Doing a bone broth fast is a super healthy alternative for those looking to dive into the fasting world. This bone broth “miracle” is made by boiling animal bones and connective tissue, providing exceptional nutrients.
This nutritious food dates back to the stone age when scarcity motivated hunter-gatherers to use all parts of the animal. It can be made out of pork, beef, chicken, or even fish bones.
Besides being used in soups, sauces, and dressings, it is gaining popularity as a healthy beverage. Furthermore, a lot of food experts call it a superfood due to its high nutritional value.
But why? you may ask. Well, bones are like a great storehouse of essential nutrients such as calcium and magnesium.
Bone broth is also rich in collagen and gelatin, two nutrients known for their benefits to the skin, joints, and digestive system.
Bone broth fast and intermittent fasting
As you will see later, bone broth effects in many ways reflect those of intermittent fasting. This makes bone broth an excellent food for those who practice it.
Furthermore, according to experts in the field, bone broth does not interfere with fasting, which means that you can consume it during your intermittent fasting periods.
This is very convenient since many fasting regimes like the 16:8 or 20-hour fasts involve very long fasting periods. Tea, water, and coffee are not always effective in reducing hunger in these cases.
This is where bone broth comes in handy
If you’re vegetarian or prefer not to take animal-derived products, for now, you can also drink vegetable broth, but you must take into account that it contains much fewer nutrients.
As mentioned before, vegetable broths usually don’t contain all the goodies and are higher in calories. This, in turn, may increase the risk of raising your blood glucose levels, thus, breaking the fasting state.
It is always best to add your own vegetables, herbs, and spices. During longer fasts, you may experience a salt deficiency, which can lead to dehydration.
Since salt is not present in water, tea, or coffee, you can add a pinch of salt to your homemade bone broth. Salt contains minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which is particularly favorable during fasting.
Broth and bone broth: What’s the difference
A simple broth is what your mom makes for you when you’re sick. It is made primarily from meat scraps, such as chicken or beef. You may also have made vegetable broth at home, using the remaining water from cooking your vegetables.
Plain broth should boil anywhere between 45 minutes to 2 hours. However, this period of time is too short for obtaining all the nutrients in the bones, so it will not form a thick and gelatinous texture.
On the other hand, bone broth is rich in flavor, salty, and a relatively diluted liquid. It is prepared by boiling bones and connective tissue for 3 to 4 hours.
Although 3-4 hours is enough time to obtain collagen and gelatin, boiling the bones for at least 12 hours allows the release of proline, glycine, and glutamine – amino acids known for their positive impact on joints and gut health.
Best of all, the prolonged boiling makes all of the beneficial nutrients contained in bone broth more bioavailable, meaning they are ready to be absorbed by your body.
This ensures that all the good components are released and therefore provides the highest nutritional value.
Bone broth commonly tastes less expressive. Its texture is fatty and tends to feel thicker in the mouth. Bone broth should be boiled for 12-48 hours (depending on the bones).
Bone broth fast benefits
The following is a list of the most relevant benefits provided by bone broth. As you will see below, they blend perfectly with the benefits provided by intermittent fasting.
Gut health and digestion
Even a small portion of broth (250 ml) can help reduce the permeability of your intestinal wall. Normally, the intestine is somewhat permeable, allowing nutrients from digested food to pass through the intestine.
However, the intestine must also maintain a barrier function so that potentially harmful substances (such as antigens) cannot escape from the intestinal lumen to the rest of the body.
Poor nutrition, inflammation, or infection can cause spaces in the intestinal wall to increase, allowing bacteria, toxins, and undigested food to pass into the bloodstream.
This can lead to chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating.
Glucosamine helps maintain the health of your cartilage, the cushioning tissue that protects your bones within your joints. But as you age, levels of this compound in your body begin to drop, leading to gradual joint degeneration.
Thus, causing pain and reducing mobility. Glucosamine is a substance naturally found in bones and bone marrow; therefore, bone broth is an excellent source.
Keeps you younger
Bone broth is a natural source of collagen. This is the main structural protein in the extracellular space in the various connective tissues in the body. It makes your skin look firm, smooth, and elastic.
