Every fall, I worry about catching cough and cold. My Jewish grandmother used to come over and cook soup with bones in it. She insisted it would keep us healthy and made us suck the marrow out of the bones. Truthfully, we never got sick. What do you think of this idea? I don’t want to torture my own kids but she may have on to something. –B.E., Hartford, Connecticut
Answer: Anything that helps you avoid illness (and pricey antibiotics) is fine by me! Growing up, my mom made us kids do the same. I can still hear her ravenously sucking the marrow out of the bones, they never had a chance. Bone marrow soup contains red marrow, which provides immune system factors such as myeloid stem cells, which are precursors to red blood cells that bring oxygen to your organs. It also contains lymphoid stem cells, precursors to white blood cells and platelets. White blood cells fight germs and platelets help your blood clot properly.
If you’re still grossed out about cooking such a prehistoric soup, keep listening. Bone broth will provide your body with two important amino acids, glycine and proline. Glycine is needed to help our body form a powerful liver antioxidant called glutathione, which neutralize poisons. Proline has been researched extensively and supports heart health by blocking dangerous “lipoprotein a” from sticking to your arteries (think atherosclerosis). While the idea of bone broth might make you want to fast, the truth is, bone broth is great for a fasting or detoxification program because it supports both phase I and II detoxification and builds up collagen to support healthy bones, discs in your back, your skin, ligaments, cartilage and tendons. I think bone soup can support wound healing, and joint health all while soothing inflamed mucus membranes in the digestive tract. Perfect for IBS, leaky gut, Celiac and Crohn’s disease. Getting hungry yet?
Because I always try what I write about, I bought some bones tonight and made the soup. It tasted good. I flavored it with fresh garlic, celery, carrots, parsley and onions. I cooked it for 5 hours on low, although you could use a crock pot and let it simmer overnight.
Bone marrow soup provides minerals, especially calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Great, because these support bone, heart and muscle health… and they make your nails grow fast. When cooking the soup, add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to help extract the minerals from the bone. To ramp up immune-boosting properties, buy fresh or dried astragalus root, a wonderful Chinese herb. Add one-quarter cup to your soup for the last 20 minutes, but don’t do this if you take methotrexate or cyclophosphamide drugs. Skim the astragalus and any fat/foam from the soup before consuming. I draw the line at bones, but if you are friskier, make your soup with oxtail or chicken feet.
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