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Bone Broth: love it or hate it?



We all know that chicken soup is good for the soul and for getting over those colds and chest infections. Even the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey agreed that ‘every good lady’s maid should know how to make a restorative broth.’ I completely agree that a restorative broth is so important!

In fact, that is what I use the left-over carcass for after I make a roast dinner. It is great to know that after we have eaten a wonderful Sunday lunch, my slow-cooker will be making bone broth as we sleep that night! The following day, I store the broth or use it to make delicious soups and stews.

What is the difference between stock and bone broth?

Both stock and broth are made from animal carcasses, but where bones are simmered for a couple of hours to make stock, bone broth requires a much longer process. For broth, bones are slowly simmered for a long period of time, releasing the collagen, bone marrow, amino acids, and minerals leach into the water. Collagen, which is often described as the glue that holds the body together, breaks down into gelatine and gives the broth a jelly-like consistency.

When making bone broth, the goal is to make gelatinous broth, which retains collagen fibres and sets solid in the fridge. The best bones to use are those with lots of cartilage, such as short ribs or shanks, knuckle bones, pig trotters, or a whole chicken carcass including skin. I often add a pig’s ear, and use chicken feet and wings and necks.

The resulting broth is nutrient dense and easy to digest, containing minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

What are the benefits of bone broth?

Bone broth is restorative in so many ways. It can:

  • Promote healthy digestion. Interestingly, bone broth is high in an amino acid called glutamine which helps to seal and heal leaky gut,
  • Reduce joint pain and inflammation, while promoting strong bones and healthy joints,
  • Inhibit infection, reduce inflammation and support the immune system,
  • Improve skin, hair and nails,
  • Rid the body of parasites and pathogenic bacteria, and
  • Improve quality of sleep and boost energy.

The best source of information on the health-giving properties of bone broth is Weston A Price. This article is full of great information. You can also read about the benefits of bone broth here.

The best book on broth is By Sally Fallon Morrell with Kaayla T Daniel. The book is called Nourishing Broth and is not just a cookbook! It also explains how to recover from symptoms of autoimmune disorders, infectious conditions, digestive problems and other chronic ailments including psoriasis! I can’t recommend it highly enough.

If you don’t want to bother making broth, it is available from Pipers Farm and other sellers either online or at your local health food shop. Alternatively, they can add this virtually tasteless powder to drinks.


Top Tips: Don’t forget your vegetables and only use organic bones!

Bone broth gets most of its nutrients and minerals from the bones, but don’t forget the vegetables! Research shows that adding vegetables to broth increases the content of important nutrients including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. You can read more in the 1934 study listed below.

Remember, there are also vegetarian and vegan broths which are flavoursome and healthy! You can try adding seaweed, mushrooms, miso, cabbage, kale and other vegetables to your broth instead of bones. And remember that a diet rich in leafy green vegetables can give you as much protein and calcium as bone broth!

You must also make sure you only use bones from organic, free-range animals – not just any bones from the local supermarket. The reason for this is that lead and other heavy metals build up in bones and can leach into the broth when the bones are simmering. You can read more in the 2017 study listed below.

Make sure you simmer your bones for the correct time – too little time and it won’t have enough nutrients and if you leave it simmering for too long you will be in danger of having high lead concentrates in your broth. The idea time is between 12 and 24 hours – not longer than 24 hours.

Finally, if you have a problem with histamine (if you suffer from hives or itching) then you should avoid bone broth because the longer the bones are cooked, the more histamine is released. You can talk to me if you suspect you may have this problem.

You can find my recipe for bone broth here. Enjoy!


Emma Maitland-Carew – Registered Nutritional Therapist

Dip.ION, mBANT, CHNC Registered Practitioner,

Metabolic Balance® Coach, HeartMath Coach.




McCance RA, Sheldon W, Widdowson EM. Bone and vegetable broth. Arch Dis Child. 1934 Aug;9(52):251-8.

Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7.

Monro JA, Leon R, Puri BK. The risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets. Med Hypotheses. 2013 Apr;80(4):389-90.

Hsu DJ, Lee CW, Tsai WC, Chien YC. Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths. Food Nutr Res. 2017 Jul 18;61(1):1347478.


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