Updated: Mar 4, 2021
Bone broth has a very long history of holistic healing. Prairie women back in the 1800s simmered their broth over an open-hearth fireplace or campfire, cooking in big cast-iron pots to lock in all those delicious, healing nutrients.
A classic folk remedy, it was considered a cure-all for everything from joint healing to the common cold, including being a blood builder for the kidneys. Even the great holistic faith healer, Edgar Cayce, often recommended bone broth for nutritional healing.
Wherever you go nowadays in the natural community, you will hear about the amazing benefits of bone broth and what it can do for your body. Some people will say it’s great; others will say it is not a good idea. So whom do you believe? Let me break it down for you.
First and foremost, let's get bad and negative off the table. Why do some people feel it is not healthy to consume? Let's start with what bone broth is.
Bone broth is made from animal bones and connective tissue from cattle, chicken, or fish. And it is slowly simmered for anywhere between 12 and 48 hours to allow its nutrients and minerals to be released from the bones. It can be mixed with veggies and herbs in filtered water for even more nutrients.
So with all these amazing, healthy whole foods and nutrients, how can it be bad for you? One word: lead. High lead exposure has been linked to learning disabilities, low IQ, brain damage, kidney problems, and anemia. This is extremely problematic for women that are pregnant, since lead can affect a fetus's nervous system as it develops.
How are bones exposed to lead? Farm practices--heavy metals are found all over our farms. Antique farmhouses. Old paint. Antique or new metal from farm equipment. Fertilizers that go in the soil. Pesticides that go in the air to contaminate it. Lead sometimes gets into the feed or water. Chickens love to roll in contaminated soil. And studies showed that organic was no better. (However, the study might have been flawed; see https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/bone-broth-and-lead-contamination-a-very-flawed-study-in-medical-hypotheses/).
The fact is that no matter what the study says, it opens up the fact that we need to be more cautious in knowing what is going on with the foods that we eat.
So what can you do about it?
Buy pasture-raised and free-range meats from a reliable, clean, organic farmer. Know your farmer. Know his practices. Look around the farm. Ask questions.
Even buying organic from the supermarket doesn’t mean it’s good-quality meat. Farm meat is fresher and has way more nutrition than supermarket meat. And if you get it right from the farm, it is never ever put on trucks for long periods of time to spoil. Never buy conventional, which is most likely to contain estrogenic growth hormones, antibiotics, and cheap GMO corn—pure poison for the body. Remember, we want our bodies to thrive on nutrition. After all, we are what we eat.
Bone broth has its place in the whole food world and can be a very healthy supplementation to your already healthy diet, but precautions must be made to make sure it's safe to consume.
Benefits to Bone Broth Consumption
Boosts the body’s detoxing: Supports immune function. The glycine in bone broth supports cellular and liver detox.
Maintains healthy skin: Contains collagen and helps form elastin in the skin for a young appearance.
Gut healing benefits: Gelatin is good for restoring gut health by supporting good gut bacteria and aids in inflammation in the digestive tract.
Boost for your teeth: A mineral powerhouse packed with calcium magnesium phosphorus and other trace minerals.
May help sleep: The amino acid glycine improves sleep patterns and insomnia. People note that drinking in the evening made them fall asleep way better.
Supports healthy weight loss: Because of the high protein content, it helps the body feel full longer.
Broth, Stock, and Bone Broth Differences
This is how Nanna made her chicken soup—a lighter, see-through liquid made with fresh veggies and herbs and/or spices. Meat still on the bone, cooked for around 45 mins to 2 hrs. Some nutrients will come out in the liquid but not as much as in stock.
For this, you simmer bones and the connective tissues in boiling water for around 3 to 4 hrs. A darker, more rich liquid that releases collagen, gelatin, vitamins, and minerals into the liquid. Some stocks use veggies and herbs; some do not.
A mix of the two together, but basically a stock cooked between 12 to 48 hrs. Can use bones and connective tissues, veggies, herbs, and/or spices. This has an abundance of nutrients. The best of both worlds!
If bone broth works for you, then by all means go for it. But as I always say, you can overdo a good thing too. So it’s nice to rotate things around for the sake of getting different vitamins and minerals into your body. God gave us different foods with added nutrients for this reason. We are all individuals, so what works for one might not for the other. Listen to your body. And remember, not everything is good for everyone.
If you want a delicious but super easy recipe for this magic liquid, please check out my recipe page for my Better Than Botox Bone Broth.