Kitchen Tips

Bone broth: Why it is so good for you and how to use it

Packed with protein, we take stock of an old-fashioned cure–all, made with tender, loving care. Find out why it is so good for you, and how you can sneak more bone broth into your diet.

Long been praised for its healing and health-giving properties, natural bone broth, also known as stock, is a nutrient-dense superfood, full of minerals, gelatin, collagen and amino acids. Studies have shown this ancient food can provide energy, help with sleep, and even make our skin glow.

What is bone broth?

Bone broth was a way our ancestors made use of every part of an animal – bones, marrow, skin, feet, tendons and ligaments. These days, we tend not to eat those parts, opting for the lean muscle meat instead. For this reason consuming bone broth can help provide us with the nutrients we've otherwise missed. Easy to digest and rich in flavour, bone broth – beef, chicken, fish, lamb and more – is now commonly used in cultures and cuisines worldwide.

What are the benefits of bone broth?

There are dozens of nutrients found in bone broth, many of which can't easily be obtained from other common foods. Bone broth can help protect and improve joint health, maintain healthy skin and nails, support immune system function, aid metabolism, improve digestion and enhance nutrient absorption.
So how does it do this? Well, boiling bones produces collagen, which is where the skin benefits come in. Amino acids such as arginine and glutamine in bone broth have been shown to boost immunity in humans and animals – and even relieve a cold. A study published in Chest, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, found that eating chicken soup made with bone broth helps reduce cold symptoms by clearing mucus, opening respiratory pathways and providing easily digested nutrients.
According to medical doctor and UCLA professor Irwin Ziment, chicken bone broth soup contains the amino acid cysteine, which chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine. On top of this, researchers have found that it also contains minerals your body will easily absorb, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur. And it could even save you money – bone broth contains chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine, compounds that are typically sold as expensive supplements to reduce arthritis and joint pain.
If tummy troubles are your issue, regularly drinking bone broth can also help promote a healthy gut while reducing inflammation.

How can bone broth be used?

Bone broth can be consumed as a hot beverage with salt and a squeeze of lemon, or with herbs and spices. It can be used as a morning drink to help energise and keep you full until lunch. Cooking with it can improve the nutritional value and flavour of dishes such as soups, stews and stir-fries.
After being dissolved in hot water, powdered bone broths can be added to smoothies – try beetroot bone broth before a workout. You can also opt for ready-to-use liquid bone broth, but be selective as some manufacturers use lab-produced meat flavours in bouillon cubes, soup and sauce mixes. If you want real bone broth, try making it at home, using the bones from organic meat and grass-fed cattle.