This past weekend, I lead a workshop on building a bullet proof immune system. The focus was on being proactive, taking small daily actions that bolster immune function (health) rather than looking to boost it when you're already broken down and ill. A major distinction.
One of the strategies we talked about was bone broth, which has long been used as a tonic of sorts. Records suggest the ancient Egyptians made and ate bone broth. Point being, although it's starting to show up as a health trend, it's nothing new.
Bone broth has a ton of health benefits other than boosting immune function. Because it is so rich in minerals and vitamins, we can see how it can have such a broad positive impact across body systems.There is rich mineral content, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and sulfur, in addition to specific amino acids and collagen in a form that is easy for the body to digest and utilize.
Bone broth has been found to help individuals suffering with leaky gut and other digestive issues, as well as helps rejuvenate skin cells and of course in boosting immune function. Because it is liquid it also minimizes the amount of energy required for digestion and assimilation, hence it is a great option when you're feeling run down as it won't tax your digestive system, which means that your immune system will have more power (there are three basic energy systems in the body: locomotion, digestion and immune. If you're wanting more out of a specific system, it's good not to tax the others.)
Just as with any food, it's important to know the source of your ingredients. Organic, wild, pastured etc. is the best way to go when you're making your broth. Different types of bones also have different concentrations of minerals and nutrients. Long bones, such as legs, will tend to have more marrow which has great immune benefits, while short bones are loaded with more gelatinous materials which are good for joints, skin, hair and digestive function. When broth is being utilized in rebuilding the gut or to address Candida infections, it is suggested that in addition to the broth, a good diverse source of probiotics be reintroduced. A great source of diverse probiotitics can be found in fermented type foods (Beet Kvass, Kimchee).
To prep your bone broth, here's what you'll need:
Good bones! Bones from grassfed cows, wild animals and fish are best. Look for free range chicken. When roasting a chicken, just start saving the carcass and freezing it, and then same for any other bone-in type meats. If using fish, you'll want to use the entire head and all the bones. You can purchase bones from US Wellness Meats
Celtic Sea Salt/Himalayan Salt (most nutrient packed)
Vegetables of your choice (red onions and mushrooms - Maitake, Reishi or ABM- are good choices, as they're all loaded with immune boosting substances. However if you're trying to rebuild the gut, it is recommended that you hold off on the onions)
If your bones (specifically beef) are raw, you can roast them at 350 degrees as it'll improve the flavor.
Using a large stock pot (5 gallon), you can place your bones, veggies, salt, apple cider vinegar and any other herbs/spices you prefer and then cover it with water. The general recommendation is 1 gallon of water for every 2 pounds of bones.You'll then want to bring it to a good boil, and then turn the heat down to let it sit and simmer for approximately 48 hours for beef broth; 24 hours for chicken/poultry; 8 hours for fish. During the first 2 hours of simmering, it's a good idea to go ahead and scrape off some of the froth that'll rise, as this is believed to be the impurities, which will be far less in grassfed/healthy animals than in conventionally raised animals. Once it's prepared, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly before straining with a thin metal strainer into glass jars which can be stored in the refrigerator for upto 5 days, or frozen for longer keeping. When you pull it out of the fridge or freezer, just warm it up on the stove top and enjoy.
Got a bone broth recipe that you've tried,or any tips, share it below. If you find a local source for bones, please let me know by leaving a reply below.
For a great chicken stock recipe, you can go the link included and it'll take you to Renewing All Things, a site by Megan Kelly, a Licensed Esthetician specializing in holistic nutrition, woman’s hormones, and spiritual health.