When it came to food, our ancestors never wasted as much as we do. When an animal was available to eat, EVERY part of animal was viewed as edible—not just “lean protein (muscle meats). This included organ meats, like liver; animal fat and bones.

Speaking of bones…bone broth is an original Old World “superfood”. Many traditional cultures around the world have made and consumed some version of bone broth. Any type of bone can be used: chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or pork. You can roast meatier bones, like beef, lamb or pork, first before simmering, which adds depth of flavor. But this is totally optional—it’s up to you.

If bone broth is consumed on a regular basis, it can potentially help with the following:

–Improve your absorption of nutrients, especially minerals.  Bone broth is rich in minerals that can be easily absorbed by the body, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, zinc, and other trace minerals.

–Provide immune support.  Approximately 80% of your immune system resides in the gut, and bone broth can help promote gut health. It also contains a high concentration of minerals and amino acids that help reduce inflammation. See next benefit!

–Repair a leaky gut.  Gelatin is the cooked form of collagen. If you’ve done it right, your homemade broth will congeal and have a jiggly, Jello-like texture, which is gelatin! Even if it doesn’t gel, however, that bone broth is still a nutrient-dense food.

Gelatin aids digestion, and it can help repair a leaky gut (intestinal permeability), a condition where the barrier between the gut and bloodstream is compromised, enabling undigested food particles, waste, bacteria and viruses to “leak” into the bloodstream. What doesn’t belong in the bloodstream can wreak havoc on your health. Leaky gut can create or worsen symptoms, from joint aches, acne and weight gain, to digestive distress (e.g., constipation, diarrhea, IBS) and food intolerances.

Traditionally, gelatin has been used in the treatment of peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, infectious diseases, diabetes and cancer.

–Rebuild connective tissue.  Athletes also benefit from two amino acids in bone broth—proline and glycine—present in gelatin, which can help with recovery from tendonitis or achy joints.

–Protect your joints.  Bone broth is excellent source of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), a group of compounds that help repair cells. Chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine are two naturally occurring GAGs that are sold as expensive supplements that help reduce inflammation, joint pain and arthritis—better to get what you need from homemade bone broth!

–Maintain a youthful complexion.  Regular consumption (not just once in a while!) of bone broth, which is rich in collagen, can potentially contribute to a glowing, wrinkle-free complexion and healthy hair and nails.

–Promote bone health.  When bones simmer in water, they impart calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, essential minerals for bone health.

–Stretch your food dollar. Bone broth is both nourishing—and filling. Stretch your food budget (especially for quality, pasture-raised meats) by finding a trusted source of bones, which often come with a little meat on them, from grass-fed animals or from animals that were humanely raised, with no hormones and no antibiotics.