The Science: 

Broth has been claimed for several years now as the ‘miracle liquid’, based on the idea that drinking a collagen-rich broth directly increases our bodies collagen, however unfortunately there is not enough scientific research to support this.

When we consume a food rich in collagen, its broken down into the building blocks of protein – amino acids, where our body utilises these as enzymes, to repair body tissues or to support a strong immune system, however this doesn’t necessarily mean it will be directly absorbed and stored as collagen. 

While the research is not strong in supporting the potency of these amino acids, broths can still be a great way to support some of our specific population-based clients, for example broth/soups can be:

  • Easy on the gut 

  • Encourages a stronger appetite

  • Easy to swallow, can be made thin or thick in texture depending on swallowing difficulties

  • Provide extra fluid and sodium

However, it is important to note, since the protein and energy can be relatively low, adding whole meat, chicken, legumes, barley, quinoa, cheese, cream and oils to the broth can improve the nutritional profile and is important for supporting overall health. Soups can be blended accordingly and more broth can be added to thin the texture for swallowing ease. Reach out to Aimee who works in the space of oncology at the SAN, Wahroonga Outpatient Integrative Cancer Centre for further tips to ensure you’re achieving enough protein and energy to fuel your body well.

Bone Broth Proteinsbeef, chicken, turkey, pork

1)    Beef use knuckle and neck bones, shanks and oxtails

2)   Chicken use a whole chicken, the frame of a roasted chicken, or chicken backs

3)   Turkey use the frame of a roasted turkey and or turkey backs (similar to chicken)

4)   Pork use ham hocks and pork neck bones

General Tips: 

  • Roasting Bones: this method allows for the proteins to become slightly caramelised

  • Less water: use enough water to ‘just’ cover the bones. The broth achieves its high gelatinous volume and some protein content when less water is used. 

  •  Simmer for hours: simmering the broth for too long can make the gelatin break down and release histamines (high sensitivity in some individuals), therefore simmer for hours, not days. 

  •  Acidity: assists in balancing the flavours and helps to intensify the nutrient density in the water **

  •  Flavour: garlic & onion are great additions for flavour enhancement – best added at the start!

  •  Veggies: an array of vegetables provide flavour and colour, however add them at the end for the best results (around the last 30-minutes). This is the same for herbs (parsley, basil, chives)

  • Protein: add silken tofu, lentils, legumes, kefir and or cheese, all of which can be blended in the with broth to boost the protein and energy content – especially important for people requiring weight maintenance and gain and for muscle maintenance and repair during and post oncology treatment.

Broth Recipe 

  • 1-2kg bones (chicken, beef, pork, lamb, etc.) 

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil 

  • 2 tbsp. white wine or vinegar ** (May want to remove if oesophageal cancer)

  • 12 cups water 

  • 2 parsley/chives/basil

  • Pepper/salt as tolerated 

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker.

  2. Bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12–24 hours. The longer the broth is cooked, the higher in flavours and nutrients.  

  4. Allow the broth to cool. Strain into a container and remove the solids. 

 Another option, in place of the bones/carcass, this can be a great time-efficient substitute – also higher protein.