By now you’ve most likely heard of pho — and if you haven’t, no worries. Now you have. What you might not know, though, is that beyond being the perfect bowl to beat the winter blues, if made correctly, pho can also be quite healthy for you. Our friends over at Chalkboard Mag* are explaining why and walking us through how to properly make a bowl ourselves. No Postmates required. Enjoy.
PHO IS OUR ULTIMATE food group this time of year. With a gut-healthy broth base, clean protein, a blast of spice and a boat load of fresh leafy herbs, we can’t think of any other dish that’s this cozy, nutritious and satisfying.
The simple recipe below from Dr. Josh Axe is easy to whip up (again and again) and is bursting with major nutritional benefits. Learn how to make pho — and why you should on the reg — from the functional medicine master himself…
The pronunciation of pho may be confusing (sounds like “fuh”), but the health benefits of this gut-healthy recipe aren’t.
Pho is a noodle soup that traditionally includes broth, rice noodles, meat and herbs. Since its origin at least 90 years ago, the dish has become a popular street food in Vietnam, and, more recently, an exotic go-to in restaurants around the world.
Although documents date the popularity of pho in the 20th century, Vietnamese villagers claim that it was eaten long before the French occupied the region and influenced the popular broth that we know and love today. And when Vietnam split into two after the Geneva Accords in 1954, northerners brought their soup to South Vietnam where the recipe was slightly altered with the addition of garnishes like cilantro and Thai basil.
In addition to tasting incredible, pho is also the perfect meal for these cold weather months, thanks to its immune-boosting and warming properties that can work to heal leaky gut and digestive disorders. Traditionally made pho naturally contains anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense ingredients that promote the detoxification of toxins, fight viral and bacterial infections, aid in digestion and supply the body with beneficial enzymes.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most beneficial ingredients in this recipe:
BEEF BONE BROTH: If you thought that the bone broth health craze was over, think again. Bone broth is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and it is especially beneficial for gut health because of the collagen it contains. Collagen is a protein that’s used to form the tissue that makes up the lining of your GI tract, and when collagen breaks down, it forms gelatin, which helps to relieve issues like food allergies and sensitivities. Consuming bone broth can aid in healing leaky gut syndrome and other issues of the digestive tract like IBS, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. 
SIRLOIN STEAK: Sirloin steak is an excellent source of conjugated linoleic acid that helps to improve your digestion, improve your immune system, reduce inflammation and reduce food allergies and sensitivities. Choosing grass-fed beefalso provides the body with muscle building protein and disease fighting antioxidants. 
ZUCCHINI: Zucchini offers anti-inflammatory protection within your GI tract, so it can help to improve symptoms of leaky gut syndrome and other digestive conditions. The key to improving the health of your gut is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables, like zucchini, that will help to lower the body-wide inflammation that causes so many gut-related issues. 
CILANTRO: Cilantro is a great addition to any meal because it promotes the detoxification of heavy metals and toxins. It also has strong antioxidant properties and can help to relieve digestive issues like stomach cramps, gas, bloating, heartburn and indigestion. Other cilantro benefits include its ability to lower anxiety, improve sleep, balance blood-sugar levels and protect your cardiovascular system. 
Now for the best pho news: You no longer have to order takeout to experience the health benefits and Vietnamese flavor explosion of this delicious soup. Check out my pho recipe, below.
How to Make Pho
For the broth:
6 cups beef bone broth
2 onions, peeled and halved
4-5 whole carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peel on and smashed
2-3 whole cinnamon sticks
2 Tbsp coconut aminos
½ lb sirloin steak, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
1 lb zucchini, spiralized
1 cup bean sprouts
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup Thai basil leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
organic sriracha, to taste
coconut aminos, to taste
In a large stock pot, add beef bone broth, onion, carrots, garlic cloves, cinnamon sticks and coconut aminos.
Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let broth simmer for 30 minutes.
Place zucchini into a spiralizer and spiralize into noodles. Set aside.
Slice beef into very thin slices, about ¼ inch thick. Keep beef slices in the refrigerator to keep cold until ready to add to the broth.
Strain the broth and discard the solids. Return the broth to the stove to keep warm.
In four soup bowls, prepare each serving by adding zucchini noodles to the bottom.
Top with pho broth and add in 5-6 raw beef slices. Top each bowl with desired amount of herbs, vegetables, sriracha and coconut aminos.
Bonus: Learn how to make homemade bone broth (and why it’s so good for you) here!
Also from Chalkboard: Don’t miss this recipe for hemp strawberry milk, prep for spring with these rainbow veggie rolls and find out the best ways to handle stress right over here.
*The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.
Feature Image via Jennifer Schmidt