Renewed Balance with Mineral Broth
It’s the first week of 2016 and the rain has been pouring down in San Francisco. With the chill of winter here to stay and the holidays behind us, there is no better time to find a little balance. So bust out the blankets and do yourself a favor, make a mineral broth meal for dinner.
This nutrient-dense broth recipe captures wellness in a cup. It’s easy to make and a great, inexpensive option to stimulate and kick-start your immune system during cold season (or any season). Whether I integrate it into a hearty soup or sip it from a mug with a little lemon juice, this broth is my go to for an additional pick me up. Before getting down to the recipe, lets look at mineral broth and why its different from vegetable broth.
Mineral Broth vs. Vegetable Broth
While both mineral and vegetable are great for the body, mineral broth incorporates additional nutrient-dense ingredients like fresh herbs, spices and sea vegetables that inject an additional dose of minerals. Mineral broth is beneficial in many ways and one of its biggest advantages is it’s ability to regulate pH levels in the body. The standard American diet usually includes many food that can throw off pH levels (ahem, we’re looking at you sugar, refined grains and processed dairy). An over abundance of these foods leaves an acidic residue in the system and creates a more conducive environment for health issues like heart disease, allergies and even cancer to thrive. The organic sodium, potassium and calcium that can be digested from mineral broth, however, aids in equalizing pH for both an overly acidic or alkaline environment, bringing balance to the body. As you simmer your mineral broth, the phytonutrients from the mineral-dense ingredients break down, creating a warming, and rejuvenating concoction. Make a big batch and freeze it for an easy soup fix you can enjoy whenever you need a quick pick me up.
What are nutrient-dense foods?
Nutrient-dense foods provide the largest amount of nutrients in the smallest amount of calories. Think of it as foods that give the biggest bang for your buck. Incorporating nutrient-dense foods can make everyday meals much, much more nourishing for your body.
Some items may not be the most common in the kitchen, but they’re great to have on hand in your wellness arsenal.
Kombu: A sea vegetable that is a great source of iron, Kombu is high in calcium, which helps build bones and teeth. It also includes a high does of iodine, which is essential to thyroid function, as well as vitamins A and C. Kombu, a phaephtya in the brown seaweed family is known for its anti-inflammatory, cleansing and detoxing factors. Always strive for organic seaweeds. I particularly like this Kombu seaweed.
Juniper berries: Juniper berries, the ingredient that gives gin that Christmas-like taste, also has many health benefits. It possesses antimicrobial and anti fungal properties. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, which help neutralize the free radicals in the body that can lead to health disorders like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Shiitake Mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms are rich in B vitamins — are an excellent of B5 (pantothenic acid) and a very good source of vitamins B2, B6, niacin, choline, and folate. Additionally, they are an excellent source of selenium and copper, a very good source of zinc, and a good source of manganese. They are also a good source of vitamin D (in the D2 form) and dietary fiber and provide a wide variety of unique phytonutrients.
Turmeric: Known as a potent but safe anti-inflammatory that has been proven to inhibit cancer cell growth and improve liver function, turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, and potassium.
Filtered Water: Not all water is created equal. One of the easiest and most beneficial wellness practices that can be incorporated is filtering tap water to remove contaminants.
Ginger: Ginger has historically been used to effectively alleviate digestive discomfort, but it can aid the body in a multitude of way. Gingerol is the very potent, anti-inflammatory compound found in ginger. Studies show that ginger provides relief from rheumatoid arthritis, boosts the immune system and helps provide relief from vomiting and nausea during pregnancy.
Rainbow Chard: Also known as Swiss chard, this food is a nutritional powerhouse. As part of the chenopod family, chard has a unique variety of phytonutrients providing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, bone health support and assists with regulating blood sugar levels.
