Winter is often rife with colds, flus and a range of ailments which can leave us feeling depleted and drained of energy. Eating well and providing our body with a wide range of nutrients to help support our immune system is important to help us through the winter months and limit our exposure to illness.
One food which has jumped back into consciousness in recent years is Bone Broth. Once a thing of old wives tales it has now been shown to have an extensive range of health benefits as well as being a good old fashioned source of comfort food in times of illness. Research has shown that it can help;
As bones cook for long periods of time they gradually leach valuable amino acids, collagen, gelatin and trace minerals into the broth. These nutrients are readily absorbed by our bodies and can then be used to support repair and limit inflammation.
Collagen helps to restore cartilage which is one of the main areas of wear and tear as we age thus providing support to our joints, and elasticity in our skin.
Gelatin from the bones helps maintain strong bones as well as added cushioning between joints. Gelatin is also fundamental in the gut where it strengthens the intestinal lining and helps limit damage known as “leaky gut”. If the intestinal lining is compromised this can lead to immune responses in the body as undigested food particles leak from the gut into the bloodstream.
Amino acids found in bone broth; proline, glutamine and arginine help seal any leaks in the intestinal lining and in doing so support healthy immune system function. The availability of the nutrients in bone broth is also helpful at aiding absorption in the gut, and foods are really only as valuable as the nutrients we absorb from them which is why bone broth is regarded as being so beneficial.
Bone broth also contains potassium and glycine, which support cellular and liver detoxification, and glutathione and glutamine which aid metabolic processes.
Here’ s how to make your own batch at home and take advantage of all the health benefits -shared above. Once made you can store in jars in the fridge for 5-7 days or freeze it to use as a base in soups and casseroles.
Bones (chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish or other),
2-4 tbsp cider vinegar
Most butchers will sell fresh bones however you can also use left-over bones from a roast / joint. You can easily mix things up and use bones from different animals in the same pot.
Simply place a big bunch of bones in large saucepan or slow cooker, cover them with cold water and set the temperature on low heat so it doesn’t do much more than simmer. Allow min 12 hours cooking time or longer if you are able. If you do simmer for longer then add in water as it evaporates to draw out the concentration. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the cold water to help draw the nutrients from the bones.
Seasoning should be done near the end of the cook time or you can wait to season your stock as you use it in recipes. Add fresh herbs and spices in the last 10 minutes. Dried herbs and spices or spice powders can be added during the final hour. Vegetables can be added according to their size, giving them enough time to cook.
An important rule when it comes to stock making is don’t add any salt. If you plan to reduce it to make soups or sauces, the salt concentration can easily become too high if you add it at the beginning.
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