What Is Bone Broth?
Bone broth, sometimes called stock, is liquid made from boiling animal bones and connective tissue. Chefs use stock as a base for soups, sauces, and gravies. Some people drink it on its own.
People have been making bone broth since the beginning of humankind. Anthropologists think people drank liquid infused with bones and other animal parts as early as prehistoric times.
People all over the planet make bone broth from the animals that live nearby. The popular Japanese ramen dish tonkatsu — “pork bone broth” in English — is one example.
Bone Broth Benefits
Health benefits of bone broth include:
Broth and broth-based soups can help you feel full despite their low-calorie content, making it an excellent choice for people following a weight loss diet plan.
The high water content in bone broth helps you stay hydrated. Water makes up 70% of the body and impacts virtually every bodily function.
Bone broth contains small amounts of the amino acid glycine, which may promote relaxation and deeper, more restorative sleep.
Bone Broth Nutrition
Bone broth is easy to make and a flavorful part of many complex, delicious recipes. It’s also a great way to use otherwise inedible animal bones and tissues.
Nutrients per serving
Every batch of bone broth is unique, so it’s impossible to calculate the exact nutrient content. However, since beef stock is among the more common broths around the world, it’s a decent reference point. One cup of beef bone broth contains:
- Calories: 39
- Protein: 9 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0 gram
The protein content in bone broth may support your body as it builds bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Bone broth also contains small amounts of calcium, iron, and potassium.
Bone Broth Risks
While bone broth is generally considered safe to consume, there are some potential risks to be aware of.
Lead contamination. Some studies have found elevated levels of lead in bone broths, which can be harmful to health if consumed in large amounts.
Bacterial contamination. Improper preparation and storage of bone broth can lead to bacterial growth, increasing the risk of foodborne illness.
Allergic reactions. Bone broth may contain allergens such as dairy or shellfish, so it is important to check the ingredients before consuming.
Interaction with medications. Bone broth contains amino acids and minerals that can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners.
It is important to follow proper food safety guidelines when preparing and storing bone broth to minimize the risk of these potential issues. You should also consult a health care professional before consuming bone broth, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or take medications.
Several popular claims about the benefits of bone broth may be overstated. So far, we don’t have scientific evidence that bone broth can relieve joint pain, make skin firmer, improve digestion, or strengthen bone.
How to Make Bone Broth
Preparing bone broth is simple:
- Fill a large pot with 1 gallon of water.
- Add 2 to 4 pounds of animal bones and, optionally, connective tissue.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 24 hours.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
The longer you simmer broth, the more flavor it will take on from the bones and tissue.
Add flavor to your bone broth with ingredients like onion, celery, carrot, parsley, thyme, and garlic. Add these before you boil the broth.
You can also prepare bone broth in a pressure cooker or slow cooker.
Beef, chicken, and pork bone broths are the most common types. However, you can create bone broth from virtually any animal’s bones and connective tissue. Some examples include turkey, veal, lamb, bison, buffalo, deer, and fish. You can also use a mix of bones from different animals.
Use your bone broth as a base for soups, sauces, and gravy, or drink it on its own.
Here are a few other ways to use bone broth:
- Add flavor to pasta by boiling it in bone broth instead of water.
- Add to casseroles for more flavor and moistness.
- Use as a flavorful base for nutritious vegetable soup.
- Sip hot bone broth to soothe a sore throat.
- Drink bone broth between meals as a low-calorie snack.