Bone broth can be a powerful tool in your nutrition journey and, even better, an easy and impactful way to enhance the foods you’re already eating. It’s also the answer to one of the biggest fertility and reproductive-health questions I get: How do I add more key nutrients to get better outcomes without having to spend more time and energy in the kitchen?
That question is what propelled me to write my cookbook, what I try to answer every day on Instagram, and what I struggled with so much in my own pregnancies and postpartum. What I’ve come to realize is the best way to nourish yourself, is not by taking things away from your diet. It’s by slowly adding in powerful foods that are easy to prepare and pack a nourishing punch. Bone broth is a great place to start.
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is the liquid you get by simmering the bones, connective tissues, and joints of an animal (typically chicken or beef) in water for hours. The result is a nutrient-rich broth that includes key vitamins and minerals that support overall health, and are especially beneficial for supporting fertility, pregnancy and postpartum (more on that in a sec).
The texture of bone broth is what makes it really special. When finished and chilled, it takes on a jelly-like consistency because of the concentrated gelatin and collagen it contains. (Don’t worry, when heated up it reverts back to liquid gold.)
Bone broth can be used in place of water in your cooking, making it an easy addition to your existing routine or go-to meals. Swap it in when cooking rice, quinoa, ramen, sauces, purées—the options are endless. You can also drink bone broth straight as a soothing warm beverage, perfect when you’re feeling under the weather or as a daily tonic to support your fertility.
Is bone broth good for you?
Bone broth is packed full of benefits for your body, particularly because of the amino acids and minerals it contains. And while these nutrients are great for trying to conceive, pregnancy and postpartum, they’re also important outside of fertility health, too. Here are the top 4 reasons you should consider making bone broth no matter where you are in your fertility journey.
1. Bone broth can help you hit your hydration goals
Bone broth has natural electrolytes, including Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium, making it great for recovery (hi, postpartum) and for overall hydration. Electrolytes help to maintain fluid balance in the body and some signs that you might need more include fatigue, muscle cramps, and dizziness. And, because of its other good-for-you benefits, bone broth is a great choice over other, more sugary drinks that are marketed as electrolyte-restoring.
2. Bone broth includes must-have minerals and vitamins
Bone broth has minerals like Magnesium, Zinc, and Iron, and vitamins like A, B2, B12 and E, alongside Omega 3s and 6s. Basically, it’s a nutrient powerhouse. Getting enough of these minerals and nutrients is key for fertility health, pregnancy support and postpartum recovery, especially when we need even more than baseline to support changing bodies and during times of stress. (Psst, all of these nutrients—and more—are found in the Bird&Be Power Prenatal for Females, The Essentials for Females, and The Postpartum, too!)
3. Bone broth is packed with protein
Protein is something most people need more of, and recent research suggests this is especially true during pregnancy and postpartum. Luckily, bone broth is packed with it. By using bone broth instead of water when making soup, stews, rice, quinoa, mashed potatoes and other meals, you get in about 10 grams more protein in your meal. That’s significant, especially during late pregnancy and postpartum where protein needs are higher. Recent studies suggest that our current protein recommendations (last updated in 2005) are out of date and that they likely need to be much higher overall. For pregnant and lactating females, one study estimates anywhere from 60 to 150 grams per day is best (the current recommendation is 46 to 71 grams per day depending on trimester).
4. Bone broth is a healing helper
The amino acids, collagen, and glycine found in bone broth support your immune system and gut, both foundational to reproductive health. Bone broth can also support your stretching and healing tissues as they accommodate and recover from pregnancy.
Bone Broth Recipe for Fertility Support
Make your own bone broth at home in a few easy steps, with a big pot, slow cooker or instant pot. You can buy animal bones from your grocery store, but you can also save bones from other meals in a freezer bag until you’re ready to use them (a rotisserie chicken carcass is a great option).Ingredients
- Animal bones (try chicken, beef or pork)
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- Optional: onion, garlic, carrot, celery or other veggies.
- Add your bones (and veggies if you’re using them) to your pot and fill it with water until everything is covered.
- Add the apple cider vinegar (you can also use lemon juice if that’s what you have on hand—the key here is something acidic to draw out the nutrients of the bones).
- Bring your mixture to a light boil and then turn down the heat and let it simmer for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. (For an instant pot, set it to manual for 120 minutes.)
- Let your broth cool and then strain the liquid into storage containers.