Today I want to share about BROTH and specifically BONE broth.
Why BONE broth because most of the research is done on bone broth. I am going to go into a bit more detail on broth and the importance of homemade broth because there seems to be some serious misinformation about this amazing nutrient-rich ‘ancestral food’.
BONE broth has been a staple since our ancestors discovered fire. They would take the whole remains of the hunted animal, bone, the cartilage, the marrow, the ligaments etc.
The benefits of bone broth are endless DUE to it’s the high nutrient density. Here are just a few of the benefits and when I say a few, it is just a slither …
- Gut health
- Immune health
- Eye health
- Joint health
- Bone health
- Mental health
So what does this ancestral potion contain that it has such wide-ranging health benefits? Well, bone broth consists of collagen, bone, marrow and cartilage, water.
So what do all the above ingredients provide? It provides …..
– Healing sugars
– Amino acids
I have compiled this blog to help those that wanted recipes for broths, be it vegan, vegetarian or bone broth. Before sharing recipes, I want to share the importance of the various constituents of a BONE BROTH. Once you get that understanding of what each constituent does then you can make your own decisions on what and how you want to make your broth. So let’s look at the role of the constituents of bone broth and then we can put together recipes for vegan and vegetarian bone broths, but just keep in mind the research is done on bone broths.
HEALING SUGARS: (the correct scientific name is proteoglycans = 95% sugar with some protein)
These healing sugars are VITAL. Hunter gatherers would obtain these from bone, seaweeds, insects, leaves, mushrooms and roots. The need for these increases when we are stressed, sick or malnourished. These HEALING sugars HOLD WATER, so BROTH contains plenty of water and one should be drinking plenty of water.
These sugars are found doing their magic in skin, cartilage, and bones. Some of the names you may have heard of especially when it comes to joint health, bone health, ligament health, skin health are CHONDROITIN SULPHATE, HEPARAN SULPHATE, KERATAN SULPHATE, AND DERMATAN SULPHATE.
You just need to go to a health food store and ask for a supplement for ‘joint health’ and you will find the ingredients usually contain chondroitin sulphate and maybe even glucosamine. Now here is the media washing….these are only a small part of what your body requires for bone health, joint health, basically healing.
Over the years in clinical practice, I have seen clients who take these supplements for joint pain, arthritis, osteoporosis etc. There is no doubt in some cases they help with the pain but the symptoms return, WHY? Because these supplements only contain ‘bits and pieces’ of what the body actually requires to heal. Joint health is far more complex than two ingredients that make up these healing sugars. Bone broth provides ALL the ingredients.
NOW BONES contain mainly the chondroitin sulphate or dermatan sulphate, these are required in ALL phases of bone development. By the way, you don’t find dermatan in joint health supplements.
The bone matrix has a lower amount of these healing sugars than the cartilage as bones take up less water and therefore are more brittle than cartilage. REMEMBER these healing sugars hold water…so are you getting enough water?
IF YOU ARE A VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN you can obtain these sugars from mushrooms such as reishi, maitake, cordyceps, shitake, garlic, onions and pectin ( from apple and the rinds, seeds of citrus fruit). Now this is my extrapolation, so in essence, I am putting together ingredients for a non ‘bone’ broth by trying to include elements that can help the body make these HEALING SUGARS as well as including the various minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
These HEALING sugars contain certain amino acids that can be in short supply in the standard Western diet so it is key to ensure these amino acids are present when making a broth BUT also these can be low if one is stressed, ill or generally malnourished (which means a diet high in refined carbohydrates and processed foods).
Have you heard of HYALURONIC ACID (HA)? It is one of these healing sugars and it is found in all sorts of cosmetic products to plump up the skin and in some cases fill up the lips…WHY? Because it is in higher concentrations in the skin and remember these HEALING SUGARS hold water. It also lubricates and cushions moveable parts of the body. Every cell in the body contains HA. This amazing healing sugar is also used post surgery to speed up the recovery process AND even injected into joints in arthritis patients. Why not use preventative measures and have broth?
This HEALING SUGAR, hyaluronic acid is also key in eye health such as prevention of detached retina, cataracts. HA is even used in eye surgeries, such as cataract operations, corneal transplants, detached retina repair etc.
Now as far as making a broth if you are using bones, then ENSURE they are from sources that have been ethically, organically raised, otherwise forget it. This is my personal opinion…but making broth from bones where the animal has had no fresh air, not roaming freely, fattened on genetically modified soya or leftover ‘bits of other animals’ and then treated with ongoing antibiotics…you will end up making a POISON BROTH.
Different bones will contain differing amounts of the above-mentioned nutrients, so you will want to vary the bone source, be they small bones or long bones etc.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS: Although bone broth provides plenty of minerals, vitamins and the needed amino acids (which are basically the building blocks of proteins), fats, the key vitamins are B vitamins especially vitamin B6 and Vitamin C.
So a balanced healthy broth should ideally contain, the macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates), minerals and vitamins. The bone marrow has profound health benefits and marrow is one of the largest organs in the human body. The marrow provides a nutrient dense ‘package’ which is rich in the red blood cells, white blood cells, fat, iron and protein.
Minerals that are in bone broths include, calcium, phosphorus and smaller amounts of potassium, sulphur, magnesium and sodium and some trace minerals (eg. selenium, zinc etc). NOTE the calcium in bone is calcium phosphate not calcium on its own. So these supplements for bone health that contain only calcium are of no benefit if anything could be doing more harm than good. Also, the minerals from bone broth are easily utilised by the body AND they come in the appropriate amounts.
BONE IS MORE COLLAGEN THAN MINERAL. The minerals make the bones hard BUT IT IS THE COLLAGEN that makes bones resilient. Otherwise, lots of minerals such as calcium and little collagen will create BRITTLE BONES.
AMINO ACIDS: The key amino acids (building blocks of protein) that are important in healing found in bone broth are:
All these amino acids can be made by the body BUT due to ‘malnourishment’ diets high in processed foods, fast foods, sugar etc the level of these amino acids can drop in the body.
It is important to ensure these are present in a broth if it is not bone broth. Some of these amino acids specifically proline needs to be converted into an active form for healthy collagen and cartilage (key in bone, tendon, joint, skin, hair, blood vessels, eye health). This active form of proline requires vitamin C as well as iron.
HERE ARE A FEW RECIPES, I have put together, but feel free to play around with the ingredients, just try and ensure you are adding the foods that include the key vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats etc
Remember making broth is about self-care too. The whole process from chopping up the vegetables, to adding your favourite the spices and herbs that YOU enjoy/crave (i love ginger, black pepper, and nutmeg) this usually can indicate what your body needs, add those. Be creative, you can add broth to make soup, chili, stews, curries, and so on.
Let me know how you get on