You can almost sense the healing as you drink a cup of rich bone broth. It radiates comfort, but there are actual benefits for your body as well. I was introduced to this by a friend I made at a race-walking clinic who turned out to be the Head of Urology at a local teaching hospital. He suggested eating Jello everyday because joints must have the gelatin components to respond to stress and wear. He explained that only gelatin provided the nutrients for joint repair and that without it, your joints simply wore out. Of course eating ox tail stew or other recipes made with bones and marrow regularly would also be a source, but these are not everyday meals. Bone broth is a simple way to ensure the health of your joints without the sugar and flavorings of Jello snacks.
A recent Washington Post article detailed how Kobe Bryant was drinking bone broth daily to help heal an ankle injury. It seems that the team nutritionist added it to the training table menu and the chef makes it daily. The 36 year old NBA star's name in the headline may have been the attention grabber but the article is filled with comments from health advocates such as Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel, co-authors of Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for a Modern World and both officers of the Weston-Price Foundation. (They'll be subjects of another blog, I promise.) “The first thing you're going to get in genuine bone broth — which is made from cartilaginous bones — is components of cartilage,” [Fallon] told The Post. “The broth helps the body make cartilage, which we have throughout our body and not just in our bones and joints, but in our eyes, under the skin and lining the intestinal tract.” Daniel pointed out that articles about bone broth tend to overemphasize its novelty and under-emphasize its long history.
Which speaks to my point. Bone broth has a long history of being a healing food. As we re-think our culture of consumerism and begin to turn to more thoughtful, conscious means of sustenance, let's not forget that traditions endure for reasons. They endure because they bring structure and meaning to our lives. And in the case of bone broth, verifiable health. There are pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories, and our belief in the power of modern medicine has made it a habit to turn to these, ignoring side effects until we cannot. Consider instead an alternative with a powerful tradition but no budget for a 30-second spots on television or magazine ads. Consider establishing your own ritual for the sake of health by making time in your day for a cup of bone broth: immediate comfort and long term benefits.
- Washington Post: 01.22.2015; How bone broth became Kobe Bryant's secret Stone Age weapon by Henley, Peter.
- There is real science on the benefits of chicken soup, from the University of Nebraska no less. (Full Disclosure: The author is from Nebraska but lived in Washington, DC during the time this paper was first presented and later published in the journal, CHEST.) Dr. Stephen Rennard conducted the original research using three batches of soup cooked by his wife using "Grandma's Recipe." No surprise, he found that the soup had anti-inflammatory qualities. You can read the paper here for his account of the chemistry. His grandmother never doubted it.