The body’s natural production of collagen slows down in the mid-20s and continues to decline dramatically until age 30. From then on, collagen levels are reduced by 1-2% each year.
This is why collagen is so popular in the world of cosmetics and anti-aging serums and creams. However, when collagen is applied externally, its absorption is deficient compared to when consumed in food.
Fortunately, bone broth is full of collagen! Not only is it more effective than face moisturizers in terms of collagen, but it is also much more economical. It’s probably the cheapest way to keep glowing skin.
Promotes nail and hair growth
In these areas, collagen is the protagonist once again. Your nails and hair are mainly made of keratin. Collagen is rich in amino acids needed to build this keratin.
For this reason, collagen has always been linked to strong nails and hair growth. On the other hand, collagen may also act as an antioxidant. It can protect hair follicles from free radical damage and thus reduce age-related hair loss.
Sleep and feel better
Glycine, found in bone broth, helps improve sleep quality. Studies indicate that this amino acid has a calming effect on the brain and may help you fall and maintain sleep by lowering your basal body temperature (BBT).
It may also improve memory.
It may also decrease the amount of time needed to fall asleep, improve your sleep quality, reduce daytime sleepiness, and improve cognition.
Strengthen your immune system
Remember when we talked about the digestive system? Well, this is closely related to this part since 80% of your immune system cells reside within the digestive system.
The bone marrow, which liquefies over time as the broth boils, contains lipids, specifically alkylglycerols, which are vital for the production of white cells.
As we all know, these are the cells responsible for protecting our bodies from infectious disease and other invaders.
It is well known that inflammation is the root cause of many health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s.
It can also exacerbate the symptoms of certain conditions you may already have. Bone broth is full of glycine and proline, anti-inflammatory amino acids.
Several studies have also linked chondroitin sulfate, found in bone broth, to both anti-inflammatory and immuno-regulatory effects, which are especially beneficial for osteoarthritis patients.
It is beneficial for your bones
This is simple logic to decipher: nutrients found in animal bones are also beneficial to your own bones. The magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium found in bone broth help build and protect bones.
Studies also show that intake of amino acids (which you already know are found in bone broth) is associated with improved bone mineral density and low bone mass prevalence.
Making bone broth may take time, but it does not involve any exotic ingredients or a great deal of money. Also, introduce the concept of sustainability to your kitchen!
- Why throw away that leftover Thanksgiving turkey when you could use it to make a delicious bone broth?
- Why waste bone leftovers after eating BBQ pork ribs when they could be used to prepare a healthy and nutritious drink for you and your whole family?
And, in case you live by yourself and never buy a whole turkey or another big piece of meat, here’s a tip: you can always visit your local market butcher and ask for the bones left from meat cuts.
In most cases, they’ll give you these bones for free! since the great majority are thrown away anyway.
Isn’t this enough motivation to make a nice bone broth?
Bone broth fast: The diet
This diet usually consists of a combination of either the paleo or ketogenic diet with intermittent 5:2 fasting.
With the 5:2 fasting method, you can normally eat for 5 days and then restrict your caloric intake over the next two days to as little as 500-600 calories.
So, you will need to consume three to six cups of bone broth on fasting days and follow a ketogenic/paleo food plan.
- The paleo diet is a food plan based on foods similar to those probably consumed during the Paleolithic era, which dates back 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. It typically includes lean meats, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds – that is, foods that could be obtained in the past through hunting or gathering.
- The ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet. It includes foods high in protein and/or fat content, such as meat, fish, cheese, avocado, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Like any other diet, it also includes a large number of vegetables. This diet allows the body to enter a state of ketosis, a metabolic state in which the body burns fat instead of carbohydrates.
How to make bone broth?
As discussed earlier, bone broth is made by boiling animal bones for extended periods of time. Preparation time can vary from 12 to 48 hours.
Some bones, such as fish, should be boiled for shorter periods of time (about one hour) since they are thinner and release their nutrients more easily.
1. Add the bones
The first thing is to place the bones inside a large pot (it can be a normal pot or a slow cooker). Make sure the bones are completely covered with water.
If you make the broth from beef bones, consider roasting the bones first. This will provide the broth a richer flavor and a dark golden color.
