It used to be green juices that held all the nutrients and minerals we needed to be healthier and achieve our best selves, but the baton seems to have been passed to bone broths. Stores like Brodo in New York and Good Eggs in SF sell it in the same way that Starbucks sells you a coffee. To someone who grew up having bone broth as a staple part of my diet (it’s very popular in Asian cultures), this is almost baffling. After all, at its very essence, it’s just soup made from the bones of animals — beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.
I understand the appeal of this magical soup, though. The vitamins and minerals from the bones and tendons are reportedly able to help with a whole gamut of issues. Digestive issues, bone density, immune deficiencies, skin concerns, excessive cellulite and allergy symptoms are just some of the few things that people use bone broth to help deal with. The idea of having something that can help with all of these issues is quite appealing.
How is it made?
Bone broth is a soup derived from simmering animal bones with other additives. These additives are usually vegetables such as celery, carrots, onions and leeks. These are often used to add depth of flavor to the already rich broth. Sometimes the process takes two days, as some people like to extract as much flavor and nutrients from the bones and other additives as possible. Sound familiar? In fact, what you know and see in the grocery store that is labeled as chicken or beef stock is also bone broth.
Why do people use it?
Broth has a long history with many cultures of being incredibly restorative and healing. From the Korean seolleongtang to Jewish matzo ball soup, people have had faith in its abilities to help those in need for a long time. The rest of the world seems to have caught on — even Kobe Bryant has apparently used it to recover from workouts and games. Some believe that it’s the collagen from the bones and tendons that does the heavy lifting in terms of health benefits. Whatever it is, people use it to improve their health and deal with existing issues.
Is it really good for me?
Whether or not bone broth is good for you is dependent on what you’re trying to get out of it. If you want a miracle, I’m not sure this is your solution. Few scientific studies have been able to support the claims relating to improving digestion, relieving joint pain, firming and smoothing skin, and strengthening bone. However, it can be really good for those who are trying to consume fewer calories for medical reasons. Soups are great for getting you full without adding on the calories. There is also some evidence regarding chicken soup in particular’s potential effects on reducing inflammation in the body. Hot soup is also really good at helping clear nasal passages when you're ill. There's also a lot of protein in bone broth, which is great for keeping you full and fueled throughout the day. At the end of the day, it definitely is something to consider adding to your diet, but it's definitely not a viable meal replacement as some have suggested it to be.