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Cooked Food: The key to human smarts?

September 5, 2008

There’s just something about eating or cooking a hot meal that makes me feel at home.  Over the years, I’ve lived in five different places, including a short stint renting a bedroom in someone else’s home in Ohio until my official apartment became available.  It was a place to hang my hat, but not my frying pan.  Because I couldn’t cook in my room, it just didn’t feel like home.

But cooking food may do more than feed our tummies and our home-hungry souls.  It may also be the key to smarts.

In the online magazine LiveScience, Robin Nixon reports that cooked food may have helped us human beings develop our brains.  Researcher Philipp Khaitovich and his associates examined why human brain development spurted around 200,000 years ago.  The researchers believe that the human brain started evolving more rapidly when humans started cooking their raw food.

Digesting raw food takes a lot of the body’s energy, according to the theory.  But by learning to cook food before we eat it, we humans have freed up more calories and nutrients for brain growth instead of digestion.

It’s an interesting  theory — and another reason to “Kiss the Cook”!

— Cindy Hampel

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