What is it?
Bone broth is exactly what it sounds like. It’s broth made from boiling meat and poultry bones until they break down. Once the bones start to disintegrate, they release nutrients that offer a wealth of health and beauty benefits—much more than you find in regular broth. Exactly what are those benefits that have everyone reaching for their soup pots? Keep scrolling to find out!
Bone is loaded with gelatin and collagen, which do wonders for your skin, says Dr. Frank Lipman, founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center and author of The New Health Rules. As Lipman explains, bone broth “feeds the epidermis, dermis, and underlying connective tissue layers of the skin from the inside out with collagen and elastin, and helps to plump out and smooth out fine lines and heal scars.” Bone broth is also rich in a number of minerals needed for glowing skin and healthy hair. Because many of us don’t get enough calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sulfur, and phosphorous, adding bone broth to your diet could be the solution your dull skin and hair need.
When brewed properly (more on that later), bone broth also contains both inflammation-reducing elements, like omega-3 fatty acids, and inflammation-preventing ones, like the amino acid glycine. “Glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and gelatin found in bone broths are important nutrients for supporting our bones and reducing inflammation,” Dr. Lipman says. Sip on the broth to ease everything from joint pain, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases, to acne, eczema, and other skin conditions.
Bone broth has a long-standing tradition as a cold and flu remedy. According to Dr. Lipman, all of the aforementioned nutrients—especially gelatin—support your immune system. And if you’re feeling under the weather, sipping the broth may tackle some of your symptoms: “Cysteine, an amino acid found in chicken, helps to thin mucus so it can be expelled more easily,” Dr. Lipman says. Another perk? The broth soothes the intestinal tract and can help with digestion.
How do you make it?
The key to making bone broth is using good quality bones from organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed animals. Drop the bones into a soup pot or cooker—they should fill up about one third of container—then add just enough water to cover them and a pinch of salt. Other recipes call for added vegetables and spices, but this is just the most basic method. Whatever ingredients you choose, it’s the boiling that really matters. You can do it in as little as four hours, but to get the most bang for your broth, aim for 24 hours. Once you’re done, just strain out the remnants.
You can sip it on its own or use it in cooking. Bone broth makes an excellent base for soups and a nutritious substitute for water and oil in recipes. Try using bone broth when whipping up mashed potatoes, pasta, and grains, and when sautéing vegetables.