The Benefits of Bone Broth & How You Can Make it at Home

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Whether you’re at a hip new restaurant or scanning the web for health hacks, chances are you’ve heard some buzz about bone broth. And while it might sound a tad off-putting to some, bone broth is super delicious—and, more importantly, it’s positively packed with vital nutrients.

Bowl of Homemade Bone Broth on Checked Placement With Vegetables |

What is bone broth, anyway?

Consider it not your average can of Campbell’s. Bone broth—chicken, beef, lamb, fish, and more—is produced by boiling down and simmering meat bones and ligaments, which leads to the release of essential minerals and compounds.

Chief among those fundamental nutrients is proline and glycine, which are generated from the breakdown of gelatin. Proline—a fundamental amino acid—is crucial for the production of connective tissue and cartilage. Glycine, on the other hand, naturally supports liver detoxification; it’s also responsible for producing glutathione, which, as one of our most potent and important antioxidants, may naturally support healthy digestion and restful sleep. What’s more, bone broth contians collagen, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium, all of which are necessary for overall health and well-being (to say nothing of the potential impact it can have on one’s hair, skin, and nails).

Bone broth and kidney Qi

While bone broth is currently enjoying a universal surge in popularity, it’s been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Touted as a boon for intestinal and immune system health, bone broth is believed to nourish Kidney Qi. Pronounced chee, kidney Qi organically encourages bone and joint health, brain function (including memory), digestion and hearing; it also influences the rate at which you age.

From a Western perspective, one of the primary bonuses of bone broth is that it possesses several key compounds, including elastin, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, keratin sulfate and glucosaminoglycans. Most of these compounds can be taken as supplements, but drinking bone broth instead allows food to provide the benefits. Chicken soup for the soul—and then some!

How to make your own bone broth

Bone broth—not to be confused with bouillon cubes or canned broth, which are often comprised of lab-produced meat flavors—is available at health food stores and a number of restaurants (especially Asian eateries). To make it at home, you won’t have trouble finding a bone broth recipe online. Or, try this simple method:

Start with two pounds of organic beef bones cut into three-inch pieces. Trim off the fat, then roast them at 400 degrees for 60 minutes or until browned. Remove the bones from the oven and place them into a pot; cover with water. Add two tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the pot, cover and bring to a boil.

Once the broth has reached a full boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for six to 12 hours. Add hot water throughout to keep the broth just high enough to cover the bones, and remove the residue that forms on top of the broth as it cooks.

Or, consider breaking out the crock pot. This will allow you to cook the broth for twenty-four to seventy-two hours, which is ideal for breaking down and releasing core compounds—and tends to create to a richer, fuller flavor.

Add extra flavor

While some prefer to drink bone broth as is, don’t be shy about spicing it up. Ginger, garlic, curry and other spices of your choosing, or onions, carrots and celery—all can enhance the taste of bone broth (and entice you to eat it).

Or, go with an Asian bent: In traditional Chinese medicine, many recipes call for the inclusion of other herbs and foods, including lycii (goji) berries, orange peel, lotus root, astragalus and shiittake mushrooms. These rather exotic additions give bone broth wonderful flair, and, overall, may foster your Kidney Qi.

And while you may think of Shakespeare’s famous lines from Macbeth as your bone broth boils “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble”—do know that the only spell you’ll be casting is an invocation for better health. Cheers to that, wouldn’t you say?