The human body contains 206 bones — 25% of them in the feet, 10% in the head and 16% in the spine — but it’s not these bones that trendy New Yorkers are looking to for better health and better looks.
“[A] growing contingency of sleek-bodied New Yorkers insist that the secret to good looks is all about the bones, as in broth,” the New York Post reported Jan. 3 on the growing popularity of bone broth in the city.
One East Village chef, Marco Canora, opened a takeout window serving nothing but bone broth in November. Now, each day, literally hundreds of people queue up in order to get their helpings of steaming stock, each cup costing between $4 and $9.
Canora’s customers say their hair, nails and skin are healthier than when they ate diets of processed foods, praising broth’s low-sodium, high-collagen properties.
Eating Like Our Ancestors
Although there’s been a relatively recent uptick in popularity, many of the broth’s proponents look to ancient history as the basis for their health claims.
Part of the ascension of bone broth has to do with the requirements of last year’s diet du jour, the Paleo diet, a New York Times article from Jan. 6 explains. Because coffee and tea are forbidden by the eating plan, many people have replaced those hot beverages with a cup or two of stock per day.
While it notes that few scientifically reliable studies have been carried out regarding the medicinal benefits of broth, theTimes article goes on to document that “[The Weston A. Price Foundation] has done analysis that shows it may provide benefits for inflammatory diseases, digestive problems and even dopamine levels.”
Not all experts are looking so fondly on the bone broth trend, however. “[C]ome on, folks. There is nothing remotely connected to the ancient world, mystically or otherwise, about lining up at a trendy café to purchase your carefully aliquoted bone broth in lieu of your recently renounced double latte-mocha-frappa-whatever,” Dr. David M. Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, wrote in a Jan. 9 response to the Times article.
Katz says that there’s no reason to think bone broth can provide nutrients that can’t be absorbed from other foods, saying that people rely more on the idea that older cultures must have been healthier than they do on actual evidence.
Of course, not all broth proponents are purely in it for the health benefits. Even non-Paleo adherents are beginning to understand how easy bone broth is to make at home — and how delicious it can be to sip on a cold winter day.