This post about the benefits of bone broth for gut health contains affiliate links. It was last updated March 2020. Please see my disclosures.
As someone with celiac disease, I know that gut health means good health.
Without a healthy gut, your digestive system erodes, and without a fully-functioning digestive system, your body can’t get the nutrients it needs to fuel every cell in your body. Everything just starts to fall apart, slowly but surely.
In the days, weeks, months, and years following my celiac disease diagnosis, I worked hard – every day – to rebuild my digestive system and gut health.
One of the ways I did that was by sipping on bone broth.
I found there to be many benefits to bone broths, and in this post, I’d like to share those benefits with you.
Please note, however, that there is not a lot of scientific evidence related to whether or not bone broth is good for you. This article simply provides you with an understanding of some of the purported benefits, and how such benefits might aid your personal health and wellness journey. Please discuss any concerns with your trusted health advisors.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The benefits of bone broth, particularly for someone with a compromised digestive system (IBS, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, colitis, Crohn’s, etc.)
- My delicious bone broth recipe, which will please a crowd, and your tummy!
The Benefits of Bone Broth
As mentioned, bone broth offers many benefits that can help you relieve the digestive distress related to a slew of digestive disorders: celiac disease, gluten intolerance, IBS and more.
Here are just a few of the purported benefits of bone broth, and why you might want to consider adding bone broth to your daily routine.
(1) Bone Broths Enables You to Rest Your Digestive System
When your digestive system is compromised, the last thing you want to do is eat highly inflammatory or hard-to-digest foods. Rather, a sensitive digestive system is best served with easily digested foods and liquids.
Bone broth delivers a nutrient-dense cocktail all while not requiring your digestive system to lift a finger.
In fact, your tummy doesn’t have to ignite your digestive juices in order to soak in all the nutrients from a well-made, highly-nourishing bone broth.
Think of it this way. If you break a bone in your leg, you rest your leg, right? You don’t go for a run or even walk your dog. You stay off your leg and let it heal.
The same can be said when it comes to “breaking” your digestive system. (OK, you can’t really break your digestive system, but go with me on this…)
We have to eat to survive, but there are ways to soak in tons of nutrients without having to fire up your digestive juices. You can, in a sense, stay “off” of your digestive tract to enable it to heal.
I also found sipping on green juices, in addition to bone broths, helped me to “rest” my broken digestive system and accelerate healing. You can see my 10 Amazing Juice Recipes and take my 10-Day Juicing Challenge.
(2) Bone Broth is Nutrient Dense
Most people with unmanaged celiac disease are nutrient deprived. In fact, many symptoms of celiac disease are connected to a nutrient deficiency. Bone broths can quickly help to replenish that once depleted nutrient tank.
Bone broth is rich in the vitamins and minerals your body needs and can easily absorb such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s also a great source of protein, offering 19 easily absorbed essential and non-essential amino acids.
(3) Bone Broth Soothes the Gut and Reduces Inflammation
Bone broth contains an amino acid called glutamine, which is said to play a key role in maintaining the integrity of your gut’s intestinal barrier.
In people with celiac disease, the gut lining is damaged and “leaky.” A way to accelerate the healing of the gut lining could be to increase glutamine consumption.
Studies have shown that subjects with low glutamine levels have increased risk of intestinal permeability, while those with higher or sufficient glutamine levels experience improved gut barrier function.
Bone broth also contains collagen, which can help strengthen, repair, and rebuild the intestinal wall and deter leaky gut.
(4) Bone Broth Can Help Flush Out Accidental Gluten Exposure
Another important role bone broth can play is in times of when you accidentally eat gluten. When your stomach is inflamed, and you’re plagued by diarrhea or vomiting, bone broth can (1) soothe the inflammatory fire inside of your digestive system, (2) help flush out the gluten and other toxins or irritants, (3) replenish and rehydrate your body, and (4) encourage your tummy to rest while still being nourished.
You can read more about what to do in case you accidentally eat gluten in this article. I also recommend this article, Crap, I Was Glutened! How Long Does It Take Gluten to Get Out of Your System?
(5) Bone Broth Can Help Reduce Acne (maybe)
While there is no clinical evidence suggesting that bone broth improves or clears up acne, it does contain collagen, which is good for the skin. This might be why many people (including this person and this person swear bone broth helped clear up their acne-prone skin.
