Would you drink a mug of chicken bone broth? I never drank it before last week.
In that week, my toddler got pneumonia, my second grader threw up, my preschooler coughed for days on end, my husband coughed…and I would get a tickle of a sore throat now and then. It always went away.
Let me also explain that I do not have the perfect diet – I eat too much late at night while blogging and get into the Halloween candy and random Costco chocolates far too often.
I do not get enough sleep. Some nights I only get three hours of sleep, and even that is interrupted at least once by my nursling. The day before Thanksgiving I was up until 3:30 a.m. baking pies and writing a post for Attune, and then I saw my little guy once or twice (maybe three times), my daughter had a nightmare and cuddled in my bed for a few minutes, and by 6 or 6:30, my oldest son was throwing up.
My husband, who slept through me getting out of bed at least six times plus Leah getting into our bed, received the “state of the family’ address at 7:30 a.m., otherwise known as, “Honey, let me catch you up on what has happened while you were sleeping.”
That part has nothing to do with my story except that it’s amazing the man slept through all that, and woefully ironic that he pops out of bed the second his alarm goes off while I have no idea anything happened. He’ll wake me up for a third time and I think it’s only the first.
I never promised to be right in mind, just able to fend off illness with a mighty hand…I mean, cup of bone broth.
I wrote the intro to this post in December, hence the Thanksgiving reference, but ironically, in the last two weeks we’ve had two kids with ear infections, three kids with fever, one toddler with pneumonia (again!), lots of coughing, (all of which we fended off without antibiotics) and no bone broth in the house for the last month. Coincidence? Maybe. But I bought a chicken not-on-sale yesterday and have been drinking mugs of it this morning. It’s broth week at Kitchen Stewardship, after all!
10 Reasons to Drink Bone Broth
1. Immunity Boosting Fat
The yellow fat from pastured chickens holds immune boosting powers that are only the tip of the iceberg in the power of a properly prepared chicken stock to keep you from getting the next cold or other bug that flies through your house.
2. Warm Liquid is Soothing
It’s okay to mention the obvious. There are plenty of other immune-boosting strategies, like apple cider vinegar water, using lots of raw garlic, and taking fermented cod liver oil, but the soothing feel of a warm liquid on a cold day can’t be beat. (You’ll still want FCLO from Green Pasture for the Vitamins A and D and omega 3s, nice and easy to swallow in capsules! ;))
3. Super Mineral Boost
Bone broth contains minerals from the bones that are not only abundant but easy to assimilate into our bodies (unlike the whole mess with whole grains and phytic acid and such – see the soaking grains series for more info on that). Minerals that will help you stay in optimal health include:
- other trace minerals
4. Better Carrier for Garlic and Cayenne than Tea
Fresh garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper are great immunity boosting foods to eat as well, and while ginger makes a decent tea, it’s just weird to sip tea with garlic and cayenne. They taste awesome in broth though…
5. Gelatin for Joint Health
One of the incredible benefits of real bone broth made with the vinegar soak, all the cartilage from the animal and the actual bones is that your finished stock should have a good amount of gelatin. Gelatin is the cooked form of collagen, which makes up about half the protein in our bodies, so you’re truly “body building” when you consume it.
Gelatin provide glycine, an amino acid that promotes healthy cartilage and ultimately aids in avoiding joint pain. Could a cup a day keep the acetaminophen away?
6. Improves Bone Density
The calcium that leaches out of the bones into the stock is ready to be absorbed into your body, the perfect weapon against osteoporosis or weak bones in any way. (source)
7. Aids Digestion
Yet another benefit of gelatin, bone broth helps your system digest more efficiently, especially milk, meat, beans, and grains. That’s likely why it’s used in GAPS and other gut healing diets. Who doesn’t need a little help digesting everything in our day and age?
It’s also why I included broth as the “B” in my redone real food BRATY diet for feeding victims of tummy bugs.
8. Battles Stress? Improves Sleep?
Our bodies can create glycine on their own, which is why it’s not an “essential” fatty acid that we must get from eating. However, we don’t always produce in the right balance, especially if we don’t eat in the right balance.
When we eat only animal meat, the amino acids delivered mimic those that our bodies create under stress, “when cortisol excess causes our muscles to be broken down to provide energy and material for repair.” (source) Consuming gelatin counteracts all that, can promote sleep, and improves memory and learning behavior. The same function may even resist cancer and tumor growth.
This fun fact is a new one for me, but I can’t wait to try it the next time someone I know has insomnia. Warm milk, chamomile tea – move over, broth is coming through!
9. Frugal in More Ways than One
Bone broth is an incredibly frugal food, and every time I make a pot, I know I’m saving in the double digits compared to purchasing commercial stock or broth, plus the nutrition of the homemade is leaps and bounds ahead of anything in the store (with perhaps the exception of Wise Choice Market’s chicken bone broth which is actually made the same way I would at home).
Besides that, yet another benefit of gelatin is that it acts as a “protein sparer,” meaning that any protein you eat in a meal with bone broth is used more efficiently in the body. You can include less meat in your soup and thus less in your budget – I don’t know about you, but meat and other protein products are by far the most expensive line item on a real food budget. It’s nice to get a break sometimes.
10. Delivery System for Nourishing Salt
Other than the salted caramel latte I’ve seen advertised recently, which I’m sure is fraught with its own sugary issues, salting your coffee or tea would just be a little weird. When you drink bone broth, you can use Real Salt and replace electrolytes and over 60 trace minerals that your body needs.
Add all that to fact that you can still look cool like all the coffee drinkers with your mug, and you must ask yourself: Why not start the habit today?
Find even more health benefits of chicken stock and an almost unbelievable list of diseases and health issues that gelatin and stock can battle at this post. Here’s another post that breaks down the benefits of bone broth by geography and era in history in an interesting way.
You may be agreeing with my husband, by the way, who thinks this is totally nuts. He doesn’t think he’d enjoy it at all – but he hasn’t yet tried it. I admit, I wasn’t so sure on my first cup. But it wasn’t long before I could honestly say I craved it.
It grows on you.
Give it a shot.
(That’s what you call positive peer pressure. See, everybody’s doing it. That link goes to an easy way to keep chicken stock always on hand and always hot, by the way, although I don’t think I want my slow cooker on that long – I am pretty much assuming it has lead in the lining. I’m looking into some safer options; more info in the months to come!)
Need More Information?
Here are the how-to posts here at KS:
- The big one: tutorial on how to make homemade chicken stock (aka bone broth)
- New tips on improving your method and results
- New ideas (feet, anyone?)
- The best frugal tip: Reuse the bones!! – How many times can you use chicken bones for broth/stock?
- How to make bone broth with serious gel
I have a post on my list called “Chicken Stock Encyclopedia” where I’ll take the best of all those posts plus any new tips and FAQs and get it all in one cohesive place…but after drinking 3 mugs of broth in 12 hours, I just felt like writing this one.
You may also want to look at how essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs can help keep your family healthy. The Practical Guide to Children’s Health and Common Sense Health are great resources as well for becoming your family’s first line of defense.
Other Natural Health Posts:
- Fighting Infection without Antibiotics
- Are Hand Sanitizers Safe?
- Get Rid of Warts Naturally
- Natural Remedies for Ear Infections
- Real Food BRATY Diet
- How We Kicked Whooping Cough
- You Probably Need a Parasite Cleanse
- Natural Pneumonia Treatments For Toddlers
- Natural Remedies for Croup
Disclosure: There is an affiliate link in this post to Amazon, Mountain Rose Herbs, Practical Guide to Children’s Health, Perfect Supplements and Common Sense Health from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.