There’s a lot of truth – quite literally – to the ancient proverb “A good broth will resurrect the dead”. I sip a cuppa or two of bone broth on most days and encourage our TKS ladies to include it from day one of their programme as an elixir for boosting weight-loss, preventing disease and maintaining good health long term. It is just jam-packed with so much goodness and I believe it is one of the most potent medicinal ‘super liquids’ on the planet!
And just to rule out any confusion from the start, let me tell you that there are as many benefits to sipping broth made with either beef, chicken, fish or just veggies, so if you’re Pescatarian or vegetarian/vegan, please keep reading…
Let’s first look at some of the wide-ranging benefits of this magical potion.
• Broth is great for bone, muscle and joint health. Bone broth, in particular, is a rich source of collagen and amino acids such as glycine, arginine and glutamate, which provide our body with the raw materials it needs to rebuild and repair tendons, bones, ligaments, muscle and connective tissue.
• Its capacity to boost collagen production in a big way, along with the nutrients from the vegetables added, broth works wonders for the health of our hair, nails and skin. In fact, once you start ingesting it regularly you may find that your hair appears shiny, skin looks luminous and your nails feel stronger within days!
• Bone broth is a wonderful gut healer and I use it clinically for clients with gastrointestinal problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Coeliac Disease. It is rich in amino acids, including a low-reactive form of glutamine, which helps repair and strengthen the gut lining. The collagen in broth also protects the stomach lining so that it can absorb nutrients more efficiently and promotes better digestion.
• The gelatin found in bone broth can aid digestion and reduce inflammation throughout the body as it contributes to healing the stomach lining and digestive tract. (If you’re a vegetarian, there are some great plant-based sources to try, such as kombu leaves). The amino acids found in bone broth have inflammatory properties as well, thereby helping with pain relief and reducing muscle soreness, including after exercise. Vegetables recommended for broths, including carrots and celery, are also high in anti-inflammatory glutamine, and may help fight chronic inflammation that contributes to health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
• Broth contains electrolytes, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, which are essential for a number of functions, including hydration, regulating nerve and muscle function and balancing blood acidity. In addition to electrolytes, the vitamins and antioxidants in broth (think vitamins A, C, E and K) boost our immunity and can prevent help prevent colds and flu as replacing electrolytes when we sweat as we’re sick helps the immune system recover faster. As such it also helps eliminate keto flu symptoms early on during the adaptation phase of a low-carb programme like TKS.
• The veggies and high water content in broth are a great detoxifying and weight-loss agent! They not only help our bodies absorb nutrients more effectively but the soluble fibre in the vegetables also helps pull toxins out of our digestive tract and gets rid of them through our large intestine.
• Sipping broth regularly helps turn back our body clock! Being rich in antioxidant-rich vitamins A and C combats ageing, irons out wrinkles and boosts collagen production, which takes care of sagging skin and broken capillaries.
• Broth makes a wonderful addition to a fasting protocol and helps ease us into a longer fast. Not only does it give us all the essential nutrients we need in order to function physically and mentally, it also staves off hunger cravings and takes the pressure off our bodies in having to work hard to digest food.
Longer fasts, of 3 to 5 days twice a year, is something I personally do and highly recommend for you too! It’s such a wonderful way to kickstart your weight loss, promote overall health and longevity, plus it can help prevent serious disease including cancer. That’s because a longer fast gets us into a stage called autophagy, where our bodies recycle toxic proteins and replenish our cells and repair our organs where needed.
Now, not all broths are created equal and making your own is by far the best option, as many store-bought varieties contain health-damaging additives such as MSG and other nasties. It’s very easy to do, affordable and a great way to ‘recycle’ kitchen leftovers – think beef or chicken bones, and veggies. You can sip broth by itself – I recommend a cup or two a day – plus it’s super versatile as you can also add it to soups, casseroles and to add flavour to sauces.
Whether you’re a carnivore, Pescatarian or herbivore, there are many broth recipes to try – or you can easily create your own! Don’t be too pedantic about the quantities, just choose your base ingredients – either marrow bones, the remnants of cooked organic chicken or fish. Add to these a variety of colourful vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, orange or red peppers and zucchini or celery. And don’t forget to chuck in a generous portion of leafy greens like spinach and kale (or use veggies on their own if you’re vegetarian or vegan).
Cover the ingredients with filtered water in a slow-cooker, large pot or pressure cooker, add apple cider vinegar to create flavour and alkalise the mixture; and then add fresh spray-free herbs such as parsley and anti-inflammatory spices like peppercorns, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and turmeric. You can also add bay leaves, miso paste and tamari for an extra flavour boost.
Cook the broth for at least couple of hours (depending on the method you’re using) before straining the liquid and refrigerating it. Homemade bone broth will keep for five days in the fridge or up to six months in the freezer.
I prefer using marrow bones for my beef broths as I then render the marrow fat to cook with. After making the broth, I strain and refrigerate it, and the fat will solidify on top. All I do then is scrape it off, add it to a pot and boil it to evaporate any water/broth, then strain it and place it into a glass jar to keep for cooking. There’s a lot of marrow goodness in that fat and the highest ketone readings I’ve ever had were from marrow!
Enjoy your magic mineral broth as part of your staple diet and your body will thank you for it in a big way!