The broth also contains minerals necessary for good health as well as other nutrients. Here's how to make your own.

Chock Full of Nutrients

Simmering bones in water containing a little vinegar helps release nutrients from the marrow inside. It also breaks down other tissues and releases their nutrients into the water. The result is a flavorful, nutritious broth. Bones are rich in vitamins and other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.

Brewing connective tissues releases the natural compounds in the cartilage. Tissues and bones also contain collagen. Cooking collagen turns it into a gelatin that can provide the body with amino acids, the building blocks for proteins.

bone broth in a bowl

(Hannes Grobe / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

It's not possible to say how much of any nutrient is present in a batch of bone broth. This depends on the type and quantity of the bones and tissues used. Including several different kinds of bones in a broth will increase the variety and amount of nutrients.

Marrow is rich in iron, vitamins A and K, fatty acids, manganese, zinc and selenium and provides them in a form that's easier to digest. Add vegetables and other ingredients for an additional nutrition boost.

Best Bones For Broth

The best bone broth uses a mix of different bones, such as large, nutrient-dense beef or pork bones as well as some small scraps of meat, meaty short ribs, oxtails, knuckle, and neck bones. Knuckle and neck bones contain a large amount of collagen that gives broth a rich, savory umami flavor.

You can use bones and meaty cuts from other animals as well. Toss in a ham bone or shank, leftover turkey bones, chicken feet, or whatever you prefer.

various meaty bones in a roasting pan

Chicken feet produce a beautiful golden broth rich in all the lesser-known nutrients that make bone broth so nourishing: glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and trace minerals. The skin must be peeled before use. Scald feet in boiling water 20-30 seconds. If boiled too long, the skin will stick to the muscle. Pour feet into a pan of ice water. Peel.

peeling skin on a chicken foot

Gelatin For Joint Health

Bone broth also contains gelatin that breaks down into collagen in the body and is especially beneficial for joints. Joint cartilage shrinks and wears down from constant use over time, resulting in stress on joints and possible damage.

A review in the journal, Sports Medicine, suggests that increased amounts of collagen in the tissues can help protect joints from unnecessary stress. Consuming bone broth is a way to add gelatin to your diet and help protect against osteoarthritis. Studies have also looked at the effects of collagen in people with osteoarthritis of the knees. Results show collagen can improve knee joint pain, stiffness, and poor function.

pouring broth over cooked fish with vegetables

(Olaf.herfurth / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

A Caveat or Two

After cooling, your broth should resemble jello. This means you’ve successfully extracted the gelatin, or cooked collagen, from the bones and parts. However, this also makes bone broth bad for people who are sensitive to glutamates, especially children.

Cooking bone broth can stink. To eliminate an unpleasant smell, first roast the bones in the oven and simmer together with some carrots, celery and onions. Fatty bones tend to smell worse than other bones. Also, fresh garlic cooked for a long time in a crockpot can develop an unpleasant taste.

May Improve Digestion And Promote Better Sleep

Some amino acids in bone broth may also aid digestion and could help with conditions like irritated mucosal linings in the intestines that are thought to interfere with the body’s ability to digest food.

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) tend to have lower levels of some amino acids in their bodies. For those people, additional amino acids may help some symptoms of IBD. Drinking bone broth provides a simple way to get them into the diet.

The amino acids in bone broth can also promote better sleep due to the increased amount of glycine present in the broth.

broth with shrimp and chives

Bone Broth And Weight Loss

Bone broth is high in protein that helps the body feel fuller longer. A 2017 study in the Journal of Renal Nutrition noted that the average cup of chicken bone broth contains more protein than either the average cup of regular chicken broth or boullion.

Drinking bone broth or using it as a base for soup provides a way to add more protein to your diet, helping you feel more satisfied after a meal without consuming additional calories.

Stovetop, Crockpot, or Instant Pot

instant pot

(Above photo: Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Take your pick. An Instant Pot is great for making bone broth quickly, but it's not necessary to buy one. Nutritious broth can also be made on the stove top or in a slow cooker.

decorative stockpot

Simple Bone Broth

An easy way to make bone broth is to save bones until you have enough for a broth. You can also use a chicken carcass complete with feet and claws. Many butchers, ethic markets, and grocery store meat sections sell bones. Add salt, vegetables, and spices like sage or thyme for additional flavor.

1 gallon water

1 ounce vinegar

3–4 pounds of bones and tissues

Boil the ingredients together in a large pot or slow cooker. Reduce heat and simmer for 10–24 hours. Cool, strain, and pour into smaller containers to store.

Bone broth will keep in the refrigerator 4-5 days in an air-tight container. Broth stored in jars or bags can be kept in the freezer for 4-6 months.

If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it will improve flavor to first roast them in the oven. Place bones in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350°F

broth in a bowl with seasonings