Bone Broth for Fertility
When undergoing IVF or trying to conceive naturally, dietary modifications are often overlooked, yet, it is so very important to be eating the right sorts of foods to optimise your reproductive potential and support your body through this journey. One simple way to do this is to incorporate bone broth into your daily diet.
In China, it’s known as “longevity soup.”
This humble food has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for boosting fertility, and has been steadily gaining popularity in the West in recent times. And it’s not hard to see why - it’s packed with beneficial nutrients including essential amino acids, collagen, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and a variety of other trace minerals.
In TCM, Kidney energy plays an important role in birth, growth, development and reproduction. The Kidney contains a vital essence known as Jing. As we age, our Jing becomes depleted. Conceiving, carrying and nursing a baby also draws on our reserves of Jing. Those with weakened Jing may experience infertility, chronic miscarriage, poor egg quality, low sperm count/quality, impotence, low libido, lower back pain, premature ageing and greying, and poor memory and concentration. The bones are governed by the Kidney system, and bone marrow is associated directly with the Kidney Jing. So it makes sense that consuming bone broth before, during and after pregnancy can help to support and replenish the Jing. A cup a day is recommended to reap the benefits.
Bone broth is not just for parents and parents-to-be, in fact it boasts a whole range of health benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory properties due to arginine and glycine content
- Contains chondroitin and glucosamine and can alleviate arthritis symptoms and help with other joint problems
- Benefits the digestive system, by soothing, healing and sealing the gut lining and may relieve leaky gut, IBS, IBD and other gastrointestinal disorders
- Boosts immunity and is especially helpful during cold and flu season
- High collagen and mineral content strengthens all connective tissue in the body, giving you strong nails, shiny hair and glowing skin
It’s easy to make your own bone broth at home. If you don’t fancy making your own, you can source some from your local health food shop or purchase online. We recommend Broth & Co.
To make your own, be sure to source organic, grass-fed/free range bones. For beef bone broth, use knuckle and neck bones, shanks and oxtails. For chicken bone broth, use a whole chicken, the frame of a roasted chicken, or chicken backs and wing tips. Add herbs and spices to suit your taste. This recipe is ideal for a slow-cooker.The broth will keep for 5 days in the fridge or for up to 6 months in the freezer. So make a big batch and freeze so that you always have some on hand.
The roasting step is optional but it does give the broth extra, richer flavour and a deeper colour. The vinegar helps extract nutrients from the bones. Skimming the froth is only for aesthetics to get a clearer broth at the end. Although you can discard the hard layer of fat afterwards, leaving it helps preserve the broth in the fridge.
- 2kg organic grass-fed beef bones (mix of marrow, knuckle and meat bones) or organic chicken whole chicken or frames
- A few sprigs of herbs of your choice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 carrots, quartered
- 1 brown onion, halved
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 200°C or 180°C fan-forced. Place bones on a roasting tray. Roast for 30 minutes (see Note)
Transfer bones and fat to a large saucepan with remaining ingredients and enough water to cover bones. Bring to a simmer. Cook on the lowest setting for at least 24-48 hours (the longer, the more nutrients you will extract from the bones). Add extra water to make sure bones are always covered with liquid.
Strain into a large bowl. Cool quickly by placing the bowl in a sink or large tub filled with iced-water. Chill. Discard the hard layer of fat if you like.