Confession: we are total bone broth addicts. And with its many benefits – anti-inflammatory, rich in collagen, seriously delicious – why wouldn’t we be? We sat down with one of our fave nutrition experts, Rachel Molenda, to find out more about why our obsession with bone broth is actually a good thing.
She also has a great recipe here, which is exactly how we make it, except we also add lots of ginger and turmeric to add an extra boost of nutrients and flavour. If you don’t feel like making it or, more likely, don’t have time to make it, you can also grab a jar from our go-to bone broth destination, Impact Kitchen.
What is bone broth and why is everyone sipping on it?
Bone broth is a savoury healing liquid made up of chicken, beef, fish, or lamb, and sometimes includes other health-promoting foods like garlic, ginger, carrots, celery, and apple cider vinegar. It’s similar to the stock you would make for a soup, except the intention is to drink it like you would drink tea from a mug.
Bone broth has been touted for its many healing properties and its ability to support gut health, boost the immune system, improve joint health, treat leaky gut, and maintain the health and integrity of your skin. It’s chock full of amino acids, collagen, glycine, glutamine, and trace minerals that are easy to digest and widely known for their healing and health-boosting properties.
Whether people are struggling with poor digestive health, low immunity, achey joints, or dull skin, the growing number of studies to support the health benefits of bone broth are convincing enough for them to hop on board and for restaurants and cafes to jump on the trend (that I hope is here to stay) too.
We’ve heard it helps with leaky gut syndrome. Can you explain what that is and why bone broth helps?
Leaky Gut Syndrome, also known as intestinal permeability, occurs as a result of the lining of the small intestine to become damaged from pro-inflammatory foods, excess alcohol and sugar, candida overgrowth or parasites. As a result, undigested food particles leak through tiny openings (known as tight junctions) in the intestinal wall where the immune system detects them as foreign pathogens and becomes hyperactive. This leads to things like inflammation and can lead to food sensitivities as well.
But thanks to all of that gut-healing collagen, glutamine, proline, and arginine found in bone broth, we can repair and seal these tight junctions to prevent this from happening in the future.
Can you break down the difference between gelatin and collagen, what we are getting in bone broth, and why it’s beneficial?
Gelatin and collagen are more or less the same in terms of being derived from the bones, skin, and scales of an animal; the main difference is how they are processed. It typically starts with collagen that is found in the connective tissue of animals (think of the tough part of beef that you often cut off and throw away). Collagen is put through a process where it becomes a hydrolysate, which is easy to digest and dissolves nicely, making it a great addition to your smoothie or coffee to make it more blood-sugar balancing and satiating due to the protein content.
When collagen is cooked, chilled and solidified, it becomes gelatin (think of the fat layer on top of your bone broth after it’s stewed for several hours) which is equally as nutritious as collagen, but does not dissolve and causes liquids to gel. You can use gelatin to make a whole-foods based jello or homemade gummies!
Since collagen is the building block for skin and is what gives our skin its youthful glow, both collagen and gelatin can be useful in supporting the health of your skin. The amino acids, or “building blocks” of proteins, including glycine, proline, glutamine and arginine also present in bone broth are what’s responsible for strengthening the gut lining, building strong bones, lowering joint pain, and keeping you satiated.
Any other words of wisdom on “brothing”?
Although convenient and useful at times, if you want to save yourself the $6-7 at your local cafe that has hopped on the bone broth trend, make it at home in a crockpot that you can set for 24-48 hours! If you don’t have a leftover chicken carcass, don’t be shy to go to your local organic butcher and ask them for organic beef or chicken bones. They usually have them in a ready-to-use form.
I would also advise to use filtered water and organic ingredients as much as possible, keeping in mind that this is meant to be a health-promoting beverage, so you want to keep out things like pesticides and herbicides to make it as healing as possible.