When searching for potent healing foods, traditional diets are a good place to look. Long used for its holistic therapeutic and gut healing properties, bone broth is now being rediscovered as vital in a naturally healthy diet. Bone broth is a nutrient-rich ‘stock’ made by simmering bones at low temperatures for many hours during which they release an array of nutrients essential to health.
Vegetables and medicinal herbs can be added for flavour and to further enrich its therapeutic properties.
Bone broth is a potent medicinal food best known for its healing effects on the digestive system. It actively promotes gut healing by providing the building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining, reducing inflammation, bloating and ‘leaky gut’. It is rich in gelatine, a natural digest-aid that greatly reduces the digestive stress resulting from the consumption of processed and cooked food or from sub-optimal digestive function. Gelatine also improves digestibility of beans and legumes, grains, dairy and meat protein.
Imagine the gut like the roots of a tree. The tree cannot be healthy if its roots are not healthy – no matter how far away the branches are. And so the body cannot be healthy if the gut is not healthy.
But gut health is much more than the digestion of food. Did you know that about 85% of our immune system is located in the gut wall? The immune system present in the gut makes more immunological decisions in a day than the rest of our immune system makes in a lifetime! Many acute and chronic conditions are therefore directly linked to gut health, such as autoimmune disease, allergies, eczema, low immunity and behavioural and learning difficulties in children. So, if you or the kids suffer from allergies or frequent infections you have some gut work to do! And for babies and kids bone broth is a wonderful healing food that nourished their little bodies and brains. It is safe and easy to consume and plain broth is relatively neutral in taste.
Bone broth also contains plentiful minerals and trace minerals in a form that the body can easily assimilate, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, and amino acids that have anti-inflammatory and liver-protective action and that promote soft tissue, collagen and cartilage repair.
And it gets even better – bone broth is a beauty tonic! Gelatine, collagen and abundant trace minerals deeply nourish the skin, hair, nails, promote wound healing and replenish the body. The amino acid glycine has a broad range of cell-protective actions (there is anti-ageing action right here!) and is important for healthy liver function and detoxification.
Feeling drained and scattered after a long day at work? A cup of bone broth is very grounding, helps relax the nervous system and combat stress. This is due to the calming, anti-stress minerals like calcium and potassium that are abundant and easily absorbed. Glycine acts an important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brainstem and spinal cord exerting a quieting, relaxing action and promoting natural sleep.
So if you like the idea of using food as your medicine you might want to include some bone broth into your family’s diet. Simply drink a warm cup of bone broth between or with meals. Season naturally with Sea salt and pepper, herbs, seaweed, Goji or Inca berries, miso, crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger or turmeric. Use bone broth to sauté and braise vegetables and meats or use in casseroles or soups. For babies, mix plain broth into pureed vegetables or other mashed food.