Bone broth is known as nature’s beauty and wellness elixir for many reasons. The slow, lengthy process of simmering the bones with herbs and aromatics helps draw out the rich mineral properties and collagen within the bones, joints, and ligaments — think areas like knuckles, feet, spines, etc.
But we don’t always have the time to make a 12-24 hour (or longer!) broth, and many of us are vegetarian (or at least pescatarian), so the idea of boiling animal bones doesn’t quite work for us either. While bone broth may be rich in certain nutrients, the more delicate, quick, simple, and pescatarian-friendly dashi broth is a nutrient-rich powerhouse as well.
Dashi broth is a combination of dried kelp, known as kombu, and bonito or katsuobushi flakes. These flakes are made from dried or smoked fish — usually either skipjack tuna or the bonito fish, which is a close relative of tuna.
Kombu is a rich source of minerals on its own. Like most sea vegetables, it’s packed with iodine, which is vital for proper function of the thyroid gland and regulating metabolism. It’s also got iron, which helps us absorb and assimilate vitamin C (a building block of collagen) and carry oxygen to our cells. Kombu is also a rich source of calcium, building strong bones and teeth, as well as vitamins A and C, supporting immunity, eyesight, soft tissues, and skin health.
Bonito, or katsuobushi flakes, are also a rich source of nutrients: They are high in protein, iron, niacin, and B12, which aids muscular recovery, energy levels, metabolism, and hormones. They have all the essential amino acids, making them a great addition to the diet for any active lifestyle. They’re also vital for producing collagen in the body — so in a way, this alternative to bone broth encourages our bodies to make our own!
These are big claims, but with the science to support it: Studies show that dashi broth from bonito flakes can reduce mental fatigue, and even increase stamina. It’s linked to lower blood pressure, increasing circulation, and decreasing oxidative stress, and even helping reduce mental and emotional stress.
While we don’t consider dashi a sports drink (imagine filling your 32oz thermal water bottle with fish broth and heading to Pilates…), we do think it’s great to sip on in the morning for a savory breakfast, in the afternoon for a snack, or for using to cook grains or as the base of delicious soups for a nutrient power boost. The best part? It’s fairly easy to make, and doesn’t take long. Here is our go-to recipe for a super simple and delicate dashi stock:
Use the fresh dashi right away, or reserve in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.