Bone broth may have many nutritional benefits. It is rich in nutrients and may support the health of your bones and digestive system, among other benefits.
Research supporting the benefits of bone broth is limited, but there’s plenty of evidence that the nutrients it provides can be beneficial for health.
This article takes a closer look at bone broth, a recipe for making it, and its potential health benefits.
Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals.
This forms a stock for making soups, sauces, and gravies. It can also provide a nutritious drink.
Bone broth dates back to prehistoric times, when hunter-gatherers turned otherwise inedible animal parts like bones, hooves, and knuckles into a broth they could drink.
You can make bone broth using bones from just about any animal — chicken, pork, beef, veal, turkey, lamb, bison, buffalo, venison, or fish.
Marrow and connective tissues like feet, hooves, beaks, gizzards, or fins can also be used.
Bone broth is made by boiling down animal bones and connective tissue. This nutrient-dense stock is used for soups, sauces, and health drinks.
Making bone broth is very simple. There are many recipes online, but most people don’t even use a recipe.
All you really need is a large pot, water, vinegar, and bones.
To get you started, here’s an easy recipe you can follow:
- 1 gallon (4 liters) of water
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) apple cider vinegar
- 2–4 pounds (about 1–2 kg) of animal bones
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place all ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12–24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it will taste and the more nutritious it will be.
- Allow the broth to cool. Strain it into a large container and discard the solids.
To add nutritional value, use a variety of bones: marrow bones, oxtail, knuckles, and feet.
Adding vinegar is important because it helps pull all of the valuable nutrients out of the bones and into the water, which is ultimately what you will be consuming.
You can also add vegetables, herbs, or spices to your broth to enhance the flavor.
Common additions include garlic, onion, celery, carrot, parsley, and thyme. You can add these in step one.
Bone broth is made by simmering bones in water and vinegar. You can also add other ingredients to create more flavor.
Bone broth can be nutritious, but the precise nutritional content will depend on the bones you use.
- Animal bones
are rich incalcium, magnesium, and othervitamins and minerals needed to build and strengthen your own bones. However, only small amounts of these nutrients — less than 5% of daily value — actually make it into the broth.
providesvitamins A and B and minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium.
- All these parts
also containthe protein collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked and yieldsseveral important amino acids.
Simmering the ingredients releases their nutrients into the water in a form your body can easily absorb.
Bone broth is rich in minerals that help build and strengthen your bones. It also contains many other healthy nutrients, including vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.
A healthy digestive tract is essential for well-being.
Bone broth is easy to digest and may help prevent inflammation related to your digestive tract.
Gelatin contains an amino acid called glutamic acid. This converts to glutamine in the body and
A leaky gut is when damage occurs between the barrier between your gut and the bloodstream, allowing substances to leak from your gut into your bloodstream. This
For all of these reasons, drinking bone broth may be beneficial for individuals with a range of gastrointestinal conditions.
The gelatin in bone broth supports healthy digestion. It may be beneficial for individuals with leaky gut, as well as irritable and inflammatory bowel diseases.
In 2015, for instance, one
Including anti-inflammatory foods in the diet, such as bone broth, may help reduce the risk of these diseases.
The amino acids in bone broth can help fight inflammation. Because of this, eating it may help protect against disease.
While cooking bone broth, collagen from bones and connective tissue breaks down into another protein called gelatin.
Gelatin contains important amino acids that support joint health.
These include proline and glycine, which
However, the amounts of these amino acids are much lower in bone broth than the “therapeutic dose” found in supplements.
The amino acids in bone broth help support joint health, and consuming it may help lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
There is some evidence that people who consume soups are less likely to develop obesity. This suggests that soups
Bone broth is high in protein, and
In 2015, a
However, a 2019
The gelatin in bone broth has been shown to help promote feelings of fullness. Consuming it on a regular basis may reduce calorie intake and lead to weight loss over time.
One older study found that taking 3 grams of glycine before bed significantly improved the quality of sleep in individuals who had difficulty sleeping.
Taking glycine before bed helped participants:
- fall asleep faster
- maintain a deeper sleep
- wake up fewer times throughout the night
This study also found that glycine helped reduce daytime sleepiness and improve mental function and memory.
Therefore, drinking bone broth could have similar benefits.
However, according to
Glycine has been shown to promote sleep. Taking it before bed may help improve the quality of sleep, mental function, and memory.
Here are some additional tips for making and consuming bone broth.
Where to get bones
Instead of throwing leftover bones and carcasses from meals in the garbage, save them to make broth.
You can collect the bones in a bag and store them in your freezer until you are ready to cook them.
If you don’t usually buy and eat whole chickens or bone-in meat, you can ask for them at your local butcher or farmers’ market. The meat department at most grocery stores will often have them too.
Bones tend to be inexpensive to purchase, and the butcher may even give them to you for free.
Bones from pastured chicken or grass-fed beef bones will most likely provide the maximum health benefits, as they will be from the healthiest animals.
How to store broth
It’s easiest to make broth in large batches, but you can only store it safely in the refrigerator for 3–4 days.
If you need it longer than this, you can freeze it in small containers and defrost individual servings as you need.
Ways to eat it
If you don’t enjoy drinking bone broth, you can use it as the base for soups, stews, sauces, and gravies.
Here’s a simple tomato sauce recipe using bone broth.
- 2 cups (473 mL) bone broth
- 2 cans organic tomato paste
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) oregano, chopped
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) basil, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
- Heat over medium-high heat for 4–6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce to low heat and cover, allowing the sauce to simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Serve over pasta or meatloaf, or include it in a variety of recipes.
Where to buy it
If you don’t have time to make bone broth, you can get organic and other types from health food stores, supermarkets, and online.
Get bones from your local butcher or farmers market to make your broth. Just 1 cup a day provides good health benefits.
What are the benefits of bone broth?
Bone broth is high in protein and other nutrients. It may benefit digestive health, help build muscle and bones, and play a role in weight management.
Are there any downsides or side effects?
If the bones of an animal are not healthy, it could affect the quality of bone broth.
In 2017, some
It is also essential to follow the same guidelines as for meat when buying, storing, preparing, and using bones and bone broth, to reduce the risk of bacterial or other infections.
How often should you drink bone broth?
It depends on how you prefer to use it. Some people drink 1 cup (237 ml) of bone broth daily, or you might like to use it in a weekly soups or stew, for example.
Can bone broth help you lose weight?
Bone broth is high in protein and it can also form the base of a soup. Both of these factors may make it suitable as part of a weight management plan.
Bone broth contains many important nutrients that may have health benefits, such as boosting bone health, protecting the gut, and managing weight. However, research is still ongoing.
You can drink it for a health boost or use it to add flavor and nutrition to soups, stews, and other savory dishes.