Why Bone Broth is The Beauty Drink (and How We Make It)
Bone broth. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of beauty, but it is in fact quite the elixir! It’s made by extracting the rich nutrients available in animal bones, which are well absorbed and utilised by our bodies. And as un-sexy as bone broth may sound, hear me out – the high collagen content of bone broth has the power to transform skin quality, strengthen hair and nails and even improve cellulite!
The Beauty Benefits
The nourishing properties of bone broth aren’t a new discovery by any means – broth has been used in traditional cultures for hundreds of years, but is now making its big comeback with the Paleo diet (hooray!).
Slow cooking bones and the surrounding cartilage and ligaments releases essential minerals, amino acids and other healing compounds that our bodies can absorb easily (and much more readily than expensive supplements!). These include:
- Magnesium: an essential mineral used in upwards of 300 chemical reactions in the body
- Phosphorus: an essential mineral used in healthy bone formation, improved digestion, hormone balance, cell repair (and more!)
- Silicon: a compound that improves bone health and works to strengthen collagen, for improved hair, nails and skin
- Sulphur: a mineral required for the synthesis of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant (and more!)
- Collagen: a protein that forms the foundation of connective tissue, ensuring the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of skin
- Proline: an amino acid that helps regenerate cartilage, and increases skin suppleness
- Glycine: an amino acid that helps prevent breakdown of muscle and assists with detoxification
- Glutamine: an amino acid that improves gut health and muscle building.
It’s not hard to see how bone broth impacts how our bodies look – after all, a healthy body is a beautiful body!
Still not sure? Here’s the kicker – the high collagen content in bone broth is where you’ll see the most beauty benefits. Collagen is closely involved in our skin’s elasticity and flexibility, as it forms around 70% of the protein that makes up our skin. We know that maintaining optimal collagen levels is the key to smooth, supple skin – and while many expensive creams contain collagen, it won’t do much good when applied externally. But taking collagen internally provides our body with the building blocks it needs go build great skin from the inside out.
Related: How To Get Clearer Skin, Naturally
Consuming collagen rich foods like bone broth has also been linked to reducing cellulite (yes please!) – the most stubborn of skin complaints. This is because cellulite is exacerbated by a lack of connective tissue, which can be greatly improved by increasing collagen in the diet.
Not all broths are created equal when it comes to collagen content. A collagen-rich broth will have wobbly, jelly quality to it (since collagen breaks down into gelatin). Achieving this quality of broth is all in the selection of bones, and the preparation – so let’s learn how!
How to Make A Beautiful Broth
Making bone broth takes some time – but don’t worry, it’s easy!
First you want to start with sourcing 1 – 2 kilos (roughly 2 – 4 pounds) of good quality bones. Typically, we like to use beef bones however you can use other bones such as pork, venison, chicken or even fish. The quality of the bones you choose will make all the difference to your broth – in particular its gelatin content. So if at all possible, make sure to use bones from grass fed and organically raised animals. Often the best way to find these will be at your local farmers market.
Achieving a beautiful gelatinous, jiggly broth also depends on the types of bones you use. Joint bones (such as knee and knuckle) are rich in collagen, which breaks down into gelatin during the cooking process. You also want your broth to be high in essential minerals, which is why its great to also use marrow bones (such as shank or rib bones).
Once you have your bones, you will need:
- A big pot, crock pot or pressure cooker
- 2L of filtered water
- 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 2 onions (quartered)
- 2 carrots (cut into chunks)
- 1 celery or leak stalk (whichever you prefer!)
- 1 tablespoon of salt (we recommend a good quality Himalayan or Celtic sea salt)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns (whatever type you have to hand!)
- Your favourite herbs (be creative!).
Prep (Optional): To help extract the most nutrients out of the bones, pre-heat your oven to 180ºC and cook them in a roasting tray for about half an hour.
1. Put water and apple cider vinegar into your pot, and add the bones. Before adding any heat, its good to let the bones sit for about 30 minutes, as the apple cider vinegar helps to release their nutrients.
2. Bring the pot to the boil for a couple of minutes. If you notice any grey foam rise to the top, skim this off with a spoon.
3. Turn the heat back down to a simmer, and add salt, pepper and your veggies (except for the garlic).
4. The easy part! Leave your broth at a low simmer for the next 10 or so hours. If you have a pressure cooker, you can reduce this down to just a couple of hours. It’s good to check the broth occasionally for any more greyish impurities rising to the top and scoop these out, but thats about it.
5. Add the garlic and herbs, and continue to simmer the broth for 1 – 2 hours. There are so many herbs you can use – some great ones are thyme, bayleaf and parsley.
6. Remove the bones with tongs, and strain the contents of you pot into a large bowl or container you can fit in the fridge. Cool the broth in the fridge until the fat solidifies at the top.
7. Chip away the fat to reveal your broth! Hopefully it’s looking like a big jelly. Note you can either keep the removed fat for cooking other dishes or throw away if you prefer. Put a few big spoonfuls of the broth into a smaller glass container that you can keep in the fridge and consume over the next couple of days. For the rest – we like to reheat it to a liquid and freeze in ice cube trays for later.
Now, the best way to enjoy your broth is to add about a tablespoon to a mug and add hot water, a little salt, and a slice of lemon. It should taste like a rich, comforting soup – yum!
Have you tried making bone broth? What benefits did you notice?