Written by Danielle Minnebo
Traditionally our diet used to feature a lot of home made stocks, gravies and meat cooked on the bone. Unfortunately in the last 30 years we have lost this element of our diet. Most of the meat we consume is mincemeat, chicken breasts or steak. Rarely do people make their own stocks and broths anymore, choosing the ready-made stocks in the supermarket instead. By making these choices we are missing out on a lot of nutrients, I often refer to home made stocks and slow cooked meats as being super foods. They might not be as trendy as chia seeds or coconut oil, but they sure pack a big nutritional punch!
So what benefits do meat stocks and broths offer us?
- Rich source of calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which are vital for healthy bone growth and development. We often think of dairy as being our main source of calcium, and while it is a good source of calcium, bone broths are an even better source, especially for someone who can’t tolerate dairy particularly well.
- Rich source of collagen. This is funny because people will often pay a fortune for face creams that contain collagen, but in fact do very little. You are what you eat is very applicable here! By consuming stocks and meat on the bone regularly you are actually receiving a large amount of collagen. Collagen is important to help strengthen all connective tissue, this includes our skin, hair and nails. If you want beautiful skin, strong hair and nails, then make sure you get some meat stocks into you!
- Rich source of glucosaminoglycans, which is quite a mouthful! Glucosaminoglycans are a type of glucosamine that form a vital part of our joint tissue. It will help strengthen joints, prevents and treats arthritis and can be really beneficial to prevent injury due to physical activity.
Lastly, stocks and broths are a rich source of gelatin. Gelatin is a nutrient that is often over looked, however it has so many health benefits to offer us. Most people are only familiar with gelatin for helping to set jellies and other desserts, but it actually does a lot more than just that. It helps improve and support:
- liver function
- joint health
- muscle recovery
- skin, hair and nail growth.
How can we include more of these nutrients in our diet?
- Where possible choose and cook meat on the bone. Rather than choosing chicken breast for dinner have chicken legs instead, or better still roast a whole chicken slowly for 3 hours and make a gravy from chicken stock.
- Get into the habit of making your own chicken stock, beef stock and fish stock. I tend to make a large batch once a month and will freeze it into smaller portions. I’ll then pop a portion of beef stock into my spaghetti bolognaise or use some chicken stock to make a nice gravy to go with my roast chicken.
- Experiment with slow cooking meat on the bone. Recipes such as Osso Bucco are a terrific way to use cheap cuts of meat that produce a delicious and nourishing meal.
Or use a good quality gelatin powder to add to smoothies or make fruit jellies with. I buy Great Lakes Gelatin from www.gpawholefoods.com.au. Note that there are 2 different types available:
- Collagen Hydrolysate Gelatin (green container): This is for adding to smoothies as it will readily dissolve. However it won’t set into a jelly.
- Gelatin (red container): This gelatin will set and this is the one you need to make fruit jellies with.