IBS, hyperacidity, and colitis. Gelatin can also be beneficial for patients suffering from intestinal disorders for a few of reasons:
1. It soothes the GI tract by lining the mucous membranes of the intestines thus protecting it from ingested materials. Because of this healing property, gelatin is said to be a great way to treat leaky gut syndrome.
2. It allows the body to fully utilize complete proteins that are consumed making it essential for those who cannot have large amounts of meat in their diets.
3. Gelatin absorbs water and helps keep fluid in the digestive tract allowing food to move easily through the gut and promote and healthy bowel movements.
How To Make Bone Broth
Preparing bone broth is simple. You can use a collection of bones from organic, grass-fed, or pasture-raised animals to prepare your broth. For chicken broth use a layer or stewing hen's feet, skin, necks and back. For a beef broth, use boney bones, marrow bones, meaty bones, or knuckle bones. Place bones in a large stockpot and cover with cold filtered water. In order to extract the essential minerals from the bone, add an acid, such as apple cider vinegar, to the water. Bring pot to a boil and immediately reduce to simmer. Be sure not to boil your stock, the ideal temperature should be 185ºF. While cooking, frequently remove any impurities that rise to the top with a spoon, ladle, or mesh skimmer. Simmer your broth for 6-24 hours. Remove from heat and immerse the bottom of pot in an ice bath to prevent a sour flavor from developing. Strain the broth with a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. This stock can be refrigerated up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for later use.
Healing Chicken Broth
- 4 lbs chicken necks, back, wings (or combination)
- 4 quarts of pure water, cold
- 3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 onions, coarsely chopped with skin on
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 bouquet garni ( 4 sprigs thyme, 4 sprigs flat or curly parsley, 4 sprigs dill, and 1 bay leaf tied with kitchen string)
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
1. After you thoroughly clean the chicken pieces, make sure to cut the neck and wings into several parts (cut the joints of the wings to expose the collagen of the bone).
2. Place chicken pieces and vegetables in a stock pot, cover with pure cold water and vinegar. Let stand for 30 minutes.
3. Bring to a gentle boil, skim scum that rises to the surface and reduce to heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer for 6-24 hours.
4. Remove from heat and immerse the bottom of pot in an ice bath until cool.
5. Remove bones and strain broth with a fine mesh colander into wide-mouth mason jars or glass containers. When cool, the stock should gel.
Daniel, Kaayla. (June 18, 2003). "Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin." The Weston A. Price Foundation. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
Fallon, S. Nourishing traditions. (2001). Washington, DC: New Trends Publishing, Inc.
Francesca is a certified holistic health coach, cooking instructor and author of the health and wellness blog Sprouting From The Soul. Based in New York, Francesca features a mix of her plant-based recipes, wellness and nutrition tips, and all things SOULful on her blog. Francesca is on a mission to bring more whole foods to your plate and nourishment to your soul by providing you with the right tools and knowledge to show that eating healthy can be simple and and satisfying. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.