Kombu: The SECRET to a Healthier Broth

Kombu: The SECRET To A Healthier Broth

There are many benefits to broth and it is something that everyone who wants to be well-nourished should incorporate in their lives on a regular basis. It is so simple to make and provides us with a whole host of nutrients including gelatin, which helps to strengthen our gut so we can absorb those nutrients effectively.

It makes the most sense to get as much nutrition into our broth as possible, and adding kombu is one of those ways that we can add nutrients that are typically low in our diets.

What is Kombu, anyway?

Kombu is a type of seaweed that is widely used by the Japanese for making a variety of dishes including soup. Kombucha is actually the name of their kombu tea, although more recently it has been adopted for the fermented tea which is quickly gaining in popularity.

How would I use it?

It is very easy to use kombu to improve the nutrient content of meals. It is sold in a variety of ways including dried and powdered. The dried strips can be added to water or broth for foods like soup, rice and beans–they actually help to tenderize beans!

Kombu has a pleasing flavor and is a natural flavor enhancer for anything you cook with it. It provides additional nutrients to broth including iodine, which many people are deficient in.

All you do is add the strip of kombu, bring to a boil, reduce heat and leave the strip in for 15 minutes.

Why Would I Do That?

Many people underestimate–or are unaware of–the benefits of seaweed. Some just do not like the taste so have a hard time incorporating it into their diets. Others may actually be unable to digest seaweeds and suffer gastrointestinal issues from ingesting it.

Extracting the nutrients into broth makes it easy to take advantage of the health boost sea vegetables have to offer. Liquid nutrition is easier for anyone to absorb and especially those with gut issues.

It also adds great flavor so it is not something to shy away from if you don’t generally like fishy or green tastes!

What Are The Health Benefits Of Kombu?

This sea vegetable has a wide array of health benefits:

  • It is a natural source of glutamic acid which can enhance flavors with an umami taste
  • It improves brain, muscle and prostate function.
  • Kombu contains fucoidan which protects us from radiation.
  • It is high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and iodine.
  • It contains a compound called PLG that reduces the risk of blood clots.
  • Studies have shown it has an ability to decrease LDL cholesterol levels, possibly because of its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Kombu is a great source of a variety of antioxidants including vitamin C and E.
  • It even has anti-viral properties!

Kombu’s Claim To Fame–Iodine

Iodine is one of the most beneficial properties of seafood and sea vegetables, and kombu has one of the greatest concentrations. This mineral helps to prevent cancer and goiter. It has antibacterial properties and is helpful in the fight against chronic diarrhea and bacterial overgrowth such as H. pylori.

It aids in detox by ridding the body of heavy metals and chemicals such as chlorine, bromide and fluoride.

Iodine deficiency is increasing despite the use of iodized salt (which isn’t healthy anyway).

Some of the signs of iodine deficiency include:

  • hormonal imbalances
  • dry skin
  • hair loss
  • constipation
  • fertility issues

Getting our iodine from natural sources ensures that we get the co-factors needed for our bodies to use it properly.

Kombu is obviously one of the Japan’s best kept secrets. Generations of Japanese have added kombu to their foods for improved flavor and nutrition.

Adding kombu to your broth can help to improve your health and decrease your chances of cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems, anemia, and mineral deficiencies.

Do you have any suggestions for using kombu? If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your tips, and your idea may help others as well!

Jamaican Chicken Soup (No Cock Noodle Soup Mix!)

This Jamaican chicken soup recipe is a traditional soup prepared in Jamaica.

Why should we avoid cock noodle soup mix?

For years, we used this cock noodle soup mix which gives nice flavor, but contains ingredients we now wish to avoid such as bleached and “enriched” flour, vegetable oils, hydrolyzed corn, guar gum, dextrose, preservatives like BHT, monosodium glutamate (MSG) etc. These additives do not promote health, and in many individuals cause allergic reactions, headaches, high blood pressure, etc.

I’m sure Jamaicans did not do this “back in the day.” I’ve found a great combination of fresh and/or dried spices that provide a similar flavor without all the unwanted and unnecessary additives.

“Eat soup first and eat it last, and live to till a hundred years be passed.” – French proverb

Pretty much all traditional cultures knew the value of soups for nutrition and healing purposes. And soup is indeed very healing. We’ve been misled to believe there is no truth to the saying that chicken soup boosts immunity, but that is because real soup has been replaced by the fake stuff in boxes and cans that cannot be compared because they are nutritionally dead.

