Bone Marrow Food: Recipe and Health Benefits
Bone marrow is a diamond in the rough. Hiding in such places as the leg bones of cows, it’s a superfood no one seems to talk about. Eating bone marrow food, however, whether roasted or in the form of bone broth, is not only deliciously fulfilling, but also one of the best ways to supply your body with the nutrition it needs to heal, grow, and prosper. Loaded with cancer-killing alkylglycerols, micronutrients, stem cells and amino acids, bone marrow can help your body heal wounds, fight off foreign invaders, and build important body parts.
Roasted Bone Marrow Recipe
Time: 5 minutes prep + 15 minutes in oven = 20 minutes
Ingredients: Marrow Bones & Sea Salt
- Procure healthy (i.e. not chemie) marrow bones from your local butcher or grocery store meat department. Stores like Whole Foods tend to have a bounty of marrow bones on the regular. However, obtaining bones in smaller towns like our current residence of Missoula, Montana may require additional effort, so call ahead.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place bones upright on baking sheet or cast iron pan. and top with sea salt.
- Roast for 15 minutes.
- To eat, use spoon or butter knife to scoop marrow from bone and spread on toast or pair with sides that strikes your fancy.
Why Eat Bone Marrow?
Welcome to the world of meat butter, where eating bone marrow is not just for dogs. Bone marrow, the original Primal brain food, is a fatty, nutrient dense, energy rich, gelatinous substance found in the center of bones. This succulent meat buttery goodness that we usually feed to our slap happy pups is also a dynamic and deliciously healthy human fare that, among other seemingly miraculous feats, sends self-destruct messages to cancer cells, while healing wounds, building cartilage, making proteins, reducing inflammation, and improving skin quality.
Is Bone Marrow A Food That’s Good For You?
The answer depends on whether the animal that your marrow bone came from was an average chemi-laden Frankencow who ate a lifetime of chicken poo or a healthy, organic grass grazer raised on happiness and sunshine. Since animals store toxins in their fat cells, eating bone marrow from conventionally-raised, chemically-treated animals will defeat its own purpose (i.e. healing nutrition). Thus, to reap the rewards of this wonder food it is vital to choose marrow bones from naturally-raised grass fed, grass finished animals who led happy healthy lives.
Quality marrow bones are home to hoards of bioavailable micronutrients (i.e. minerals and vitamins), stem cells, amino acids, collagen and alkylglycerols. These bone dwellers are useful in aiding activities like protecting the body from foreign invaders, forcing cancer cells to kill themselves, healing wounds, reducing bruising, promoting healthy skin, building important body parts (like bones or tendons), improving brain function, reducing inflammation and a number of other life supporting pursuits.
How Did Humans Start Eating Bone Marrow?
Around 2 million years ago, before early humans began hunting their own meat, our ancestors practiced more vulture-like habits. That is, they fed on the fallen remains of prey taken down by their generously carnivorous apex predator neighbors. Specifically, these early scavenger folk learned to use tools to crack open the bones and skulls of animal carcasses. Feasting on marrow bones and the fats lurking within them provided our ancestors with an optimal source of energy and nutrition. It is rumored that we learned about eating bone marrow by watching vultures pick it out after dropping femur bones to crack from the sky.
Contrary to our modern aversion to fats, it was in fact animal fats and proteins that improved the quality of the human diet by making digestion less energy intensive and thereby redirecting metabolic resources towards growing larger, more powerful brains. Scientists hypothesize that the switch to highly caloric, nutrient dense foods like bone marrow and other animal products diverted metabolic resources away from costly digestion of plant matter and towards creating more complex neuronal processing centers. This switch is thus likely what spurred the increase in hominid brain size to that which we so enjoy today.
Why Is Bone Marrow Nutritious?
Bone marrow contains myeloid and lymphoid stem cells. Myeloid stem cells are the precursor to red blood cells, which carry oxygen to other cells in the body. Lymphoid stem cells are the precursors to white blood cells, which are essential for proper immune function, and platelets, which are important for blood clotting. Upon venturing outside of the bone marrow and into other parts of the body, these immature precursor cells subsequently transform to mature cells.
The amino acids glycine and proline are also found inside of bone marrow.
Glycine plays a role in the production of other amino acids, the reparation of proteins, the manufacture of heme (the oxygen carrying compound in blood), and glucogenesis (i.e. glucose production). It also aids digestion by enhancing gastric acid secretion, acts as a precursor for gluthione of which large quantities are necessary to detoxify the liver following chemical exposure, and is vital to the healing of soft tissue and wounds.
Proline is an essential structural component of collagen, making it vital to healthy skin, bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It has also been implicated in preventing depression and improving memory.
Collagen and Gelatin
Bone marrow is one of the most nutrient dense sources of natural gelatin, which is collagen in food form (i.e. collagen that has been extracted from the body and cooked for consumption). Rich in amino acids (namely glycine and proline), gelatin decreases the quantity of complete protein needed by the body (because amino acids are the building blocks of protein). It also aids in wound healing, acts as an anti-inflammatory, helps heal and coat the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, facilitates digestion and assimilation of proteins, and plays a critical role in the formation and repair of cartilage and bone.
Calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and manganese can all also be found in bone marrow. However, to obtain the maximum amount of minerals cook the bone to create a broth. Check out the Healing Institute’s post on cooking bone broth.
While not your best source of vitamins, bone marrow does contain Vitamin A in its complete form. Among other things, Vitamin A plays an important role in immunity, vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division, and cell differentiation.
Bone marrow is a prime source of alkylglycerols (so are mothers’ milk and shark liver oil), and alkylglycerols are involved in a diverse array of bodily projects such as boosting immunity. Notably, according to animal studies, alkylglycerols also appear to inhibit cancer growth by selectively killing cancerous cells using their ability to trigger apoptosis.
Bone Marrow Nutrition Facts
What Do You Think?
Have you tried eating bone marrow? What did you think? How was your marrow prepared? Did you like it?
If you haven’t had it, do you want to? Did I convince you?
*Note that eating chicken bone marrow in the form of bone broth is also a good source of nutritional benefits.