by Selva Wohlgemuth, Co-op News contributor
Selva Wohlgemuth, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist
Dear Nutritionist: I have heard a lot about bone broth. Is it really that much better than regular soup stock?
Dear Member: Although there is little scientific evidence to support the health benefits of bone broth, it does not discredit hundreds of years of tradition. What bone broth provides in nutritional quality far outweighs any regular packaged chicken or beef broth found in stores today. It is rich in collagen and an easy-to-absorb protein source, that along with adequate vitamin C, supports joint health and skin, hair, and nail growth. Also, the minerals and vitamins leached from the bones and veggies into the broth makes this an easy to digest and nourishing food, especially during times of heightened stress.
Per the USDA Nutrient Database, one cup of homemade chicken bone broth contains about 90 calories, 6g of protein, 3g of fat, 9g of carbohydrates and some minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and sodium.
If someone cannot tolerate solid foods or is feeling under the weather, nauseous, and fatigued, broth can be very soothing and light enough for the digestive track to manage. However, even if you are not feeling sick, bone broth adds a lot of flavor and nutrition to simple soups and stews.
To make a delicious bone broth, all you need is time—not only for flavor, but also for heightening the medicinal quality of the broth. The longer the bones simmer, the more minerals are transferred to the broth, and the more nutrient dense the broth becomes. If you add a few staple vegetables, the nutritional value increases even further. Even a novice cook can make an excellent broth if the traditional methods are followed.
How to use bone broth? Sip between meals for a savory protein rich beverage, add into soups for heightened flavor and nutrition, mix into sauces or gravies, braise veggies or meats in broth, or freeze for later use.
Are you vegan or vegetarian? Making a slow simmered veggie broth can be just as nourishing. However, you may want to add additional veggies such as leeks, tomatoes, and mushrooms for added flavor, and olive oil to absorb the fat soluble vitamins. Just keep in mind that the protein content will be much lower and you may want to add beans to your final veggie soup.
See Selva's recipe for Easy Slow-Cooker Bone Broth.
Note: If making bone broth at home seems like too much work, the Co-op offers a variety of packaged collagen-rich bone broths from Kettle & Fire and Pacific Foods, and frozen chicken and beef broth by Bonafide Provisions.