Kale: Known for being exceptionally nutrient rich, kale is an abundant source of vitamin-K, A and C. Researchers have identified over 45 types of flavonoids in kale. The substantial variety of vitamins and flavonoids make kale a stellar vehicle for both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Black Peppercorns: This stimulant that creates hydrochloric acid production which improves digestion and promotes intestinal health.
Parsley: Parsley is a great source of vitamin-C, vitamin-A and dietary fiber. It is also a rich source of antioxidants like beta-carotene, which it converts to vitamin-A by the body. Vitamin-A is essential for immune function, vision, reproductive health and cellular communication.
Thyme: Thyme contains a variety of flavonoids, like apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin. These flavonoids increase the herb’s antioxidant capacity, and combined with its status as a good source of manganese, give thyme a high standing on the list of anti-oxidant foods. In addition it’s an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, and a good source of iron, manganese, copper, and dietary fiber.
Sea Salt: Oh, the importance of quality sea salt. These natural minerals are valuable for healthy functioning of the body. The nutritional wealth of sea salt includes vital minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, bromide, chloride, iron, copper, and zinc among other beneficial elements.
Sweet Potatoes: An amazing source of vitamin-A, sweet potatoes are also one of the richest sources of beta-carotene. This naturally sweet, super nutritious food contributes to the broth’s rich color also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich antioxidant.
Celery: Is a great source of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-C, beta carotene and manganese. A good source of dietary fiber, celery possesses anti-inflammatory nutrients that help the digestive track as a whole.
Bay leaves: The organic compounds found in bay leaves are very effective for settling upset stomachs. They help reduce flatulence and soothes irritable bowel syndrome. Bay leaves also assist nutrient absorption in the gut.
Garlic: This magical member of the allium family possesses so many wellness benefits that it’s hard to keep track. It’s not only an anti-inflammatory, but also a powerful antioxidant to its antiviral effects. Garlic is a mainstay in any healthy diet.
Onion: Another member of the allium family, onions are highly concentrated sources of polyphenols — one of the largest phytonutrients categories in food. Be mindful not to over peel onions and always add onions unpeeled to when making broth as all of the good benefits live in the peels and the outer layers of the onion.
Carrots: Rich in beta-carotene, the antioxidant rich nutrient carrots are most known for. But there’s more to carrots than that, they’re great sources of fellow antioxidants: carotenoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, and anthocyanindins.
Leeks: Leeks are one of the best alliums to regularly incorporate into your diet, thanks to their unique blend of phytonutrients and sulfur-rich nutrients. Be sure to always use the greens and the white part of the leeks as the green stalks are where all the good nutrients hide. It’s also best to use the leeks immediately after buying. Within a few days the majority of the antioxidant benefits will disappear.
1 bunch of fresh thyme — roughly chopped
1 bunch of fresh parsley — roughly chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
10 cloves of garlic — smashed, include skins
2 onions — quartered, skins included
1 large bunch of swiss chard — roughly chopped
1/2 bunch of kale — roughly chopped
2 small sweet potatoes — roughly chopped, unpeeled
6 carrots, roughly chopped — unpeeled, halved
2 inch piece of ginger — roughly chopped, unpeeled
2 inch piece of turmeric — roughly chopped, unpeeled
1 leek — cleaned thoroughly and halved
6 shiitake mushrooms — halved
1 7-inch piece of kombu seaweed — washed
2 tsp sea salt
Wash ingredients thoroughly, including the seaweed and prepare all as called out above. Add all ingredients to your largest stock pot and fill with filtered water so it is almost full. Leave about 2 inches so it doesn’t bubble over. Turn heat to high until things get simmering then lower heat as low as it will go and let it do its thing for about 6 hours. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.
I like to make as much broth as possible. Using a fine mesh strainer I then strain out all contents until left with a rich-hued broth. Since I usually make more than I can consume in a week I like to save it in freezer friendly plastic containers. Keeping a stash of healthy mineral broth ready to be de-thawed at a moments notice, makes it super convenient as a base for delicious, healthy soups.
Nicole of wise & wellness