It’s time we talked about bone broth, an anti-inflammatory, collagen-rich liquid that nutritionists recommend consuming regularly. The broth has become fashionable thanks in part to the celebrities known to include it in their diets. Salma Hayek, for example, says she drinks a cup daily. Nutrition experts also recommend it for a number of different reasons, including–and this may come as a surprise–emotional ones. “There are so many benefits to drinking bone broth,” says nutritionist Itziar Digón. “It’s also really easy to make, using ingredients we all have at our fingertips, including leftovers. It is a sustainable and practical addition to your diet.”
Bone broth is also good for your digestive health
Digón emphasises that the anti-inflammatory benefits of bone broth are one of the main reasons to incorporate it into your diet. “The broth reduces intestinal inflammation and relieves certain symptoms in people with digestive problems. It is easy to digest and it also helps the body digest other foods,” she explains. Blanca García-Orea is another nutritionist who encourages her social media followers to drink bone broth because it promises to lower inflammation–thanks to the chondroitin and glucosamine (two molecules that help protect joints)—and soothe our intestines. Dr Mar Mira, from Clínica Mira + Cueto, adds that “it also benefits the intestinal wall. A permeable intestinal wall allows large molecules and substances that affect the joints to pass through. Bone broth, however, works to seal the intestinal wall and allows it to function properly. In addition, bone broth is rich in minerals like magnesium, which are often lacking from our diets.”
Its high collagen content is good for your skin, too
The broth, which is typically made with chicken, ham, or cow bones–and sometimes vegetables as well–is very good for the skin. The reason, explains Mira, is that it is rich in collagen. “Collagen is not common in most diets. When we consume animal protein, we are typically eating the muscular part of the animal. We don’t usually consume the main sources of animal collagen like the tendons and ligaments. Bone broth, however, is a simmered infusion of bones, marrow, ligaments and beef or chicken carcasses which result in a gelatinous broth rich in collagen,” according to Mira. She also describes a number of other beneficial properties for the joints: “Bone broth is rich in gelatine, amino acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin, all of which are beneficial for patients with joint pain, deterioration of cartilage, or chronic conditions like osteoarthritis. It has immunological benefits and it is an ideal source of collagen to improve skin quality,” she explains.
A comfort food that is also good for your brain
Digón also focuses on the psychological benefits of this dish because, she says, “when you have a hot soup, especially on chilly days, it immediately generates a feeling of wellbeing and comfort, something that is important to look for in the dishes we eat.” To this we can add, as García-Orea points out, that its high-quality fat provides energy that helps to keep our brains sharp.
You can enjoy this filling dish at any time of the day
Although some celebrities prefer to have their bone broth at breakfast, it’s a good option at any time of the day–and especially at dinner. “It can be consumed like any other type of broth and, from a nutritional perspective, there is no specific amount that must be consumed or any time that is the best time to have it,” says Mira. “It can be enjoyed alone, since it is a complete and nutritious dish, and it is also perfect paired with other dishes, especially in cold months when it feels comforting too.”
Some expert tips on preparing bone broth
Both García-Orea and Mira agree that the key to making the broth is to let the ingredients simmer slowly over a low flame, preferably in a crock pot. On her Instagram account, where she shares a number of recipes, García-Orea recommends adding a little vinegar “to better extract the minerals from the bones in the broth.” Mira also stresses the importance of a slow cooking method. It allows you “to extract the greatest number of nutrients,” she says. “Ideally the broth should simmer on a low heat, in a slow cooker or crock pot, for at least 24 hours. You should also select quality bones, if possible from natural grass-fed cattle or free-range poultry. The broth can be kept for about five days in the refrigerator, and it can be easily frozen. This allows you to cook large quantities and always have some available. Normally, after it is prepared the broth will have a gelatinous consistency though it will become more liquid when it is heated.”
This story was originally published on Vogue.com.