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The Health Benefits of Bone Broth

Posted Nov 20 2010 12:41pm
With the holidays and flu season upon us, it's a great time to think about making homemade broth. The turkey carcass makes a great base for a healthy, rejuvenating stock. What are the health benefits of chicken/turkey/meat broth? According to the article The Benefits of Bone Broth found at the Nourished Kitchen website
As the bones cook in water – especially if that water has been made slightly acidic by the inclusion of cider vinegar – minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water. Homemade broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals. The minerals in broth are easily absorbed by the body. Bone broth even contains glucosamine and chondroitin – which are thought to help mitigate the deleterious effects of arthritis and joint pain.

The key to nutritious meat stock is in the gelatin. In her book Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon writes
Gelatin acts first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been used successfully in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, including hyperacidity, colitis and Crohn's disease. Although gelatin is by no means a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine in large amounts, it acts as a protein sparer, allowing the body to more fully utilize the complete proteins that are taken in. Thus, gelatin-rich broths are a must for those who cannot afford large amounts of meat in their diets. Gelatin also seems to be of use in the treatment of many chronic disorders, including anemia and other diseases of the blood, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and even cancer.

Getting the broth to gel can be easier said than done. In my experience, beef stock made from knuckle and marrow bones gels easily. Chicken stock can be tricky. Stock made with chicken feet consistently offers a gelatin-rich broth. It is relatively simple provided you can buy the feet; I get mine from a local poultry farmer or Blackwing Quality Meats .

The following 10-minute video demonstrates the stock-making process (including the use of chicken feet).




Recipe for Chicken Stock (excerpts from Nourishing Traditions)

1 whole free-range chicken or 2-3 pounds bony chicken parts
(Turkey carcass/bones can be easily substituted.)

Gizzards and/or feet (optional)

4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tbls vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
2 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley

Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30-60 minutes. Bring to a boil and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6-24 hours. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. Strain and refrigerate broth.


Bone stock provides the foundation for the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet, which we have been following for the last six months. Drs. Brasco and Rubin offer a broth recipe in their book Restoring Your Digestive Health which includes chicken feet, coconut oil, ginger, and garlic. The Brasco broth recipe can be found here .

With its easy absorbability, great taste, and rich concentration of nutrients, meat stock makes a great medicine.
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