Some people have touted the liquid as a miracle worker, saying it helps with everything from joint pain to aging skin. Is bone broth the secret ingredient you need to add to your diet ASAP, or is it all hype?
Whether you’re fully on board with the bone broth trend or still skeptical, there’s no denying its popularity. Although bone broth has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, it wasn’t until a few years ago that the liquid developed a reputation for being a health and wellness superfood said by a nutritrinist. The reason you’ve been hearing all about it recently can be attributed to the fact that it fits into two incredibly popular eating approaches: the ketogenic (keto) diet and the paleo diet.
Bone broth is technically a stock that’s made by simmering the bones of animals with vegetables, spices, and herbs for a long stretch of time, usually a day or two. The resulting nutrient-packed liquid is rich in anti-inflammatory amino acids, bioavailable minerals, and collagen. Bone broth has been linked to a host of benefits, such as relieving joint pain and arthritis symptoms, strengthening bones, and promoting a healthy immune system and gut.
It’s also said to improve skin quality because it is rich in collagen, which is a protein found in the skin that’s prized for its ability to promote elasticity and help the skin stay wrinkle-free and youthful. Collagen production declines with age, accelerating around age 40. The study reported that a 1-year-old had 85.77 percent of skin area occupied by collagen while a 49-year-old and 90-year-old had 72.45 percent and 56.63 percent, respectively.
That steady decline in collagen is why there’s an entire industry dedicated to how to get more of it, whether topically through anti-aging potions or by ingesting collagen powder, supplements, or drinks containing collagen, such as bone broth.
The thinking is by drinking collagen-rich bone broth, the collagen will then be fast-tracked to the face to combat wrinkles.
What Does Research Say About Potential Bone Broth Benefits?
It’s true that there is a strong gut-skin connection, and it’s something that’s being studied more and more.
Unfortunately, though, there’s no way to designate which nutrients go where. “Just like eating fat doesn’t directly translate to body fat, as there are other factors involved, neither does eating collagen mean an increase in [collagen] levels,”
In other words, sipping on bone broth doesn’t deliver a boost in the skin’s collagen level. Instead, that the collagen is broken down into amino acids, just like other proteins, and is transported to whichever of the body’s tissues need it most, with no way of ensuring it’ll go straight to the stubborn crow’s-feet around your eyes. The nutrients will first go to the essential organs, such as the heart, brain, and liver. As a result, one’s hair, skin, and nails are usually the first places one may notice change, since the nutrients are often driven away from them.
Even if bone broth doesn’t necessarily offer skin-plumping benefits, it doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. It’s rich in protein, with about 6 to 12 grams in each cup.
How to Make Your Own Bone Broth at Home
There are many who swear it has an effect, but most agree you can’t just buy a chicken stock from the grocery store and hope to see changes. Even though there are similarities between homemade broth and store-bought options, the amount of time the pot is left to boil differs drastically. Store-bought options may only boil for an hour, whereas homemade calls for sitting on the stove for as long as two days. Store-bought stocks may also include unhealthy ingredients, such as sugar, sodium, and artificial colors, so if you’re ready to jump into the bone broth trend, you’ll likely want to make your own at home.
Here’s how to make it:
- Serves About 12
- Prep Time 10 minutes
- Cook Time 24-48 hours
- Total Time 24-48 hours
- 6 pounds chicken necks, feet, and wings
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped
- 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- Half a bunch parsley sprigs
- 18 to 20 cups cold water (or enough to cover the ingredients in the pot by 3 inches)
- Place all of the ingredients in a 10-quart capacity slow cooker.
- Add the water.
- Simmer for 24 to 48 hours, skimming the fat occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- Strain out the solids.
- Let the stock cool to room temperature, cover, and chill. The broth should become jellylike.
- Use within a week or freeze for up to two months. Heat it on the stove before consuming.