Homemade bone broth is nutrient dense and inexpensive to make. Traditional cultures placed a special emphasis on using the whole animal, and therefore consumed this flavorful and health giving substance often. Unfortunately the practice of using bones to make broth in this traditional way is no longer as popular.
Unlike store bought broth or stock, which is cooked for only 45 minutes to 4 hours, bone broth is simmered for quite a long time. As the broth simmers, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water, leaving you with an incredibly nourishing liquid. This is a wonderful thing for anyone to consume, but it can be especially beneficial for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
How Bone Broth Nourishes Pregnancy
Rich in minerals- especially calcium, magnesium & phosphorus
These minerals are essential for your baby to build strong, healthy bones. The minerals must be obtained from your diet, otherwise they will be “borrowed” right out of your own bones and given to your baby.
I’ve held seminars on bone health in the past and have used a hand held device to test for osteoporosis. A few young, healthy and active women I scanned showed results of osteopenia, which refers to early signs of bone loss that can become osteoporosis if not managed. They didn’t fit the typical profile, but after inquiring further I learned that they had recently given birth. Their bone density was lowered because the minerals that make bones strong were taken from them and given to their babies in utero. This shows that consuming mineral rich foods like bone broth aren’t just important for building your baby's bones, but also keeps your own stores from becoming depleted.
The body absorbs the minerals found in bone broth very easily (even more so then from supplements) and it’s a great source of dairy free calcium. Continue drinking bone broth while breastfeeding to produce calcium rich milk and help replete loss of bone density.
Very rich in gelatin & collagen
Gelatin is most famously found in... Jello! While the sugar and artificial food colouring don't make Jello the best choice, when gelatin is derived from a high quality source it actually offers us many health benefits. Gelatin contains collagen, which is often thought of as a “beauty nutrient” because it helps fingernails and hair to grow long and strong. It also helps tighten loose skin (like the kind that lovely little babies leave you with).
Additionally, these nutrients are key in supporting joints and connective tissue, and they help to make up cartilage and bone.
Contains glucosamine & chondroitin
These are among two of the most important nutrients for joint care. Not only will they assist your baby’s joint in forming, they also support your joints during pregnancy as well. With stiffness, soreness or pain in the places your body bends (hips, knees, elbows, fingers and more), joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy.
Weight gain can put strain on your joints and the hormone Relaxin, that your body produces during pregnancy, really loosens things up. Relaxin doesn’t just disappear once you’ve given birth. Nursing mothers create more of the hormone, so drinking bone broth post pregnancy will help you avoid joint injury and strengthen your joints until things return to normal.
Good source of amino acids, the building blocks of protein
Protein requirements in pregnancy increase by about 25 grams and even more so for breastfeeding moms. The amino acids in bone broth perform a wide variety of functions including: boosting the immune system, improving digestion, fighting inflammation, promoting sleep and calming the mind. Particularly high in arginine, glycine, and proline.
Assists with nausea
When nausea hits in the earlier weeks of pregnancy, it can be hard to get and keep food down. Bone broth is soothing and nutrient dense. It is very easy to digest, and often calms the stomach very quickly.
Nourishing Bone Broth
A recipe from In The Glow
What you'll need:
- slow cooker or large stock pot
- fine strainer
- 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 onion
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoon or more of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- Optional: any other vegetables and/or herbs/seasonings you like
* If using raw bones: roast bones for 30 minutes at 350°F to improve final taste.
Place bones in slow cooker or a large stock pot. Cover the bones with cool water and add apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. (The acid helps leach the minerals from the bones.) Rough chop vegetables and add to the pot with any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs you are using. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Watch the broth for the first 2 hours for a film that floats to the surface. Remove this with a large spoon.
Recommended simmering times (don’t be afraid to cook for longer):
- Beef/Bison/Lamb/Pork broth: 48 hours
- Poultry broth: 24 hours
Remove from heat and use a fine metal strainer to remove all remaining pieces of bone and vegetable. Broth can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days, or frozen for later use. Once chilled a layer of fat may form on the top which can be skimmed off with a spoon or spatula, or reheated and consumed.
Drink a cup of broth a day for nourishment… or use when sautéing vegetables, making soups, stews, gravies, and sauces.