Would you drink a mug of chicken bone broth? I thought it was a little crazy until one week threw me into desperate measures…
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. I knew about the health benefits of bone broth, but I always just used it in soup, not a cuppa.
But I knew other people just poured themselves a mug, and since I didn’t have soup on the menu plan, I decided to try it. Funny thing about that throat tickle – 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 ice cream and dark chocolate far too often.
I do not get enough sleep. Some nights I only get three hours of sleep, and even that is often interrupted at least once by some child or another. A couple days before all that craziness started, I was up until 3:30 a.m. baking pies and writing a post, 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 (on Thanksgiving!).
My husband, who slept through me getting out of bed at least six times plus the girl 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.
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 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:
But if you can’t find the time (or the well-sourced bones) to make your own, it’s hard to find commercial stock that actually uses bones, the key to all these benefits. Pacific Organic is one, found here at Thrive Market.
UPDATE: I was challenged by a reader in the comments, and she shared this guy’s actual analysis of the minerals in bone broth, which thoroughly debunks the claim, especially for calcium! Was this just something people accepted on common sense assumptions? “If bones have calcium, it must therefore come out into the broth.” That’s a pretty big assumption.
I browsed around to some authority sites like Mark’s Daily Apple, Balanced Bites, The Kitchn, and the Weston A Price Foundation. Not one of them cites any research or real data, although Mark’s Daily Apple does explain that getting nutritional info on such homemade, traditional foods is too difficult because of the variance in ingredients, food the animal ate, etc. He then states that because bonemeal is high in calcium, broth must be too. I think he’s got a gap in his logic, and if you read this guy’s experience, you’ll see the discrepancy. All the real food blogs who talk about broth link to each other or WAPF. It goes in circles…
I do question the pressure cooking for 7 hours (!!!) that the guy doing the analysis did – although the fact that minerals went up when he doubled the time is interesting. I wish he would have long, slow simmered for 12-24 hours and/or pressure cooked for 1 hour. Maybe it would have been the same result, but I’m a questioner. I want it to be true! But I’m also now a skeptic. Darn.
I guess there’s really only 9 reasons I drink broth now! 😉
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 provides glycine, an amino acid that promotes healthy cartilage and ultimately aids in avoiding joint pain. Could a cup a day keep the acetaminophen away? DIY broth is super inexpensive, and even buying it online (from the right sources that use bones and have a high gelatin content!) may cost less than doctor’s visits!
And of course you CAN buy gelatin or collagen in powdered form to add to your broth, cuppa joe, smoothie (collagen only), or make spoonable gelatin or gummies with 100% fruit juice.
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” amino 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.
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 at first thought this was totally nuts. He didn’t think he’d enjoy it at all – but I’ve peer pressured him into trying some, and as long as I get the salt/garlic/cayenne right, he’s pretty satisfied with 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 might prefer the Instant Pot on slow cook or low for the job, simply because I feel more comfortable with liquid being on stainless steel for such a long time.)
Need More Information?
Here are the how-to posts here at KS:
- The big one: The Encyclopedia of Chicken Stock!
- 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
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
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