4 Benefits Of Bone Broth On Immune Function (+Easy Recipe)
There is no shortage of trendy new health foods, all of which claim to provide immense health benefits. From lemon water cleanses to the keto diet, health enthusiasts claim that the latest and greatest health food trends trump all the ones that have come before them. One such trend that you may have seen floating around is bone broth. People hail this type of broth for its ability to heal from the inside out – but what is bone broth, exactly? And can it improve your overall health or immunity? Read on to learn about the benefits of bone broth on immune function, as well as how to make your own.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is made from boiling animal bones and connective tissues such as cartilage and tendons. Bone broth has been used for centuries in many foods such as soups, sauces, and gravies.
It wasn't until recently that people started to hail bone broth as a health drink on its own. As the bones and other animal tissues boil, their nutrients seep into the broth. You can then drink the liquid to reap the health benefits of the parts of animals that you can't eat.
Why is bone broth so healing?
Bone broth is healing for a variety of reasons. The first is its available nutrient content. Animal bones contain high amounts of essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Connective tissues and bone marrow also offer a high nutrient content, containing glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamins A and K2, zinc, iron, boron, selenium, collagen, and omega-3s.
Because of this high nutrient content, there are several health benefits of drinking bone broth.
1. Better digestive health
Bone broth is easy to digest, and it's thought that it can also help the body digest other foods you eat. Because of this, drinking bone broth regularly can help improve your overall digestion and the health of your digestive tract.
Research has found that bone broth can:
- Provide healing and protection to the digestive tract's mucosal lining
- Maintain intestinal wall function, which in turn could heal or prevent leaky gut
These effects are essential for immune function because the immune system relies heavily on the gut and digestive tract health to do its job correctly.
2. Fights inflammation
Inflammation is a reaction designed to help the immune system fight off pathogens. In small amounts, inflammation is actually a good thing. However, chronic inflammation that does not go away can hinder the immune system's ability to perform as it should.
Certain amino acids found in bone broth can ease chronic inflammation because of their anti-inflammatory properties. One specific amino acid, arginine, can improve inflammation drastically. When chronic inflammation lowers, the immune system can function as it should.
3. Can aid in weight loss or management
Weight and the immune system go hand in hand. People who are obese tend to have a weakened immune system; their bodies are less able to fight off infections when compared to people who are of a healthy weight.
If you want to lose weight or manage it to improve overall health and immunity, drinking bone broth can be an excellent addition to your diet. Bone broth is low in calories and high in nutrients, and can help reduce an overactive appetite.
4. Improves sleep quality
Sleep quality is vital to overall health. The amount of sleep a person gets is crucial to the immune system’s overall function. When the body is at rest, the immune system begins to release and produce specific proteins known as cytokines that help fight off infection. When the body doesn't get enough sleep, the production of cytokines decreases, which hurts overall immunity.
Bone broth nutrients can aid sleep by helping the body and brain relax. One specific nutrient is an amino acid known as glycine. This amino acid is scientifically proven to promote good quality sleep in people who consume enough of it regularly. People who take glycine can fall asleep faster, get deeper sleep, and wake up less often during the nighttime hours.
Does bone broth strengthen the immune system?
It's safe to say that the immune system can significantly benefit from regular consumption of bone broth. To recap, bone broth helps the immune system by:
- Reducing inflammation
- Providing much-needed nutrients
- Improving digestive health
- Improving sleep quality
- Helping maintain a healthy weight
Bone broth for the immune system recipe
If you want to dive into the bone broth craze to improve your health and immune function, you can start by making your own. While you can purchase bone broth, it's often better to make it at home because it’s easy, and you always know exactly what you're getting.
You can get bones and animal carcasses to use in bone broth by saving the parts of animal products you usually discard. You can also go to your local butcher or farmer's market if you don't often purchase bone-in meat.
To make bone broth at home, follow this recipe:
- 4 liters of water
- 30 mL of apple cider vinegar
- At least 2 and as many as 4 pounds of animal bones
- Salt and pepper
- Put all ingredients into a slow cooker or large pot
- Bring everything to a rolling boil
- Reduce the heat until it is simmering
- Leave on simmer for at least 12–24 hours
Once the bone broth has finished and cooled, you can strain it into a container. When you're ready to enjoy it, heat it up in servings. If you want more flavor, don't be afraid to add vegetables or spices such as onion or garlic.
Bone broth is an easy-to-make and even easier-to-consume addition to any healthy diet, so give it a try today!