One very seldom thinks of the human body as a regenerative cellular organism. This means that the tissues constantly are replaced by newer cells, while getting rid of the older ones. Some tissues are replaced much quicker, such as the epidermis of our skins which we can easily see on dry, winter days or after intense sunburn. Other tissues like nerves take longer to regenerate and for a long time it was even believed that it does not have this capability.
When the generation of new tissue lags behind the dying off of older tissue we get a process called aging. A very normal process for any living species, but a scary one for many. In a large sense what we eat determine the quality of the newly formed tissues. This means that nutrition could help with the fight against aging. So a good, natural, balanced, clean diet will presumably be an anti-aging tool.
One of the foods which has gone out of fashion from a few decades ago is homemade bone stock. In particular it has some agents that fights the visible signs of aging (wrinkles, sagging skin) while also improves general health. Apart from the vitamins (especially A, C, K, B6 and choline) and minerals (especially calcium, iron, manganese and selenium) there are other substances which particularly help with regeneration.
Bone stock should not be confused with anything prepackaged. It is made when bones of any animal is slowly cooked for hours at a low temperature to release vitamins and minerals in a form which is easy to absorb (see recipe). It also releases from the bone healing compounds like collagen, chondroitin sulfate, lysine, proline, glycine and glutamine all of which has the power to maintain a healthy body.
Bone stocks are beneficial in the maintenance of several tissues such as:
· Maintains Healthy Skin
Collagen supplies the skin with strength, smoothness, elasticity and resilience. When you are young, you have an abundance of collagen which helps form elastin and other compounds within skin to tone it and gives it a youthful texture and appearance. With age collagen production declines and the effect is seen as saggy lines and wrinkles in the face. It is not only age which has this effect, but also excessive sun exposure to the skin, and the over consumption of alcohol and processed foods.
· Protects Joints
Healthy joints depend on the health of the cartilage lining the joint cavity. The chondroitin sulfate, lysine, proline, glycine from the bone stock will help maintain these structures. With age it is often joints which gives us the first indication that movement is not so easy as when we were young. In fact, expensive cures for joint pains include all the above to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
· Good for the Gut
The gut lining has become a hot topic these days as it is becoming increasingly clear that this organ plays a key role in immunity and health in general. The modern life style of the past few decades caused inflammation of this organ and it has lost some of its integrity to absorb nutrients and keep toxins inside to be excreted. The result is that toxins leak into the blood steam and cause inflammation in other parts of the body – known as leaky gut syndrome. Some opinions have it that this inflammation is the common ground of all auto immune disease. A healthy gut lining thus is fundamental to our whole body health. The gelatin in bone stock helps to heal the gut and restore balance of the bacteria in the gut.
· Respiratory Health
Grandma’s chicken soup was for centuries famous for treating colds and flus. Now researchers have shown the mechanism behind bone stocks which helps in the reduction of respiratory inflammation.
· Boost Detoxification and Immunity
Bone stock contains potassium and glycine, supporting detoxification. This is especially good in the winter during a detoxification as we tolerate warm foods better than the salads we prefer in the summer. Another amino acid found in bone stock, glutathione, is also used by the immune system to help fight of toxins and disease.
See our very basic recipe for bone stock which could be customized to become the hot favourite in any family in a form of stew or soup on a cold winter evening.