By English Taylor
Springtime showers have us cozying up on the couch rather than outside enjoying the tulips and daffodils. But to celebrate the new season (despite the dreary weather), we’ve switched up our beverage of choice for living room lounging. We’re sipping bone broth to help us warm up to the fact that sunny days aren’t quite here yet. Bone broth is a buzz-worthy beverage that seems to be popping up in more grocery stores and refrigerators across the country, even though it’s been around for centuries.
Wait, what the heck is bone broth?
According to popular bone broth retailer Kettle & Fire, “Bone broth is made from animal bones and connective tissue—typically cattle, chicken, or fish—that have been boiled into a broth and slow simmered for 10 to more than 20 hours with herbs, vegetables, and spices.” The bones, vegetables, and spices are typically boiled in a liquid made from vinegar and water. After simmering for the required amount of time, the remaining bones and vegetables are strained, leaving only the flavorful broth.
Despite the name “bone broth,” it’s different from your regular ole stock or broth. While bone broth, stock, and broth are often all made with animal bones with a small amount of meat on them, the main difference is the amount of time the bones simmer. Broths and stocks are typically boiled anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours, but bone broth requires much more time. Popular blogger Wellness Mama explains that this increased cooking time ensures the nutrients are extracted from the bones and absorbed into the broth.
Speaking of nutrients, here are a few health benefits to adding bone broth to your diet.
An achy joint cure
Glucosamine, an amino acid found in bone broth, is frequently used in supplement form to improve joint health and treat conditions like osteoarthritis. This 2016 study, for example, showed that glucosamine helped reduce knee pain, stiffness, functional limitation, and swelling in the research participants. Sipping bone broth on a regular basis will ensure you’re getting plenty of glucosamine to keep your knees, shoulders, and hips in tip-top shape, whether you’re stretching into downward dog, chasing a toddler around the house, training for an upcoming race, or strolling around the neighborhood.
A boost of energy
Bone broth also contains glycine, an amino acid that can help improve daytime functioning for individuals who struggle with insomnia. Researchers evaluated the effects of glycine on daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and performance in sleep-restricted individuals (AKA most new parents and plenty of hardworking corporate employees). Participants were asked to restrict their sleep time to 25 percent less than usual for three nights in a row. Before bedtime, they were either given glycine or a placebo supplement. The next day, their sleepiness and fatigue levels were assessed through both a questionnaire and computer performance test. The scientists discovered that those given glycine indicated a significant reduction in fatigue in the questionnaire and performed better on the test compared to the placebo group. The next time you experience that afternoon slump, why not warm up some bone brone instead of turning on the coffee machine?
Healthy, smooth skin
Collagen is also found in bone broth. This nutrient is shown to have beneficial effects on skin health and can even reduce the signs of natural aging. In this 2012 study, 69 women between the ages of 35 and 55 were asked to take a collagen peptides or a placebo supplement each day for eight weeks. At the end of the study, skin elasticity for the collagen peptide group showed significant improvement compared to the other group. Consider making bone broth a part of your beauty routine (though we definitely recommend storing it in the refrigerator rather than your medicine cabinet).
Where can I get my hands on some?
We recently spotted bottles of premade bone broth at our local Whole Foods and Safeway grocery stores. You can also order it online through retailers like Kettle & Fire, The Osso Good Co., or Bare Bones. Online marketplaces like Amazon and Thrive Market have a wide variety of brands to choose from at great prices, too. Of course, you can always go the DIY route and make bone broth from the comfort of your own kitchen. Some of our favorite recipes are from Wellness Mama, Bon Appetit, and The Kitchn. In addition to drinking bone broth as a beverage straight from a container or mug, it can also make a hearty base for soups and sauces.
No matter how you choose to purchase or enjoy, we hope this beverage warms you to the bones (pun intended) during this rainy time of year. Hey, maybe the collagen will even get our skin prepped for bathing suit and shorts season. So, grab a mug of bone broth—we’re “cheersing” you all the way from Chico.