Should You Be Drinking Bone Broth?

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The newest food trend takes a page out of the caveman's cookbook: Drinking mugs of bone broth much as you would a morning cup of coffee. The obsession has quickly taken off. Long lines are forming at the few establishments that carry the broth in major cities, and Executive Chef Lance Roll of TheBrothery.com is shipping 1,000 containers of his organic bone broth every week, triple what he sold last year (he expects it to triple again in the next months). But is this new diet fad actually healthy?
 
While no studies have looked at bone broth specifically, dozens of scientific studies do support the benefits of bone broth's ingredients, says Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, a nutrition scientist, certified clinical nutritionist, and co-author of Nourishing Broths. "We have science that supports the use of cartilage, gelatin, and other components found in homemade bone broth to prevent and sometimes even reverse osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, digestive distress, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer,” she says. 

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Roll also credits the real food movement for the broth boom. "Americans are tired of being sold a bill of goods. They are demanding to know what's in their food and demanding real, whole, organic ingredients that are nourishing for the body.”
 
There's a difference between bone broth and your grandma's chicken soup. Mostly, it's the bone content and cooking time, says Roll. Chicken bone broth is produced primarily with the back bone and chicken feet, and it's simmered for 18-24 hours to extract the most minerals, amino acids, and gelatin. Conventional chicken soup uses more meat and fat. "The process of simmering bone generates a lot of collagen and minerals, and the marrow helps build blood cells, which is the healing mechanism in the body,” says Roll. Here's how to make a pot at home.

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DIY Bone Broth
 
Ingredients 

  • Backbone from 1 organic chicken (or roughly 2 pounds of bones)
  • 2-4 chicken feet (for gelatin content)
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 4 quarts cold, filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: salt, pepper, and garlic to taste

Place all ingredients (except parsley) in a large stockpot or slow cooker. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 18 to 24 hours. Add parsley and season to taste during the last 30 minutes. Sip the finished broth like tea or add it to other recipes.