Jamaican Chicken Soup

What are some of the benefits of drinking Jamaican chicken soup?

When a base of real broth is used to start a rich chicken soup such as this one, the result is something that is not only delicious, but also very nourishing. This homemade soup helps to heal the gut lining, promote digestion, fight inflammation (which can greatly help with problems such as asthma, arthritis, depression, insomnia, bloating, etc.), boost the immune system, detoxify the body, strengthen teeth and bones, and contribute to beautiful, healthy hair and nails. We do not skim the fat, and often add extra–that way we benefit from the added fat-soluble vitamins which often work in unison with other nutrients. We find that drinking soup regularly promotes healthy bowel movements as well.

Can I make this GAPS-legal?

I have made this soup with cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and other GAPS-legal vegetables and it is still delicious! Use the base of the soup as-is and mix and match your staple ingredients. Put softer veggies later on when the soup is closer to being ready!

Jamaican Chicken Soup Recipe

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: GAPS, Paleo
Servings: 8 people
Author: nourishingtime.com

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs chicken breast (or your favorite parts)
  • 3 quarts broth (can use part water if you don't have enough on hand)
  • 1 large kabocha squash
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1-2 medium onions
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp powdered)
  • 1 tsp pimento/allspice seeds (1/4 tsp dried)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste (we typically use 1-2 whole scotch bonnets, we like spicy!)

Any combination of the following

  • Boniato potatoes
  • Irish potatoes
  • Yellow yam
  • Dashine
  • Dumplings
  • Ripe plantains
  • Green bananas
  • Carrots
  • Chayote squash

Instructions

  • Add broth to a large stockpot that hold approx 6 quarts or more if you
    are making the recipe as-is. and bring to a boil. Add pimento seeds,
    chicken and uncooked pumpkin/squash at this point.
  • Reduce heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes, until chicken is mostly cooked. To make
    things easier, like I do, you can bake the squash whole until it is tender prior to making the soup, then you would just scoop the flesh out and add to the soup at a later point.
  • Remove chicken from pot, and once cooled enough to handle, shred if desired.
  • Peel and cut up anything you’d like to add to the soup, such as onions,
    potatoes, yams, plantains and carrots. Make dumplings if you are adding
    them in.
  • Scoop pimento seeds out of the soup and add in onions, celery, yams and potatoes. Let cook about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the celery if you wish and add in chicken, plantains, scotch bonnet, carrots and dumplings. Let cook another 15 minutes.
  • Add spices (thyme, garlic, salt, powdered pepper, and powdered allspice
    if you did not use pimento berries) to taste.
  • Let simmer a short while until it smells and tastes awesome and additions are cooked to your
    preference.
  • Serve with additional fats such as butter or tallow for extra
    nourishment!
    Don’t forget to have a side with fermented vegetables
    first!

Looking for other simple Jamaican recipes? Try this Jamaican banana chips recipe next!

I’d love to know if you tried this Jamaican chicken soup recipe. You can do so by leaving a rating and a comment below!

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What To Do With Bone Broth If You Can’t Stand The Taste

Bone broth is such a healthy addition to one’s diet that it’s worth it to find creative ways to enjoy it even if you don’t like to drink it straight.

Here are some of the ways I have found to include it in my family’s diet, as well as in friend’s kiddo’s diet who aren’t into real foods:

1. Macaroni & Cheese – This is not something we eat, but I proved to a friend of mine that cooking noodles in bone broth doesn’t change the taste much and will help her get it into her daughter. It worked!

2. Sourdough bread – Replacing the water in the recipe with bone broth is a great way to hide it in something that is very easy to eat. You can also add in different herb…then toast and top with butter, yummmm!

3. Soups and stews – Use bone broth instead of some or even all the water or store-bought broth to improve flavor and nutrition of your meals.

4. Gravies – Boiling down the broth with onions and garlic makes a nice sauce that can be used to top rice, squash and mashed potatoes.

5. Use It When Liquid Is Running Low – I’ve used it in pasta sauce and casseroles.

6. Use It To Cook Veggies.

Do you have other ways you use bone broth that you would add to this? If so, let me know in the comments!