October 06, 2020 4 min read
You’re probably familiar with bone broth as good for your own health. But it’s time to take a second look at this not-so-new superfood, because it has benefits for the whole family - even your little one!
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is made from animal bones and connective tissue that have been simmered with herbs, vegetables, and spices. Bone broth is made by simmering these simple whole ingredients in water for 12 to 24 hours or for two hours in a pressure cooker, which allows minerals and other nutrients to leach from the bones into the water. The result - a deliciously nourishing nutrient-packed broth.
Back to our roots
While bone broth has quickly risen in popularity in recent years and might seem like a relatively new addition to the health and wellness world, it has actually been around for thousands of years. Bone broth has roots in traditional cultures from all around the world. After all, our ancestors ate nose to tail and making bone broth was one way of ensuring that they didn’t waste any part of an animal.
Why is it so beneficial
While the exact nutritional content of bone broth varies based on the type of bones used and time and method of cooking, bone broth is loaded with a wide variety of minerals and amino acids that benefit the entire body.
Bone broth generally contains calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. It also contains 17 different amino acids, many of which are present as proteins like collagen and gelatin. These components help to support the health of your gut, skin, heart, metabolism, brain, mood, and immunity.
Can growing baby benefit too?
We’ve heard it's great for our own health, but bone broth is also an intensely nourishing food for the quickly developing bodies and bellies of our little ones. Here’s how bone broth can benefit babies:
When can I start?
Bone broth can be given in small amounts as soon as your baby has been introduced to solids. Just remember, if baby is under a year, the goal isn't to replace breast milk or formula with broth, rather to offer it as an addition to breast milk and solid foods.
Also note that bone broth is high in histamine, so if your babe struggles to break down histamine (as evidenced by eczema, runny nose, flushed skin, vomiting, or other reactions) you may consider limiting exposure or adding in other foods or probiotics to support the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) that assists in the breakdown of histamine.
How do I make it?
Bone broth is actually quite simple to make. It requires a lot of time, but that time is almost entirely hands off - just throw everything in a pot and wait for the magic to happen! See our favorite recipe from Elana's Pantry here!
The quality of the bones is key. Bones from an animal who spent its life on a crowded factory farm and veggies sprayed with pesticides won’t result in as nutritious of a broth compared to bones of an animal raised on pasture. You can mail order organic pasture raised bones from Belcampo, or find them are your local farmer's market.
There are some very high quality store bought brands available either as shelf stable, refrigerated, or frozen. Serenity and Joe like to use Belcampo, Bare Bones, and Bonafide Provisions. Serenity blends her homemade (or store-bought) bone broth with liver for an added nutritional boost.
And of course, the Serenity Kids new Toddler Purees with Bone Broth are a great intro to this ancient superfood. The purees combine organic veggies, ethical meats and nutrient-rich bone broth into a shelf-stable pouch. Try them today!
Battersby, Anna J, and Deena L Gibbons. “The gut mucosal immune system in the neonatal period.” Pediatric allergy and immunology : official publication of the European Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology vol. 24,5 (2013): 414-21. doi:10.1111/pai.12079
Gundersen, R Y et al. “Glycine--an important neurotransmitter and cytoprotective agent.” Acta anaesthesiologica Scandinavica vol. 49,8 (2005): 1108-16. doi:10.1111/j.1399-6576.2005.00786.x
Kresser, Chris. “Bone Broth Benefits: Everything You Need to Know.” Chris Kresser, 16 Aug. 2019, chriskresser.com/the-bountiful-benefits-of-bone-broth-a-comprehensive-guide/.
Raetz, Christian R. H., and Chris Whitfield. “Lipopolysaccharide Endotoxins.” Annual Reviews, July 2002, www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.biochem.71.110601.135414.
Wang, B., Wu, G., Zhou, Z. et al. Glutamine and intestinal barrier function. Amino Acids 47, 2143–2154 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-014-1773-4
Hillary Bennetts is the founder and owner of Purposeful Plate Nutrition. A member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, she provides nutrition consulting services to individuals and businesses. Hillary holds a BA in Economics from Washington and Jefferson College, an MBA from Emory University, and an NC from Bauman College. A marathoner, mountain climber, and mama, she lives in Colorado with her husband, son, and golden retriever.
Stay connected to Hillary on Instagram and grab the free smart snacking guide for mamas on her website.
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