How Did Bone Broth Benefit Me?
I’ve been on a forever journey to heal my body and stay healthy. With all the hype surrounding bone broth, I knew it was a low risk experiment to try, and the worse that could happen is nothing.
At the time I did this experiment, I had experienced a few health challenges, mainly because my hormones were out of whack. I quit the birth control pill after 20 years of being on it, and after about five years into my celiac disease journey.
When I quit the pill, my body went into full-on crazy mode.
I had acne like a 14-year-old girl, and my hair began to thin and fall out. I was also very tired and sluggish.
My doctor didn’t have any suggestions for me (all my thyroid tests were normal), so she said I just had to wait it out until my hormones regulated.
I’m never one to do nothing and “wait it out,” so I decided to turn to some holistic measures by sipping on a cup of bone broth daily in hopes of nourishing my body and helping it get through this tumultuous hormonal change.
With time, my skin started to clear and hair began to grow back. I started to feel better. I don’t know that the bone broth impacted my health per se, but it definitely didn’t hurt it. I honestly think, time, with a little extra TLC, helped me get through this hormonal hump.
Sipping on bone broth filled me up so much that I found myself skipping meals or snacks, so I lost a few pounds in the process. I also can’t help but wonder if the weight loss could also be tied to reduced inflammation in my body.
My Bone Broth Recipe
If you want to make bone broth yourself – perhaps to help you nourish your body or maybe to give you an instant immunity boost (there’s nothing like good old fashioned chicken soup to help you kick that cold) – try the bone broth recipe I adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
The recipe is easy to make once you get the hang of it, and I have no doubt it will soon become a staple in your holistic health regimen.
Here are a few tips to making sure your bone broth turns out just right:
(1) Use every part of the animal you can get your hands on including the bones, marrow, skin, feet, organs, neck, head, etc.
Ask your butcher to help you cut up the chicken into 8 parts (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings and 2 legs) plus the neck, giblets (organs) and feet (optional, if possible).
Tip! At Whole Foods you can buy organic chicken backbones and neckbone for really cheap. I now make my broth solely with back and neck bones.
(2) Use only organic bones to make your broth.
When making my healing bone broth recipe, I like to use healthy vs. “sick” animal parts. If you want to achieve good health, only consume healthy, organic animal products.
(3) Simmer the broth for 8-24 hours (the longer the better).
You’ll want to simmer your broth for 8-24 hours to ensure the bones and ligaments release all the healing compounds needed to transform your health.
My husband bought me a 16-quart All Clad stockpot to help me make big batches of bone broth at one time. I love my stockpot and highly recommend getting a good quality, sturdy stock pot if you’re going to make bone broth often.
Don’t worry about it simmering all night long. Keep is on a rolling boiled, covered, and there is no worries of you burning down the house.
(4) Store the finished bone broth product in pre-measured containers or zip-top storage bags.
You may want to use your bone broth in a soup or rice recipe that calls for two cups of broth, so pre-measuring the broth before freezer storage is helpful.
I personally like to store bone broth in both zip top storage bags or these plastic soup containers. I also save soup containers from Chinese takeout for storing bone broth.
The Final Word on the Benefits of Bone Broth
While I can’t say for sure bone broth is the cure all for acne or hair loss, or for anyone healing from a digestive disorder like celiac disease, I can say, for sure, is that it makes me feel good from the inside out. In other words, why not?
Gluten-Free Bone Broth
- 2-3 lbs. chicken bones (backbone, neckbone, wings, legs, etc.)
- Gizzards from one chicken (optional)
- Feet from chicken (optional)
- About 4 quarts cold filtered water
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, leave peels on and coarsely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2-inch ginger or tumeric root (optional)
- Sea salt or Kosher salt to taste
- Cut chicken into several parts (ask butcher to cut a whole chicken into 8 parts + neck, gizzards and feet – if possible).
- Place boney chicken pieces in large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley.
- Bring mixture to a boil and remove scum that rises to the top.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8-24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. Remember to simmer your broth – it should always be at a rolling boil.
- About 1 hour before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions into the broth.
- Remove large chicken pieces with a slotted spoon (if there is meat on the bone, remove and use the meat for other dishes).
- Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until fat rises to the top and congeals – usually overnight.
- Skim off the fat (and discard) and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.