Your Definitive Bone Broth Guide: Health Benefits + Recipes
Everyone is talking about bone broth these days, and even though it’s trendy now, bone broth is an ancient superfood, used in traditional societies around the world for generations as a potent and nourishing food medicine. It is also one of the foods that I recommend to my patients as a tool to aid in healing from gut problems such as leaky gut syndrome, candida overgrowth, and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
Typically, bone broth is used in hot soups and stews, but this can get boring if you’re interested in having it a few times each week. Time to change it up! Let’s get adventurous with your brothing and have some fun with this microbiome-healing potion. You can check out my staple bone broth recipe or purchase bone broth from Bare Bones or Kettle & Fire.
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9 Next-Level Ways To Use Bone Broth Beyond Soup
1. Add to smoothies
Sounds strange, right? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. The natural sweetness of fruits used in the smoothie will hide the savory flavor of bone broth. Instead of adding liquids like juice or almond milk into your morning smoothie, bring in the broth! You also can freeze bone broth into ice cubes and add them into your favorite superfood smoothie recipe.
2. Dilute juices
This is a great way to cut down on the fruit sugars of juices! Add one part bone broth and three parts fresh-pressed juice to get a refreshing gut-healing beverage. You can also freeze this and make bone broth and juice ice pops!
3. Chill out with gazpacho
On warmer days, or after a hard workout, the last thing you are probably in the mood for is warm bone broth stews. Gazpachos or cold soups, using a little bit of bone broth as part of the base, is a great idea for a refreshing but nourishing meal.
4. Bulk up condiments
5. Reheat leftovers
Instead of using a microwave, add a little warm broth to yesterday’s leftovers and heat it over the stove to steam your meal back to life.
6. Elevate your stir fry
Add some bone broth to the pan when you are sauteing vegetables to infuse your stir fry with some gut-healing goodness.
7. Make gravy
Add a little arrowroot starch to some hot bone broth in a pan for some gluten and grain-free gravy.
8. Power up scrambled eggs
Want some fluffy, scrambled eggs in the morning? Add a small amount of bone broth (no more than a teaspoon per egg) in place of milk or butter and scramble as usual for an even more nutrient-dense breakfast.
9. Double the power of healing tonics
Add an inflammation-busting ritual to your day by whisking turmeric powder into hot bone bone broth and sipping it from your favorite mug on a cold day.
Bone Broth Recipes Beyond Soup
1. Mashed Bone Broth Cauliflower
A nutrient-dense, healthier spin on mashed potatoes.
- 5 cups cauliflower florets
- 1/3 cup bone broth
- 6 tablespoons grass-fed ghee
- Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
- Steam cauliflower for about 10 minutes.
- Put cauliflower into food processor; add warm bone broth and ghee.
- Process until smooth.
What it’s doing for you: In addition to the gut-healing power of bone broth, the sulfur-rich cauliflower is a methylation booster, which helps with detox pathways as well as a healthy gut lining!
2. Mango Bone Broth Smoothie
Here is a refreshing way to get bone broth in on a hot day.
- 1 cup frozen mangoes
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup bone broth
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- juice of 1 lemon
- splash of organic, no-added sugar orange juice
Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.
What it’s doing for you: This antioxidant-rich drink is filled with phytonutrients to boost immunity.
3. Sauteed Bone Broth Kale
If two superfoods had a baby….
- 1/2 cup bone broth
- 3 tablespoons grass-fed ghee
- 2 small bunches of kale, cut into 1-inch chunks
- Himalayan sea salt to taste
- Put bone broth and ghee in a pan.
- Add kale.
- Stir over medium-high heat for around 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and cover with lid for about 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover, add salt to taste, and serve warm.
What it’s doing for you: Kale is rich in B vitamins, which facilitate the detoxifying, hormone-boosting process of methylation. Ghee is also a great source of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2, which most of us are low in!
4. Bone Broth Salsa – Muy Caliente!
- 1 dried chili de arbol pepper
- 2/3 cup tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup bone broth
- 1/4 peeled, minced onion
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 springs chopped fresh cilantro
- Himalayan sea salt to taste
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the arbol chili. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the chili soak for 10 minutes.
- Remove the chili from the water and discard the water.
- Combine chili with all other ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
- Place mixture in saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve fresh.
What it’s doing for you: Make your life a detox by eating this nutrient-packed salsa on the reg. Both cilantro and onions are great at cleaning because they upregulate detoxification pathways in your body.
5. Turmeric Bone Broth Coconut Milk
Fight inflammation + heal your gut = yum!
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup bone broth
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- Pinch of black pepper
- Blend ingredients well in a blender.
- Pour into saucepan and heat for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat until warm.
What it’s doing for you: Sip on this warm, anti-inflammatory elixir along with the creamy goodness of healthy coconut fats. The black pepper makes turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties even more bioavailable to you.
The Best Vegan Bone Broth Alternative To Calm Inflammation
But what if you don’t eat animal products? What if bone broth is not an option for you? I can tell you based on years of practice, that not many of my plant-eating patients get too excited about the idea of downing serving upon serving of steaming animal bone broth on a regular basis—no matter how beneficial it can be to their health. They tell me that they want a plant-based alternative to bone broth. They want the gut-healing power, but they want it from a vegetarian source. What’s a health-conscious plant lover to do?
