Health & Wellness

Nutritionally Speaking – Broth: A bounty of benefits

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Regular readers know that I. Love. Broth. I especially enjoy broth this time of year … yes our free range Thanksgiving turkey was great … but wow, the turkey bone broth we are enjoying is divine!
I’ll share the reasons we benefit from bone broth, just know it is rainy and chilly and I am sipping a hot cuppa broth as I write this.
Missing important nutrients is a common result of our on-the-go prepared-food diets. Many take all sorts of vitamins and minerals but still may not fully be meeting their nutritional needs.
Better quality mineral and vitamin supplements that you can digest and will support your general health are available in health food stores everywhere. Another (and tastier) way to get some of the minerals we need, along with electrolytes and other nutrients, is from a common staple from our grandmothers’ kitchen: bone broth or stock. The bone-building minerals in the broth are easily absorbed and are an excellent alternative to prescription medications taken for bone health and come without side effects.
Properly prepared meat stocks are nutritious, and contain minerals from bones, cartilage, marrow and vegetables in electrolyte form that is easy to assimilate. Adding acidic wine or vinegar during cooking helps draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, and gelatin, into the broth.
Dr. Francis Pottenger, researcher and author of Pottenger’s Cats, studied the benefits of gelatin in broth, and taught that the stockpot was the most important item of kitchen equipment.
Meat, poultry and fish stocks are used universally in traditional cuisines – French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern and Russian – but homemade meat broths have almost completely disappeared from the American diet.
There is a large amount of research on the beneficial effects of gelatin, which aids digestion and has been used successfully to treat many common health challenges.
Containing large amounts of the amino acids arginine (supports heart health) and glycine (helps us sleep), but not an abundance of other essential amino acids, gelatin is not a complete protein, but it acts as a protein sparer, allowing the body to more fully utilize other complete proteins in the diet.
Gelatin-rich broths are a must for those who avoid large amounts of meat in their diets. Gelatin has been used in the treatment of many chronic disorders, including anemia and other diseases of the blood, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and cancer.
Broth contains not only the components from bones, but also from connective tissues, including cartilage, a great source of the types of collagen that supports healthy skin and joint function. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from including bone broths in their diets.
Folk wisdom identifies chicken broth – the famous Jewish penicillin – as a remedy for colds and flu. Modern research confirms that broth helps prevent and mitigate infectious diseases.
The wise food provider who uses gelatin-rich broth on a frequent basis provides continuous protection from many health problems.
Fish, poultry and meat stocks, along with their many health benefits, also add immeasurably to the flavor of our food. In European cuisines, rich stocks form the basis of those exquisite, clear, thick, smooth, satisfying and beautifully flavored sauces.
The magic is in the stock, made from scratch with as much care and attention to detail as the final dish. Chilling the broth tests whether or not your stock contains liberal amounts of gelatin; when refrigerated, broth should thicken, even to the point of jelling.
Stock can be made in bulk and stored until needed. Bone broth will keep about five days in the refrigerator, longer if re-boiled, and several months in the freezer.
We store our broth in pint-sized containers, appropriate amounts for sauces and stews, and add to our pet’s foods.
In his books, and website,, author George Mateljan suggests using broth instead of fats or oils. Bones for stock are inexpensive and available from local butchers such as Long’s Meats in Eugene or Bright Oaks in Springfield.

You can reach Yaakov Levine at [email protected].



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