Why bone broth's my top rec for postpartum nutrition.
Lately it’s been touted as a cure for everything from arthritis to “leaky gut,” which admittedly piques my skepticism. But bone broth actually has been celebrated for millennia for its powerful health benefits, especially valuable within the immediate postpartum window. Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have called it “liquid gold” for packing key nutrients in an ultra-absorbable form, namely calcium, magnesium and collagen.
What exactly is bone broth, you ask? Contrasting with its cousin soup stock, a high-quality bone broth chills to a gel after being simmered sometimes 18 hours or longer (!), with the addition of apple cider vinegar and other ingredients designed to help yield ever more nutritious gelatin and minerals from the bones. Think of it as the ultimate slow food! And during postpartum, we gotta take it slow to heal faster.
I get a lot of questions on this topic, and when it comes to postpartum nutrition, bone broth is numero uno. The high levels of collagen make it an ideal food for maximizing the body’s spontaneous tissue repair process in the immediate 4-6 weeks after birth. Its mineral content supports the rebuilding of chi, blood and adrenal function, and it works in these steady doses of nourishment without taxing the digestive tract (The First Forty Days, Ou), since it’s a liquid after all. Soothing and comforting, it provides a boost of hydration and electrolytes to support breastfeeding and the elimination of excess fluids following childbirth (Id.). An obvious win for mamas on so many counts!
So it goes without saying that in my mother warming practice as a postpartum doula and massage therapist, my top recommendation for a new mama’s freezer is bone broth, stored in portion-sized, BPA-free containers. Ideally a few gallons worth. If you’re interested in brewing up your own, I have a lot of love for The First Forty Days, an epic bible on postpartum recovery, which includes a whole section on bone broth recipes, highlighting the cost-to-benefit ratio and ease of making it at home. “Once you discover how easy it is, you’ll be hooked,” author Heng Ou writes.
But listen, if you’re not the DIY type stay with me! New motherhood is about challenging our perfectionist side and the notion that we should be doing it all ourselves. And the good news is that you can access convenience without sacrificing quality and nutrition through the help of the many store-bought bone broths out there. On that front, my mission was to discover the very best option for my clients. I needed a broth low in sodium and high on the benefits, created with consciousness and respect for the planet and the animals involved.
My hands down favorite is OssoGood! After testing broths from Whole Foods, Thrive Market and even the farmers market, this one takes the cake. It chills to a gel, is not cooked with salt, AND (here’s the clincher) includes a variety of offerings simmered with Chinese herbs straight out of the ancient tradition of mother warming, to further support new mamas’ recovery! I was SO excited to discover this. I sampled all of their broths, and the ones with the herbs are legitimately my favorites in the flavor department. Soo tasty. I usually add a twist of pink salt and a squeeze of lime and sip my troubles away. I love having it place of tea or coffee in the morning and as an afternoon-pick-me-up, and I use it for cooking rice, quinoa, and in all my soups and stews.
On the convenience side, OssoGood broths are shipped to your door in freezer-ready BPA-free plastic pouches. I currently have an entire shelf of my freezer dedicated to these guys. Yes, it’s unfortunate that the packaging is not recyclable. But again, this is about maintaining quality nutrition without sacrificing convenience. It’s not necessarily forever, and our bodies truly need and deserve the best after creating new life! You might even make brewing your own batches a habit once you get your spare time back. (Ha!)
Be sure and let me know what you think!