Are you finding your gym sessions are causing you joint and tendon pain? Are you struggling to heal from training? If so, there might be a simple fix: Bone Broth!
Bone broth is an age-old substance that provides many healing properties that can enhance your recovery time from the gym.
It is also extremely valuable in your overall health and wellness along with boosting your immune system
Let’s take a look at this old-school substance that still deserves a place in your diet.
What Is Bone Broth?
The old standbys of soup and stew might have had more healing properties than you ever realized. Bone broth is an ancient substance that you may want to revisit. Broth or stock is what you get from simmering bones in water over a long period of time to extract all the nutrients and substances available in the bones.
This is traditionally done with chicken or beef bone but you can also use fish bones. You can add seasoning and other ingredients while slowly allowing the bones to simmer over an extended period of time.
What’s The Difference Between Broth & Stock
At their core, they are essentially the same thing but there are a few differences allowing you to distinguish between the two:
- Stock - Generally a stock is simmered bones with very little seasoning and vegetables though you might add in some carrots, onion, and celery. It is the base for soups and stews and can be a bit more gelatinous when cooled due to the higher collagen content from the bones.
- Broth - WIth a bone broth, you’re looking at a heartier version of stock. Containing more meat, vegetables, and seasoning.
What Health Benefits Does Broth Provide?
This is where it gets interesting. There are a lot of deep-rooted nutrients in bones that have tremendous health and recovery benefits. As the old South American proverb goes “A good broth will resurrect the dead”.
Also, bone broth contains a good amount of minerals that are easily absorbed by the body, these include:
- Trace minerals
At the core of a bone broth are the broken down materials from the cartridge and tendons including chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine that are important for your joint health. You may have seen or used these in supplement form and a lot of people pay good money for something that you can make for next to nothing at home.
For example, bone broth helps the body make cartilage which is just in your bones, joints, eyes, under the skin and in your intestinal tract.
The combination of all the collagen, vitamins, minerals and nutrients allows broth to help in:
- Healing the lining of the gut
- Inhibit infection
- Reduce joint pain and inflammation
- Promote strong healthy bones
- Promote healthy hair and nail growth
If you suffer from thyroid problems, turning to stocks made from fish bones and fish heads may be beneficial as the fish bones contain iodine and other thyroid-strengthening substances1.
Turning To Chicken Soup When Sick?
It seems cliche that when you’re sick you go running for the chicken soup (or have your mom at least bring you some) but there is a good reason for turning to it. Bone broth is the base of any good chicken noodle soup and the breakdown of the bones releases more cysteine.
This amino acid found in the chicken, and the broth, can thin the mucus in your lungs making it easier to expel.
So you may want to keep some bone broth on hand, specifically chicken broth, to make up a batch for the next time you get the sniffles.
Kobe Bryant’s Secret Weapon?
If you remember back to 2013 when Kobe Bryant ruptured his Achilles tendon there were thoughts that this would be it for the NBA all-star. An injury like that can be potentially career-ending or at least lead to a massive uphill recovery. This can be made all the worse when you’re at the later stages of your career.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Kobe also fractured his knee in 2013. Part of Bryant's recovery has been credited to the use of bone broth, which had him back in the game by 2014/15. Not only was he able to play again, but Bryant also thrived as a 36-year-old and averaged 22.3 points per game.
ESPN2 reported that the Lakers’ chef made his own bone broth that was rich in collagen for the team. Each day at their practice facility in El Segundo, Bryant, and the players would consume the broth.
Whilst there are other factors that were critical in Bryant’s recovery, his handlers did credit the broth for improving his recovery time and career longevity.
How to Make Your Own Broth
Can't you just go into a grocery store and buy one of those boxes of broth off the shelves? Well, they’re not exactly what you’re looking for. They tend to be high in sodium and likely flavored with bouillon cubes.
What you’re looking for is the real vitamin, mineral, and collagen content that you get from simmering actual bones and you won’t find that in a cheap grocery store version. Here’s a quick way to make your own:
- 2-3 cooked or raw chicken carcasses or 2-3 beef bones
- 2 celery stalks roughly chopped
- 2 leaks roughly chopped
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 2 carrots roughly chopped
- 1 thyme sprig
- A handful of parsley stalks
- Half a garlic head
- Tablespoon of crushed peppercorns
- 1-2 bay leaves
- Clean off any loose skin and wash bones under water.
- Add all ingredients to large pot and cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
- When at a boil, skim out any fat that has reached the top.
- Reduce to a gentle simmer for 2-2.5 hours and skim off any fat that gets to the top (stock can be cooked 6-8 hours resulting in a richer, more nutritious stock).
- Strain the stock through a colander into a large heatproof bowl and discard any debris.
- Allow to cool and keep in the fridge for use of up to 3 days. Freeze in smaller portions for later use. Makes around 2 liters.
There are many restaurants that will simmer their own broth for much longer than this - up to 12-14 hours - to develop that flavor and nutrition even further. This might not be possible for you to keep an eye on but it’s easy to get a long simmer on a meal prep day when you’re already home and will be able to keep an eye on it.
Sunday is always a great day to get a jump start on meals for the week ahead. You can start making a broth early in the morning and allow it to simmer for the majority of the day while you start prepping your meals for the oncoming week.
Wrapping It Up
When you have bone broth on hand, it makes it really easy to get a great shot of health and nutrition each day.
Some people like to just drink it straight up which is pretty intense especially at first. The good news is, broth can be made into easy ‘one-pot’ meals that don’t need a lot of preparation or skill to put together.
With a great bone broth, you can make soup at any time or throw together a simple stew. With a stew, you can boost the nutrient content even further by adding carrots, onion, potatoes and maybe some high-grade grass-fed beef for higher vitamin, mineral, and fiber content.