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Bone broth: Is it a ‘superfood’?

If you struggle with digestive pain and discomfort, autoimmune disease, brain fog, low energy, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and much more, today you will learn about a single drink that will help to improve all these symptoms.

Bone broth is a go-to for healing in the eastern part of the world. It is used in the functional nutrition world to boost the immune system, improve joint health, heal the digestive tract and help manage food intolerances.

The connective tissue of thick bones, tendons, ligaments, marrow and cartilage from chickens and cows turns to healing gelatin bursting with minerals and amino acids when cooked for a long period of time.

How can one simple broth turn into a delicious, warm, healing drink and do all this? Today, you will find out.

Bone broth is high in the amino acids glycine, proline, arginine and glutamine, which help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. These amino acids also help improve the production of an important antioxidant glutathione, which helps reduce oxidative stress and supports your body’s ability to tolerate stress. The amino acid proline helps your body break down protein, which is an important function when you’re trying to heal your gut. To top it all off, the hydrating ability of bone broth helps remove waste from the body by boosting kidney and liver function.

Bone broth is a popular beverage in the health world right now. You can buy it frozen, or I recommend buy bones and make your own. It’s simple, and you’ll be surprised as it tastes much more flavorful than it sounds. Bone broth recipes are popular online, but the base recipe is simple and may include bones, apple cider vinegar, spices, carrots and celery.

When making your own bone broth, it’s extremely important to begin with pastured-raised or grass-fed bones. When you are drawing the nutrients out of the bones and into the broth, you do not want to be drawing out unhealthy components found in conventionally raised animals.

Fowl bones from chicken or turkey are the easiest to start with as they create the mildest flavored bone broth. Buy a pasture-raised, whole chicken or turkey and cook it regularly as part of a meal. Make sure to save the bones and cook the bones for an additional 24 hours.

Buffalo and beef still have a pleasant, yet stronger flavor. Ask the butcher or local farmer raising pasture-raised animals for soup bones, oxtail or marrow bones, which are all great for making a nutrient-loaded broth. You cook these types of bones for 48 hours to create a healthy, delicious broth.

For either type of broth, it will turn to a soft gel as it cools. You will also get a layer of fat that solidifies at the top. If you are working on your digestive health, it’s a good idea to scrape off the layer of fat and discard it.

I don’t use the word “super food” lightly; however, when it comes to drinking bone broth or using it in your favorite soups, stews, chili or to cook your grains, it is a sure way to improve your digestive health, boost immune function, improve mental clarity ... and the list of benefits goes on and on. Make it a priority to buy some frozen or start making your own as it’s easier than you might think.

Fran Sutherlin, RD, MS is a local registered dietitian, specializing in using digestive wellness to prevent or manage chronic disease. She has a master’s degree in nutrition, is a personal health coach, speaker, and owner of Sustainable Nutrition. She can be reached at 444-2122 or fran@fransutherlin.com.