Why you should drink bone broth

The food world is buzzing about the healing power of bone broths. It’s said that for thousands of years, bone broth concoctions have helped many ailments and may strengthen the blood or support your kidneys. But many of these claims don’t have scientific evidence — most of them are anecdotal and culturally passed down.

The science that does exist behind bone broth is limited to small studies. However, champions of bone broth claim its nutrients may help with:

  • the digestive system
  • inflammation
  • joints
  • weight loss
  • sleep

But what is in bone broth that works? While people may believe that the salt in bone broth helps soothe a scratchy throat, the consommé’s nutrients reside in the bones of the meat.

When the bone, marrow, and connective tissues are boiled down, rich vitamins like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and silicon are released. Healing composites like collagen, glutamine, and glycine are released as well.

Collagen may help with bone and joint disease while glycine may help with sleepiness and fatigue. A small study also found that glutamine helps regulate gut bacteria. All this goodness together in a broth is a great way to drink up nutrients.

Best time to partake

Across the globe’s many cultures, making broths from the bones of fish, chicken, and beef is a long-standing culinary custom.

There’s no scientific, straightforward answer on how to drink bone broth. Sip a cup first thing in the morning or before you sleep. Some people add turmeric, ginger, or garlic to give the broth a boost of flavor.

Be careful where you’re purchasing bones from. A very small study found high traces of lead in bone broth, especially chicken broth made from skin and cartilage. To make bone broth, be sure to purchase bones high-quality, free-range, grass-fed animals.

If you’re looking to save some money, pork bone broth is ideal. It’s less expensive to prepare than chicken or beef broth and easy to make. If you have difficulty finding pork bones at your local market, ask your butcher for guidance. Get the recipe, courtesy of Brooklyn Supper.

You can also check out our bone broth recipe here. Although simple, it requires a fair amount of time (12 to 24 hours) and effort.

Stock made from fish bones is filled with iodine, which may help thyroid function. This light broth is also a great base for Asian soups and curries.

The key to making a delicious fish stock is to use the bones from non-oily fish. Avoid cooking this in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, though — fish bone broth should be boiled over the stovetop. Get the recipe, courtesy of Dr. Kellyann.

They may not sound appetizing, but chicken feet are perfect if you want to make a nutrient-dense stock of glucosamine, collagen, and calcium.

It may be difficult to find chicken feet at your regular grocery store, but check your local farmers market or a Chinese or Mexican-owned market. Get the recipe, courtesy of Nourished Kitchen

Instant Pot bone broth is cooked in a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot. This recipe, made from chicken bones, is perfect for the busy mom who wants to make a batch of stock for the family.

You can also use beef, lamb, or pork — just be sure to roast the bones in the oven to draw out maximum flavor. This no-frills broth can also work for the base of your egg drop soup, chicken soup, or coconut curry lime soup. Get the recipe, courtesy of mommypotamus.

Nourishing and simple, beef stock is superb for braising meat and vegetables or as a base for soups and stews. For “beginner” bone broth connoisseurs, this stock is easy to make and packed with flavor. Get the recipe, courtesy of The Healthy Foodie.

Bone broths last up to five days. It’s best to store them in the refrigerator. But if you’re not drinking them immediately, store them in the freezer. Pro tip: Keep them in small containers for easier reheating.

Juli Fraga is a licensed psychologist based in San Francisco. She graduated with a PsyD from University of Northern Colorado and attended a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley. Passionate about women’s health, she approaches all her sessions with warmth, honesty, and compassion.