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What Is Bone Broth

What Is Bone Broth?

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Soup bone broth, made from the bones of animals, has been consumed by humankind across many cultural cuisines throughout the ages, from Italian to Vietnamese. Today, bone broth has emerged as a trending health food and a staple part of the paleo diet, where the idea is to eat in a way that mimics that of our Paleolithic, pre-agriculture ancestors. Chicken broth, beef broth, and even fish broth, when prepared in a certain way, can all be considered bone broth, which according to many health and nutrition experts offers a wide range of beneficial healing properties. Here’s a closer look at bone broth and what’s behind this recent diet trend.

Bone Broth vs. Supermarket Bouillon

It’s important to understand that bone broth is not the same thing as the boxed or canned chicken or beef stock commonly found on the shelves of your local supermarket. Conventional broth or bouillon is produced in mass qualities and laden with salt, MSG, and other preservatives that significantly limit any nutritional benefit they might offer. In contrast, when prepared correctly, bone broth contains a wide range of nutrients (including collagen, glucosamine, and gelatin) that tend to be rare in our modern diets and yet are considered essential for maintaining a healthy gut.

How to Make Bone Broth

The biggest difference between preparing bone broth and conventional broths and stocks has to do with the cooking time. Bone broth must be simmered for many hours (although recipes differ, for the most part recommended cooking times range from 15 to 48 hours). Basically, the prolonged cooking time disintegrates the bones, releasing whatever vitamins and minerals are inside.

Generally, if you want a darker stock it’s recommended that you roast the bones first before placing then in a large stock pot with water. At this time you can also add your choice of vegetables for flavoring, as well as fresh chopped herbs, pepper, garlic, and onions. Paleo recipes often recommend adding apple cider vinegar as well, which assists in extracting the nutrients from the bones. Once everything is added, place a lid over the pot and set to simmer for up to 48 hours, or at least until the knucklebones have sufficient time to break down.

How Healthy Is Bone Broth, Really?

Experts disagree as to the specific health benefits offered by bone broth, but even the biggest detractors concede that it’s at minimum as nutritious as other healthy foods. Bone broth contains a wide range of nutrients: vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, as well as gelatin and collagen. Studies have confirmed the ability of bone broth to boost immune health. Many nutrition experts cite additional benefits, including improved digestive health, better skin health, and stronger joints, ligaments, tendons, hair, and nails. Professional athletes like Kobe Bryant tout the effectiveness of bone broth as a post workout drink as well.


In addition to being nutritious and nourishing, bone broth simply tastes better than traditional stocks. It’s also delicious and soothing on a cold, winter day.

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