Bone broths for a sensitive stomach can feel soothing and easy to digest. Broths are used for digestive problems and for general food sensitivities. Broths are excellent for those on a keto or paleo diet.
This post focuses on how to make broths to sooth a sensitive digestive tract.
What ingredients can you use?
You can use beef, chicken, fish, or wild game for making broths. However, if you have a sensitive stomach as I do, then some broths are too rich and can make the gut feel uncomfortable so I stick to lighter broths. What about wild game broths?
They are excellent! My sister lives far north and sometimes makes broths on moose bones. Moose broths has a pleasant but strong taste, it is surprisingly light with little fat, and seems to work well even for a sensitive gut.
Chicken broth is a favorite—it’s gentle and versatile and studies indicate that chicken broth lower gut inflammations. How? People with gut problems often have lower collagen concentrations. And since broths are packed with collagen, it seem reasonable to believe that broths alleviate gut problems. In addition, studies show that adding curcumin can lower gut inflammation so this is added to the recipe. Gelatin tannate reduces proinflammatory effects (nih.gov)Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis – PubMed (nih.gov)Is chicken soup an essential drug? | CMAJCollagen in inflammatory bowel disease – PubMed (nih.gov)Intestinal Permeablity and Food Processing (nih.gov)
The bones, marrow, feet, skin, and joints provide most of the healing substances like collagen. The meat is not that important. Bone marrow is very nutritious. Use organic bones or bones from local farmers that are free from heavy metals like led. Freshness is key! Bones and trimmings from wild game like moose, wild boar, or caribou are excellent.
Try using the following:
- Bones, skin, feet, tendons, sinews, joints
- A whole chicken, pigeon, or pheasant
- Giblets from chicken, goose or duck
- Fish heads, carcasses, whole fish
Tools: Select a tall and narrow pot that is large enough for all the ingredients. There should be some room at the top left so you can easily skim away impurities. Have a tasting spoon ready to determine the taste as it boils. Add just a little salt at the start, the rest at the end.
Tips: Add herbs and vegetables during the last hour of cooking chicken or beef broths. This way more nutrients in the veggies are preserved. After cooking, you can use a hand blender to make a smooth broth with the vegetable left in the broth. Consume only a little broth at the time as the gut might need to adjust.
Summary: A gentle broth feels soothing for a sensitive stomach. Mixing animal bones with vegetables works well for a sensitive gut. Broths are full of flavor that satisfies your palate as well as lowering gut inflammation. Many people claim broths work well for a number of digestive problems, though not all is confirmed by studies.
Chicken broth recipe
Use organic or farmed raised chicken to avoid heavy metals and other toxins. Below is a basic and gentle chicken broth recipe. Some like to roast the chicken bones before boiling the broth as it adds more taste. Another simple way to get more flavor is to lightly brown the major ingredients like bones and vegetables in the pan before you add water.Collagen and Intestinal Permeability – PubMed (nih.gov)
Chicken feet are excellent for making broths, if you can get over an initial disgust.
- Put 2-3 pounds of chicken bone, feet, skin, carcass into a pan, cover with about 3-4 quarts of cold water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Bring to a boil, remove the foam
- 1-2 teaspoons roughly crushed black peppers
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 chopped onion
- A little salt
- 1 bay leaf
- Cover with lid, gently simmer for 6-24 hours
About an hour before the broth is ready, add the following:
- A little thyme
- Fresh parsley
- 1-2 finely chopped carrots
- 1-2 finely chopped celery stalks
Summary. Chicken broth is gentle and nourishing for a sensitive stomach. A little broth before main meals can be soothing. Chicken broths can be used for making stews, soups, and sauces. It can be stored in a fridge for 5-6 days, in a freezer for months.
Fish broth recipe
If you’re new to broths, then fish broths are a good start as they are cheap and fast to prepare. You can also include other kinds of seafood like shellfish which is delicious.
