Our second guest blog from Leyla Wehr……

The Healing Powers of Bone Broth

Bone broth has been a sta­ple in tra­di­tional cul­tures all over the world and for good rea­son: not only is it cheap and easy to make and adds a lot of fla­vor to any dish but also it’s one of the most heal­ing foods one can con­sume.

Bone broth pos­sesses a unique com­bi­na­tion of min­er­als, amino acids and car­ti­lage. The com­bi­na­tion varies depend­ing on the type of bones and the cook­ing method used and dif­fer­ent types of broth will be suit­able for dif­fer­ent types of dishes.

The heal­ing com­po­nents of broth:

Bone broth is very nour­ish­ing as it con­tains dis­solved col­la­gen, mar­row and bone; min­er­als and vit­a­mins; and the impor­tant amino acids glycine, pro­line and glu­t­a­mine.

Col­la­gen is needed nearly every­where in the body. The entire col­la­gen mol­e­cule con­sists of over 1000 amino acids of which every third is glycine. The struc­ture of the mol­e­cule varies in dif­fer­ent species. We need col­la­gen for firm skin, strong bones and healthy mus­cles, ten­dons and car­ti­lage. Col­la­gen pro­duc­tion slows as we age or when we’re ill. Broth con­tains all the nutri­ents the body needs to pro­duce col­la­gen and there­fore con­sum­ing col­la­gen-rich broth and meat is a great mea­sure to help coun­ter­act the signs of aging.

Car­ti­lage is the frame­work between all mov­ing parts of the body that reduces fric­tion and absorbs shocks. The com­po­nents of ani­mal car­ti­lage are dis­solved into bone broth and those are the nutri­ents humans need to main­tain healthy car­ti­lage and even rebuild it.

Bones in broth pro­vide an array of min­er­als in a very bio-avail­able form. The num­ber and com­bi­na­tion depends on the sta­tus of the ani­mal. These min­er­als sup­port bone health and pro­vide the matrix that makes bones hard. Col­la­gen on the other hand is needed as the basic build­ing block of bones and keeps them strong and resilient.

Mar­row is dis­solved into broth dur­ing the long cook­ing process and is one of the most nour­ish­ing foods. It helps with stem cell regen­er­a­tion, immu­nity, blood sugar reg­u­la­tion, fat depo­si­tion and oxy­gen trans­port. It also helps to build strong bones and con­nec­tive tis­sue.

The most abun­dant amino acids in bone broth are pro­line, glycine, ala­nine and glu­t­a­mine. Although they are non-essen­tial, an already sick body will have prob­lems man­u­fac­tur­ing them. Pro­line and glycine are the most impor­tant build­ing blocks for col­la­gen and car­ti­lage. Glycine is extremely impor­tant for healthy blood, diges­tion and detox­i­fi­ca­tion. It is also help­ful in reduc­ing inflam­ma­tion. Glu­t­a­mine is the ideal food for gut cells and there­fore has great gut heal­ing prop­er­ties. It may also increase immu­nity and detox­i­fi­ca­tion, help to repair and build mus­cle and also pro­vides food for the brain. Ala­nine is impor­tant for liver func­tion, the pro­duc­tion of glu­cose and the cit­ric acid cycle (energy pro­duc­tion in cells).

Pro­teo­gly­cans are sug­ars that col­lect and hold water. One type of pro­teo­gly­can is HAwhich is a major com­po­nent of syn­ovial fluid (car­ries nutri­ents to the car­ti­lage and pre­vents tear and wear). HA cush­ions and lubri­cates all mov­able parts of the body. It is also present in all skin tis­sue where it pro­vides con­tin­u­ous mois­ture. HA is mainly made up of pro­tein sug­ars called GAGs. One of them is glu­cosamine which is known to decrease inflam­ma­tion and helps to repair car­ti­lage. It also helps repair the GAG layer in the gut (which is often defect in autoim­mune dis­or­ders). Another help­ful sugar found in GAGs is galac­tosamine which sup­ports the immune sys­tem. Another pro­teo­gly­can that pro­tects car­ti­lage is chon­droitin sul­fate. Broth can assist the uti­liza­tion and digestibil­ity of pro­tein and fur­ther­more dimin­ishes the amount of pro­tein needed by the body. How­ever, broth is not a com­plete pro­tein and there­fore should be con­sumed in addi­tion to other pro­tein rich foods.

Accord­ing to Sally Fal­lon and Kaayla Daniel, the authors of ‘Nour­ish­ing Broth‘, bone broth can help cure and pre­vent many of our mod­ern day dis­eases. It aids in:

Recov­ery from ill­ness and surgery, the heal­ing from pain and inflam­ma­tion, emo­tional bal­ance, bet­ter diges­tion, less­en­ing of aller­gies, and the treat­ment of many autoim­mune dis­or­ders.

If you want to learn more about how broth can help you and how to make and use broth I can really rec­om­mend this book.

I love broth because not only is it very com­fort­ing but also it makes use of the whole ani­mal (and I’m a fan of no-waste), it is very cheap to make (my local butcher gives away bones for free) and it adds a lot of fla­vor (no more MSG laden stock cubes!).

There’s dif­fer­ent ways you can make broth and the prepa­ra­tion varies depend­ing on the type of bones used. Below are some options so you can start mak­ing tasty broth your­self!


·         About 3 pounds of bones (fresh or from a roast)

·         Chicken feet, heads, pig’s foot or calf foot (optional but this pro­duces more gelatin)

·         4 Tbsp vine­gar

·         Coarsely chopped veg­eta­bles such as peeled car­rots, onion, cel­ery, leek and pars­ley (optional)

·         About 6 pints cold fil­tered water


1.      Place the bones in a stock pot or slow cooker and pour the vine­gar over them

2.      Place the options veg­eta­bles on top and as enough water to cover every­thing

3.      Let sit for 30 mins or longer 

4.      Cover, bring just to a boil and then cook on low for 12–24 hours. Main­tain a sim­mer but pre­vent boil­ing (leave the lid slightly ajar) 

5.      Skim off any foam that rises to the top and occa­sion­ally check to make sure the ingre­di­ents stay cov­ered

6.      Remove the bones and veg­eta­bles and fill the broth into con­tain­ers. Once cooled, the fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off. You can store the broth in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for many months. The bones can be reused up to two more times. 


·         Daniel, Kaayla T. and Fal­lon, Sally, Nour­ish­ing Broth (New York, Grand Cen­tral Life & Style, 2014)

·         Fal­lon, Sally, Nour­ish­ing Tra­di­tions (Wash­ing­ton, NewTrends Pub­lish­ing, Inc., 2001)

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