Fortunately for plant eaters, bone broth isn't the only nutrient-rich drink in town. There's still a way to reap all the benefits of bone broth while relying solely on the power of veggies. (Minus the collagen, which, alas, is still extremely difficult to get from non-animal sources.) Oh, and major bonus: It's less time-consuming and messy to make, too. Behold, mineral broth.
What's actually in mineral broth? (And how is it different from regular vegetable broth?)
In a nut shell, mineral broth is a combination of vegetables that are boiled for two hours. The water becomes enriched with the minerals from the veggies, leaving behind a nutrient-dense liquid meant for sipping and nourishing the body. (The veggies will be essentially mush at this point, so they are discarded and composted.)
According to nutrition expert, professional chef, Healing Kitchens Institute founder, and author Rebecca Katz—whose mineral broth recipe has garnered a lot of attention—there's two ingredients that really set it apart from other vegetable broths: sweet potato and kombu, a type of edible kelp. "You wouldn't find them in regular broth, and they are very nutrient dense," she says.
Here's what else you'll find in her mineral broth recipe: small red potatoes, carrots, onions, leeks, celery, yam, garlic, parsley, peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, water, and sea salt. While a traditional vegetable broth is typically just made with water, garlic, onions, celery, and carrots, mineral broth's additional ingredients make it more nutrient-rich.
Are there any benefits to mineral broth?
"Sipping mineral broth is like taking your body to an internal spa," Katz says. Practically every ingredient provides a big hit of nutrients. The leeks and sweet potatoes make the broth rich in magnesium, she says, which is crucial for bone health and can also help with both digestion and quelling headaches. Both the sweet and red potatoes are also sources of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and is important for muscle function.
Other perks: The carrots provide vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system when you're feeling run down. Katz adds trace minerals from the onions are not only are a good source of antioxidants, but also contain folic acid, which helps the body make healthy tissue.
Finally, the kombu is linked to benefiting thyroid function and could help protect against cancer. In fact, it's why Katz includes a recipe for mineral broth in her book, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen. "But there’s a synergy of using all of these vegetables plus a sea vegetable in the broth that really ups the mineral content," Katz says.
Is it easier to make than bone broth? (Please say yes.)
Katz says mineral broth is much easier to make than bone broth because it only has to simmer for two hours, versus bone broth's six. "You can make it in a regular pot, Crockpot, Instant Pot—whatever you have," she says. "Also, the skins of the potatoes are rich in nutrients, so you don't have to peel them. Everything can just be chopped and dumped in the water."
Besides sipping it as is, Katz says the mineral broth can also be used as a base for any soup. She likes to combine it with coconut milk, lemon grass, and ginger to make a Thai coconut mineral broth. "Or, if you want to bump up the immunity, you can add ginger and turmeric to the recipe," she says. "It's extremely versatile and customizable."
The best part about mineral broth, according to Katz, is that it's just as delicious as it is healthy, no matter how you have it. "There used to be this idea that because food is medicine, it has to taste terrible," she says. "But this soup proves that theory completely wrong."
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