Enter galangal broth. Not to be confused with ginger, galangal is a similar looking root that is also part of the same rhizome family of plants. Galangal looks like ginger, but that’s where the similarity ends. Each of these roots have their own unique taste and texture. Unlike regular ginger, galangal can only be sliced, not grated, due to its harder exterior. Galangal also has a much stronger flavor than the spicy taste of ginger—galangal packs a punch. When you taste its sharp, extra citrusy, piney flavor, you’ll know you’ve encountered something completely different than you have experienced before. Galangal is sometimes referred to as Thai ginger due to its popularity in Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian cuisines and has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine and remedies in other Asian cultures. But chances are, it’s new to you.
Of course, being the root of a plant, galangal doesn’t contain collagen or some of the other nutrients found only in bone broth, but it makes up for this lack with other powerful compounds that work to heal the gut in different ways. It has become one of my top gut-healing tools. Here’s why:
1. Galangal is anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is both a cause and an effect of poor gut health. Multiple studies have demonstrated galangal’s ability to calm inflammation throughout the body by down-regulating (1) pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and the inflammatory pathway NF-kb. This action is due to its phytonutrient content. (2)
2. Galangal is antibacterial and antifungal
Bacterial imbalances in the microbiome also contribute to gut problems. When more pathogenic species take over, they can worsen inflammation and other health problems. One of the most common bacterial infections in the world is H. pylori. This particular bacterium is linked to stomach ulcers and other gut problems. Galangal has been shown to help relieve ulcers as well as eliminate (3) the presence of this bacteria. It has also been shown to fight off (4) other powerful pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli, clostridium, staphylococcus, and salmonella.
3. Galangal enhances autophagy
Autophagy is your body’s way of eliminating old, damaged cells in order to make way for younger, healthier cells. New research has shown that autophagy is necessary (5) to regulate the proper balance of bacteria in the gut and maintain a healthy gut lining, and galangal has been shown (6) to directly induce the autophagy process.
As you can see, galangal has some serious next-level health benefits for anyone looking to heal their gut. Whether or not you follow a plant-based diet, galangal can benefit your gut health. Another advantage to galangal is its quick prep time, compared to bone broth, which requires a very long simmer to cook out the nutrients from the bones. Bone broth normally takes 24 to 48 hours of cooking at low heat, but you can whip up a pot of galangal broth in less than an hour.
Since it also lacks collagen, galangal broth isn’t gelatinous so it is a lighter, potentially more digestible broth. With all these benefits, you can switch up your regular broth routine, whether you are a vegetarian or not. It never hurts to add another gut-healing superfood to your dietary repertoire.
You can find fresh galangal at health food markets like Whole Foods, and it is also sold online. If you can’t find fresh galangal, you can also buy the dried, ground variety. Generally, for every tablespoon of fresh galangal use a quarter-teaspoon of dried, ground galangal.
Because this broth is typically prepared along with various other Asian spices, it has a distinct flavor similar to flavors you might have experienced eating Thai cuisine. This recipe is one easy way to make galangal broth. Give it a try, to heal your gut and curb your takeout cravings all in one powerful and delicious meal.
Makes 3 quarts
- 12 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 3 stalks celery (add celery greens at the top of the stock as well for added nutrients)
- 4 pieces kaffir lime leaves
- 3 stalks lemongrass
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1-inch piece galangal, sliced into rounds
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 to 4 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
- Heat the vegetable stock or broth in a large soup pot over medium to high heat, and bring to a boil.
- When it is boiling, add the celery, lime leaves, lemongrass, green onions, galangal, pepper, and salt.
- Let boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let stand for 20 minutes to allow the broth to absorb the nutrients and flavors.
- Strain the vegetables and season the broth with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve hot.
Note: Once cooled, this can be stored in jars and frozen for later use.
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- Jung YC, Kim ME, Yoon JH, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of galangin on lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophages via ERK and NF-κB pathway regulation. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2014;36(6):426‐432. doi:10.3109/08923973.2014.968257
- Yadav PN, Liu Z, Rafi MM. A diarylheptanoid from lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum) inhibits proinflammatory mediators via inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase, p44/42, and transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003;305(3):925‐931. doi:10.1124/jpet.103.049171
- Zaidi SF, Muhammad JS, Shahryar S, et al. Anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective effects of selected Pakistani medicinal plants in Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric epithelial cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;141(1):403‐410. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2012.03.001
- Weerakkody NS, Caffin N, Lambert LK, Turner MS, Dykes GA. Synergistic antimicrobial activity of galangal (Alpinia galanga), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and lemon iron bark (Eucalyptus staigerana) extracts. J Sci Food Agric. 2011;91(3):461‐468. doi:10.1002/jsfa.4206
- University of Rochester Medical Center. (2018, February 8). Gut bacteria can be good, and bad, for health: Rare group of cells could inform development of therapies for inflammatory bowel disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 29, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180208131707.htm
- Li X, Wang Y, Xiong Y, et al. Galangin Induces Autophagy via Deacetylation of LC3 by SIRT1 in HepG2 Cells. Sci Rep. 2016;6:30496. Published 2016 Jul 27. doi:10.1038/srep30496
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BY DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.