Learning to cook generated human brain growth 1.8 million years ago, study shows
The cooking techniques you’re learning in your online culinary course may help you create healthy meals for your family, but did you know that cooking is one of the things that makes us distinctively human? According to a study conducted at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the surge in human brain size that happened approximately 1.8 million years ago can be linked to the innovation of cooking. Hot meals have consequently helped the human brain size double over the subsequent 600,000 years, while our primate cousins who consume raw foods did not experience the same effects.
According to National Geographic, when our ancestors learned to cook food over a fire, they were able to unlock more nutritional properties. When food is raw, only 30 to 40 percent of the nutrients are metabolized by the body, while 100 percent of a cooked meal can be broken down and used as fuel. When you put your culinary academy skills to work, you’re helping to make your meals more nutritious.
“Applying fire to food also softens tough fibers, releases flavors and speeds up the process of chewing and digesting,” the source explained. “The extra nutrition, and the improved eating experience, allowed our prehistoric ancestors to spend less time searching for food – and less time chewing through tough plants for meager caloric reward.”