Boning up on Broth

While hyper trendy takes like GrubMarket’s favorite freeze-dried Wander Broth (shop here) makes broth seem like a modern innovation, it’s actually one of the world’s oldest foods, used in traditional medicine to detoxify the blood, strengthen the digestive system, and purify the kidneys. There’s a reason that in so many cultures a good bowl of soup is the cure for what ails you, from heartbreak to the common cold.

In fact, broth was probably one of the first foods cooked by human beings after we figured out the basic “hmm we should try hanging some of this meat over that fire we just invented” thing. Every bit of the animal was precious to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and so the invention of broth was a natural step in the evolution of cooked food (once somebody had figured out the concept of cooking food, of course). By cooking broth, our ancestors were able to extract every last ounce of nutritional value from the animals they consumed, and create a tasty concoction to warm them through those long neolithic nights.

On its surface, broth seems like a pretty simple concept: veggie scraps and bones, neither of which you’d be likely to snack on on their own, boiled for hours in water, vinegar to help maximize the nutrients pulled from the bones, and maybe a little salt or some aromatics like bay leaves and peppercorns if you’re fancy. But that long, slow cooking process unlocks something magical in these humble ingredients, transforming the clear liquid into a silky smooth, super rich concoction packed with unique health benefits.

A good bone broth uses a variety of bones and connective tissue because each part of the animal contains unique nutritional benefits, which are slowly released into the water as the broth cooks. The hard parts of the bone are rich in minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which can help strengthen your own bones. Connective tissues support joint health, with natural compounds of cartilage such as chondroitin and glucosamine. And the marrow inside the bones is rich in minerals such as selenium, iron, boron, zinc, and manganese, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and vitamins A and K2. When cooked, all these parts release collagen, which contains important amino acids. All these components are broken down by the cooking process into forms your body can easily absorb.

Wander Broth

Beef Bone Broth from Wander Broth (by Smart Simple Gourmet)

 

Chicken Bone Broth from Wander Broth (by Smart Simple Gourmet)

So what does your body do with all the good stuff bone broth contains? Well, for starters, there’s evidence that it can improve your digestive system and fight inflammation, just as proponents of Chinese medicine theorized over 1,500 years ago. Because it supports healthy digestion, some studies even show that it can aid in weight loss, as well as potentially improving sleep and supporting healthy brain function. There’s still a great deal of research to be done on bone broth, so it’s hard to know what other beneficial effects it may have, but it’s always a good idea to sit back and enjoy a warm cup, just as humans have been doing for thousands of years.

Here’s a blog post you might be interested: The Key to Keto