Bone soup goes back to ancient cultures around the world. It has been used as a remedy for the sick, weak and convalescent. One of its most classic uses is treatment for colds and flu.
Bone soup, also called bone broth, ‘paye ka soup’ or ‘kharode ka shorba’, or soup stock, is made by boiling animal bones in water with a little bit of vinegar. The valuable nutrients are literally leached out of the bone marrow. After two to 48 hours of simmering, the liquid retained and the bones discarded.
Cartilage found in animal joint areas such as chicken feet, beef or lamb knuckles, trachea and ribs, hooves and skin, tend to yield the most nutritious broth. It contains cartilage (gelatine), bone marrow, amino acids and minerals. The end ingredient is a broth that contains all the valuable nutrients that are found in animal bones.
Bone broth promotes strength and nourishes, specially in times of sickness, injury, rehabilitation, and helps to prevent bone and connective tissue disorders. It can be digested easily and due to its unsurpassed flavour and body it serves as the base for many recipes including soup, sauces and gravy.
Bone broth contains a high quantity of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sulfur, fluoride, sodium and potassium. These minerals can promote not only bone health but also support intestinal healing, help in calcium- or- magnesium-deficiency-related insomnia, irritability, fatigue and anxiety.
Bone broth from cartilage is source of collagen and hyaluronic acid. Collagen is a protein found in the body that provides strength and flexibility to skin, hair and nails. Collagen is also an essential component of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, bones. When combined with hyaluronic acid, as it is in bone broth, it helps to improve the appearance of the skin, promote wound and injury healing, protect connective tissue, and strengthen bone cartilage.
In addition, collagen helps in healing the gut and helps promote immunity. It is useful to treat inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, leaky gut syndrome, dysbiosis and candidiasis.
Bone broth is also a rich source of chondroitin sulfate, which has an anti-inflammatory effect and has been found to help alleviate joint pain. It may also help to improve blood circulation and it contains anticoagulant properties.
Glycine and proline are particularly important amino acids (elements of protein) present in bone broth. Glycine manufactures glucose, supports digestion by enhancing stomach acid secretion. Glycine is also a neurotransmitter that improves sleep and memory.
Interestingly, broths are useful in fasting and cleansing programmes. During fasting, because little or no food or energy source is consumed, protein tissues such as muscle often break down. Broth glycine limits or prevents degeneration and aids the detoxification process.
Ishi Khosla is a former senior nutritionist at Escorts. She heads the Centre of Dietary Counselling and also runs a health food store. She feels that for complete well-being, one should integrate physical, mental and spiritual health. According to her: “To be healthy should be the ultimate goal for all.”