How long to boil: There is some controversy about how long you should boil a fish broth. Some recommend 10-24 hours while others say cooking for too long makes the broth taste too “fishy.” My sensitive stomach enjoys fish broths much more when they boil for less than one hour.
What fish to use: I suggest you avoid oily fish like salmon, tuna, herring, and similar. I have to make broth from oily fish a few times and concluded that this is not appealing or gut friendly. I also found that the whole house had a fishy smell for hours after cooking the oily fish. The best broths for a sensitive gut are the lighter as when using cod, rockfish, sole, snapper, halibut, turbot, or similar. Some also love shellfish, you just have to strain the broth more carefully.
Ingredients. Try getting the ingredients at a fish market or from a fish monger. Often heads and carcasses are very cheap. Remove the gills from the heads before cooking. The recipe below is basic so fiddle with the ingredients as you like. If you want more flavor, simmer the veggies and fish heads in butter for 5 minutes before adding water. Avoid farmed fish.
- 2-4 pounds of fish heads without gills, and carcasses
- 1-2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 1-2 cloves
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 teaspoon roughly crushed black peppercorn
- Finely diced carrots, onions, and celery
- Option: 1 cup dry white wine; lemongrass
- Add fish and white wine in a large pan, add water to cover ingredients
- Bring to a boil, skim off the white foam
- Reduce heat, add rest of ingredients, gently simmer for 1 hour
- Remove from heat, cool for 20-30 minutes
- Sieve the stock to remove small bones
Fish stock keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days, several months in the freezer.
Summary: Fish broths are fast and simple—boil for less than one hour. Use wild caught fish which has superior taste.
Beef broth recipe
Beef broths for a sensitive gut can work, but you need to adjust the recipe. Why? Beef broths can be very rich and filling. So of you have a sensitive stomach, you need to remove the fat which is easily done. You can also remove visible fat on the bones or trimmings before you start boiling them. If you’re new to broths, consume just very little at the time to allow the stomach to adjust.
Get good quality organic bones or from trusted local farmer. Good quality bones is a must to make a nourishing broth!
- 2-5 pounds beef bones
- 1 teaspoon roughly crushed black peppers
- 1-2 tablespoons vinegar
- 3 chopped celery stalks
- A little tomato paste
- 1-2 chopped onions
- 2 chipped carrots
- 2 bay leaves
- Add bones and trimmings to a pot.
- For more flavor, lightly brown the bones in a little butter for 5-10 minutes
- Add water until it covers the ingredients
- Bring to a boil, gently simmer for10-24 hours (around 4 hours in a pressure cooker)
- An hour or two before the broth is ready, add the vegetables
- When the broth has cooled the fat will sit on top and can be easily removed.
Summary: Beef broths are very tasty but can feel too rich for a sensitive gut. Therefore, remove most of the fat after boiling and consume very small portions. Broths made on wild game bones are often lighter but rich in taste.
Bone broths refer to a gentle-simmered mix of bones, trimmings, vegetables, herbs, and spices. The result is a more or less clear soup that can be consumed as is.
There is no big difference. Chefs use stocks and broths in similar ways. The two terms may mostly be about the intended use. Broth means you can consume it as is. Stocks are often used to create other dishes.
You can if you don’t mind the strong taste. When boiling oily fish for an hour the taste tend to become pretty strong, even unappealing. Some believe this is because boiling oxidizes the oils, meaning they turn rancid. In any case, an oily broth can feel a bit heavy on a sensitive stomach.
I’ve had this problem a few times until I realized that broths can be very rich and consuming too much at one time can upset the stomach. This is especially so if the body don’t produce enough enzymes to process fat. It’s best to consume broths in very small servings! Another reason might be bad quality ingredients containing harmful microorganisms or substances.
Probably not. Classic broth recipes often contain high levels of histamine and might cause headaches, digestive upset, and other symptoms. See this post on food allergy.