Chicken soup has long been touted as Grandma’s “cure-all” for sicknesses. Thing is, as a kid I was never impressed with the taste and the health benefits seemed nonexistent. A few years ago, I finally learned the secret to grandma’s chicken soup!
Food for thought:
When our grandmas were little girls, their mamas would make chicken soup with a whole chicken, bones and all. This broth would not only be delicious, it was also very nutrient dense.
When I was a child, chicken broth was commonly bought in-store, premade, needing only poured into a pan with noodles chicken and veggies. Or you just bought can of the stuff already made.
This broth was more flavor and sodium than anything. In fact, all that sodium likely made it even harder for our bodies to recover from illness.
The Secret to Grandma’s Chicken Soup:
The secret to Grandma’s chicken soup was in the broth!!! Many times people ate the chickens that no longer laid eggs, or “that mean old rooster”. These weren’t your tender young chickens that we are used to eating today.
These birds were tossed into the pot and cooked for hours. The long simmering process not only made the birds tender enough to eat, it also pulled the nutrients from the bones out into the broth.
Improving Joint Health
Bone broths are high in protein. Collagen for example breaks down into gelatin, meaning a good bone broth will thicken and congeal in the fridge. Gelatin is a protein that contains the essential aminos, proline and glycine.
These aminos are exactly what your body needs for growing and rebuilding your connective tissue (think tendons and ligaments in your joints). This study showed chicken collagen (type 2) reversed and even put into remission 4 cases of rheumatoid arthritis!
Glycine and Glutamine improve the digestion, and offer relief to those suffering from acid reflux and leaky gut.
Acid reflux is typically a result of too little acid (not enough acid in your tummy results in the food swelling and pushing acid up into the throat. Sufficient acid breaks the food down quickly so it doesn’t swell. Glycine prompts the body to create more stomach acid, resulting in better digestion.
Glutamine is a “binding” protein that promotes the health and functions of the gut, keeping food inside where it belongs. (Leaky gut is where food particles escape weak intestine wall and get into the blood stream, where as you can imagine it creates much havoc.)
Rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, slow cooking bones pulls the minerals out of the bones and into the broth. From the broth, these minerals are easily absorbed into your system.
These minerals are used by your body for a myriad of different reasons. Supporting everything from muscular skeletal, to your immune system.
Adding vinegar to the bones and water as you are cooking them assists in pulling out a maximum amount of minerals. In softer bones like that of poultry, the bones will become very soft and even dissolve based on how long you simmer them.
Other Benefits of Bone Broth
Arginine and Glutamine are beneficial to the body’s abilities in healing itself. Arginine especially speeds the healing of wounds.
Collagen is what keeps our skin young and smooth looking. So evidence points to bone broth (since it’s high in collagen) being beneficial on a surface level as well. I’m more than happy to drink bone broth if that means nice skin!
The Secret to Grandma’s Chicken Soup
Our experience with bone broth:
I joined a challenge to drink broth every day during the month of January. The boys also drink it with me and thanks to them I keep running out and have missed a few days here and there.
I’m more than willing to share with them though, especially after what happened the very first week! Thanks to ridiculously warm weather and all the Christmas foods, the very last week of December found both boys with nasty colds.
I’m talking green snot type of colds. The kind of cold that has always went to the toddler’s chest resulting in sleepless nights of coughing and general unable to breath type of thing. This was technically the baby’s first really bad cold but I was worried about how it would affect him.
Day 3 of their cold I started the “broth every day” challenge. I discovered they both loved it so I shared with them and Kolton (the toddler) drank a good sized glass that day.
The 3rd day of our broth challenge (day 6 of the cold) Kolton woke up coughing and nearly gagged a few times on “yuck”. But that was it, he drank his broth that day and there was no more coughing. The next morning he coughed a little again, and that was the last time as well.
That was amazing to me! Kolton was completely over his cold in just at a week. He didn’t have any of the tight coughing, and only a little of the loose. Malachi didn’t cough at all.
Even better? Aside from a sore throat that lasted all of 2 days, I never really got that cold!!!!
So, the secret to grandma’s chicken soup was in the broth! All the nutrients gives your body exactly what it needs to heal and fight off infections.
- Bones. These can be raw with meat on them, or cooked bones that you've already ate the meat from. Even if we've put sauce on the meat I'll still use the bones afterwards.
- Water - Just enough to cover the bones
- Vinegar - 2 tablespoon
- Place the bones in a pan or crock pot and add just enough water to cover the bones.
- Add the vinegar.
- Simmer for at least 6 hours.
- Pay attention to the water level as it can evaporate over time. Add water as needed.
- Denser bones need longer times - up to 24 hours.
- Fish out the bones and and strain/separate the broth
- I often freeze what I cannot drink in 2-3 days.
- Salt your broth to taste when you are ready to drink it.
A good bone broth will thicken and even gel up like jello. This broth is more of a pudding type consistency. Mostly because I had a bit more water at the end than I needed, but also because I barely simmered them for 6 hours. To get a good jell, you need less water and longer simmer times.
Interested in learning more about the secret to grandma’s chicken soup and other foods that nourish the whole body? Check out the e-books below that are part of the Back to Basics bundle! Grandma had it right in the first place, we just need to get back to the basics of it all!