The wonders of broth

Food fashions may come and go, but it is some of our traditional ways of cooking that may hold the key to healthier living, discovers Tricia Wanjala

BrothSuppose I told you an ancient drink exists that can transform your life today? A tonic nicknamed ‘Jewish penicillin’, due to the benefits to the immune system? The same beverage Hollywood women are calling ‘Botox in a cup’ because of its youth-regenerating properties? Yet this drink is so cheap and easy to make, it costs just a few coins a cup. Bone broth is all that, plus more. The Chinese call it ‘longevity tea’. 12th-century Egyptian Jewish physician Moshe Ben Maimonides recommended chicken broth to his patients for respiratory tract infections. Now in the 21st century science has proved what your grandmother knew: broth is one of the most healing, nutrient-rich substances known to man. Although rare in modern western diets, bone broth continues to be a treasured staple among billions. Here is what your cup of slow-cooked broth contains:

1 Nutritional Powerhouse: Rich in electrolytes and minerals, bone broths contain bio-available iron, silica, phosphorus, sulphur and trace minerals largely deficient in our modern diets.

2 Joint support: Dr Joseph Mercola explains that broth inhibits joint pain and inflammation, courtesy of chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine and other compounds, which also improve bone density, slowing the onset of osteoporosis.

3 Digestive tonic: Bone broth contains soothing gelatine, which is a hydrophilic colloid, attracting and holding liquids essential for proper digestion. You are what you digest, not just what you eat – broth helps you better absorb all the nutrients.

4 Flu buster: The amino-acid cysteine from chicken broth thins the mucous, enabling it to be easily expelled. Bone broth hastens recovery from colds and flu. Arginine has been found to be particularly beneficial for the treatment of sepsis.

5 Auto-Immune boost: Dr Natasha Campbell- McBride, inventor of the GAPS diet, explains that gelatinous bone broth ‘heals and seals the gut’, restoring the mucosal lining. This facilitates recovery for those with Leaky Gut Syndrome, helping to resolve chronic autoimmune disorders and neurological illnesses.

6 Sleep aid: Amino-acids such as glycine, proline and arginine all combat stress and have a relaxing effect, which may help you sleep better.

7 Post-partum recovery: In Kenya every tribe makes its nursing mothers broth. The mineral-rich fluid nourishes mother and baby, replenishing vital nutrients lost during pregnancy and childbirth.

8 Calcium supplement: A necessity in cultures that do not use dairy products, and for the lactose-intolerant, broth is an excellent replacement.

9 Beauty: Author Sylvie McCracken shows that gelatine found in broth helps re-mineralise your teeth. It also improves collagen integrity, reducing wrinkles, cellulite and stretch marks.

10 Economical and environ-mentally friendly: Highly affordable and frugal because nothing is wasted. You can get bones from your butcher for next to nothing. The leftover scraps are biodegradable for making compost.