Bone Broth: A Functional Food

When I think of medicinal foods, I think of bone broth.  There’s a reason homemade chicken soup is given to people when they are sick.  Many cultures like Chinese, French, Japanese, African, and Italian have different broths that are made to help different ailments, such as gastrointestinal issues, joint pain, constipation, etc.  Let’s dive into the benefits of bone broth, how it compares to collagen, and how to make it.

What are the health benefits of bone broth?

The nutrient content of bone broth varies, depending on the ingredients used to make it.  Bones and their connective tissue are what provide an abundance of nutrients.  So what is bone broth’s nutritional value?

  • Gelatin is the protein in broth and is the cooked form of collagen.  They contain the same nutrients, but gelatin is a different form that allows you to use it in baked goods and different recipes.
  • One of the reasons I’m drawn to bone broth is its amino acid content.  Bone broth contains anti-inflammatory amino acids like alanine, hydroxyproline, proline, and glycine.
  • Bone broth also contains a variety of minerals that are essential for thyroid function and hormone health.
  • Bone broth contains vitamins A and K2.  Vitamin A is important for skin, heart, immune system, and reproductive health.  Vitamin K2 helps to keep calcium inside the bones and teeth to protect our thyroid and support bone health.

How does bone broth compare to collagen?

The main difference in bone broth and a collagen supplement is what they are made from.  Bone broth is made from bones while collagen is made from an animal hide (skin).  For this reason, the nutritional content will vary.  Bones contain an abundance of nutrients while animal hide only contains collagen.  But guess what?  Neither is right or wrong.  You still get the benefits of most amino acids if you’re using a collagen supplement.  If the convenient form of collagen powder allows you to use it more consistently, then that’s great!

How is bone broth made?

I like to make my own bone broth.  It’s incredibly easy to make.  You really can’t mess it up.  If you use a pressure cooker, like the InstantPot, it saves a bunch of time!  You will notice that the only flavor/seasoning I add is garlic cloves, ginger root, and sea salt.  I don’t add a ton because I also add a bunch of frozen veggie ends that we save instead of throwing out.  Plus, our bones always have some meat and seasoning on them from when we originally used them; therefore, you don’t need much.  I also add potatoes, carrots, and greens for extra potassium and magnesium!  It’s also easy to add in your own flavoring when you heat it up.  That’s what I mean by you can’t really mess it up.  You can always add more flavor later if needed, but I typically find it doesn’t need it.  So, are you ready to get cooking?

  1. Add your bones to your crockpot or InstantPot (about 4lb)
  2. Add any scrap veggies and potatoes for added mineral content
  3. Fill with water until everything is covered or you’re close to the max fill line
  4. Mix in seasonings of choice.  I always add 3 garlic cloves, chopped ginger root, and sea salt
  5. Cover and cook on high: (for InstantPot)
    1. 30 minutes for chicken bones
    2. 60 minutes for pork
    3. 90 minutes for beef
    4. 75 minutes for a mixture
  6. Strain and store.  I use a stainless steel mesh strainer that sits on top of a mason jar (inside of a large bowl or sink).  Cover your pot and pour
  7. Let cool, cover, and store in fridge/freezer

If cooking in a crockpot, add 1 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar and cook on low for 48-72 hours. ⁣

As much as I love cooking and drinking my own bone broth, I also utilize @paleovalley Bone Broth Protein in coffee and smoothies as a quality protein source.  It makes coffee super frothy and who doesn’t love that?!  ⁣It’s also great for travel.  It has all of the same benefits in a convenient and unflavored form.  ⁣It is very minimally processed and they have very high standards for sourcing that I greatly appreciate. ⁣ Use my promo code: HORMONEHEALINGRD10 for 10% off your order from Paleovalley.

 I also purchase from brands I trust like Kettle & Fire and Bonafide bone broth!

For generations cultures around the world have used bone broth for healing.  With its nutrient-dense composition, it operates as a functional food.  Whether you choose to make your own or supplement, the outcome is worth it.  Follow me on Instagram @hormonehealingrd for posts on bone broth.  

Want more tips for improving your hormone health for good? Join my Master Your Minerals course to get to the root of your hormone concerns.

Want more tips for improving your hormone health for good? Join my Master Your Minerals course to get to the root of your hormone concerns. 

Photo by Henrique Félix on Unsplash

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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