2. Add the veggies
The most commonly used are carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. It would help if you chopped everything into big pieces. Don’t worry about peeling them, as the peel can provide additional nutritional value.
If you plan to use your broth as the base for an Asian-inspired soup, consider adding a little ginger for a spicy kick. As in any other soup, bay leaves are essential as well.
3. Boiled water
Once the water begins to boil, lower the flame and let your broth continue to simmer. Leave your pot partially uncovered, but make sure you don’t lose too much liquid during the cooking process.
Keep an eye on it at least every 4 to 6 hours.
When to drink bone broth?
Now that you know how to make a delicious broth, it’s time to learn when to drink it. The best time to consume it will depend on your personal goals. A few examples:
- If you need to improve sleep quality, drink a cup an hour before going to bed
- If you’re trying to reduce hunger attacks, drink a cup when feeling hungrier
- If you want to improve your bowel movements, drink a cup before and after every meal
- To lose weight, you can drink up to 6 cups a day
- For healthy skin, nails, hair, and joints, drink 2-4 cups a day
- To improve intestinal health and reduce inflammation, drink at least 2 cups a day
When to avoid bone stock
Although most people experience only positive effects from drinking bone broth, it can cause adverse effects in some rare cases.
Glutamates cause these effects. These come from glutamine, the second most prevalent amino acid in bone broth. Although glutamine has several health benefits, it can also cause problems in sensitive glutamate people.
Excess glutamate in the brain can cause the following effects:
- Mood swings
- Lack of concentration
If you experience any of these symptoms, it may be that your diet is too high in synthetic and natural glutamates.
For this reason, your biggest concern should be monosodium glutamate and not the glutamates released during bone broth cooking.
However, if you are sensitive to glutamates, you should avoid all-natural and synthetic glutamates.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. You don’t have to stop eating bone broth altogether. Since more glutamine is released when you boil bones for long periods of time, you can reduce the cooking time.
The resulting broth will be less nutritionally dense but will retain its favorable intestinal health and hunger-reduction properties.
If you want to prepare a low glutamate broth, you should boil the chicken bones for 1-3 hours and the beef or pork for 2-4 hours. Another option is to opt for fish broth, which should only be boiled for an hour.
If you eliminate processed foods from your diet and incorporate an intestinal health protocol, you will soon be able to tolerate broths with a longer cooking time (and other natural sources of glutamate).
Bone powder broth
Preparing bone broth is neither difficult nor expensive. However, it does involve a considerable amount of time.
Powdered bone broth is an excellent solution for those who don’t have the luxury of time.
This process is done by dehydrating the bone broth to low temperatures and then pulverizing it. It is also common for protein to be added to the mixture to increase its nutritional value.
If the powder is of good quality, it should contain all the usual nutrients such as collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, some amino acids, and minerals.
Broth powder can be mixed with your beverage of choice
Bone powder broth by itself is, for the most part, tasteless, but some brands add vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, etc., to add flavor.
If you are considering using it in your smoothies, buying a flavored version is an excellent idea.
If you plan to use the powder in your soups and sauces, the unflavored one works very well. If you want to increase your food’s nutritional value without modifying its taste, the unflavored powdered broth is also the best option.
The advantages of collagen powder are that no time is wasted in preparation; it is easy to cook and nutritious.
The only disadvantage is that it can lose some of its nutritional properties if exposed to high temperatures. Also, the added flavors may not be of natural origin.
Where to buy bone broth
As mentioned before, we don’t recommend canned bone broth or those with high sodium content or artificial flavors.
You can find good quality bone broth in large stores or online. Shop wisely and read the labels.
Before buying any broth, evaluate its nutritional quality, and make sure it comes from natural and organic sources. Broths prepared from free-range animal bones typically have a higher nutritional value, although they can be more expensive.
Bone broth seems to live up to its fame and the expectations surrounding it.
Whether your goal is to lose weight or improve your health, bone broth is something you should include in your diet.
Preparing it is cheap and simple. However, its benefits are on par with those offered by expensive supplements and cosmetics.
Try mixing bone broth with intermittent fasting, and the benefits, such as weight loss, radiant skin, healthy hair and nails, reduced inflammation, and slowed aging process, will double!