Bone broth has been used for centuries in many traditional cultures as a healing, and fertility-enhancing food. Drinking a cup of bone broth daily will have a tremendous impact on your fertility, pregnancy and postnatal health.
When you cook down the bones of an animal into a broth, the bone marrow and its nutrients—namely fat, protein and trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur—seep out into the broth making it a rich, nutrient dense, fertility boosting concoction. These nutrients are vital for creating healthy new life.
One of this broth’s secrets is that it is a rich source of two amino acids, proline and glycine, both of which play a key role in the health of our connective tissue and are important to joint health, cellular metabolism, immune function, detoxification and even weight regulation. It also contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, which is now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.
In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine, we recommend all our patients, and especially our fertility patients, consume one cup of bone broth on a daily basis to improve their ability to successfully conceive. We highly encourage the same for our prenatal and postnatal patients, for the health of the mother, the fetus development and post-birth recovery.
Some of the benefits of bone broth:
Extraordinarily rich in minerals, especially calcium, magnesium and phosphorus: These minerals that are easily absorbable in bone broth, and are fundamental for boosting fertility. Later, during pregnancy, they 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. Post-birth while breastfeeding, continuing to drink bone broth is important for producing calcium rich milk and helping replete loss of bone density.
- Extremely rich in the amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, particularly glycine, proline, glutamine and arginine: Amino acids profoundly affect everything – your immune system, sperm production, liver function and detoxification (very important for women’s hormonal health).
- Supports thyroid and metabolism: Eating muscle meat with a rich source of gelatin counters the negative effects of methionine, cysteine and tryptophan leading to a more efficient metabolism and healthy thyroid, thus boosting your fertility.
- Incredibly healing for the gut and ultimately your hormones: In order to make hormones, you need vitamins, minerals and nutrients. If your gut is not functioning optimally, then you are not digesting and absorbing enough nutrients. In addition, food sensitivities or allergies create an inflammatory response in your body, which promotes cortisol production, throwing off your other hormones.
- Contains glucosamine and chondroitin: These are known to help mitigate the deleterious effects of arthritis and joint pain. During pregnancy, not only will they assist your baby’s joints in forming, they will also support your joints. 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.
- A beautiful bonus, bone broth is very rich in gelatin and collagen: This helps support joints and connective tissue, and builds up cartilage and bone. 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 prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, as well as tighten loose skin (like the kind you have post-pregnancy!).
Homemade broth begins with just a few simple ingredients; bones, water, and vegetables. In the end you are left with a nutrient dense, rich tasting broth to be used in a multitude of recipes. It can be made from a variety of bones including chicken, beef and fish.
Beef Bone Broth
This recipe is mostly taken from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook (a must have for fertility boosting recipes). A meat or poultry-based bone broth can be made in a stock pot on the stove, as in the directions shown below, or a slow cooker, but you can use a pressure cooker if you are in a hurry.
- 4 lbs of bones (beef marrow, knuckle bones, meaty rib, neck bones – or whatever the butcher will give you)
- 4+ quarts cold water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 2-3 onions, coarsely chopped
- 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- Several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
- 1 tsp dried green peppercorns, crushed; or 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 bunch of parsley
- Place any bones such as knuckle and marrow bones, in a very large stock pot with vinegar and cover with water
- Let stand for one hour
- Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees in the oven
- When well browned, add meaty bones to the stock pot along with the vegetables
- Pour the fat out of the roasting pan, add cold water to the pan, set over a high flame and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen up coagulated juices
- Add this liquid to the pot
- Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones (the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking
- Bring to a boil
- A large amount of scum will come to the top, and it is important to remove this with a spoon
- After you have skimmed, reduce heat and add the thyme and crushed peppercorn
- Simmer stock for at least 12 and as long as 72 hours
- Just before finishing, add the parsley and simmer another 10 minutes
- Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon
- Strain the stock into a large bowl
- Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top
- Transfer to smaller containers and store it in the fridge or freezer to be used as a basis for soups and stews or just as a comforting drink (Bone broth will last for 5 days in the fridge and for several months in the freezer)
Alternative Cooking Methods:
Slow Cooker Method: Prepare as directed above, using slow cooker instead of stock pot. Cover and cook on low. Chicken bones should take 8 –10 hours, beef bones are ideally left in the cooker for about 24 hours.
Pressure Cooker Method: Prepare as directed above, using pressure cooker instead of stock pot. Make sure the pressure cooker is only 2/3 full, so there is plenty of room for the steam to create the pressure necessary to cook the broth. Secure the lid on the cooker then bring to a boil, turn down the heat and allow the broth to cook. The time depends on the size of the bones. Chicken bones will take about 40 minutes but beef bones will need about 70 minutes.
Lastly, there are four keys to making good bone broth:
- Use the highest quality of bones you can find. Bones from grass-fed cattle, pasture-raised poultry and wild caught fish. Visit you local butcher and they will likely have plenty available.
- Add vinegar to the water to draw the minerals out of the bones into the broth.
- Roast and brown the bones in the oven before adding them to the stock.
- Be in the moment when you're making it—and see the process as a therapy in and of itself.
While homemade cooking has benefits, it is a time commitment. If unable to do so, there are more and more places popping up that offer bone broth. Below we have listed a few of our favorites if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Pickup in person: