How does cooking meat increase its nutrient value?

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How does cooking meat increase its nutrient value?

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If you eat uncooked meat you end up passing out quite a bit of it not fully digested.

Cooking actually starts the digestion process before it even gets to your mouth. Cooking starts breaking things down which then enables your body to digest more of it.

It’s not that the nutritional value of it increased but instead that cooking unlocks more of it.

Parts of the meat are either not digestible by your digestive system or would take longer to digest than there is time before it gets passed as waste. Those parts therefore effectively have 0 calories. Breaking down/destroying some of them into more digestible parts by cooking the meat therefore increases the nutritional value.

The key word here is **bioavailability,** which is the ability of your body to actually take in nutrients and other chemicals before getting rid of the rest as waste. Some food is more available for the body to absorb nutrients from when it’s cooked, but some nutrients are more readily available to your body from raw sources.

Meat is made up of big, complex proteins that your body has to work to break down. The process of heating and cooking meat (along with other processes like aging or marinating) help to break down those long, complex proteins into ones that are easier for our body to process – or more bioavailable. The more of those your body can absorb before that food passes through the intestines and gets put out as waste, the more nutritional value the food has.

In other cases, like some of the key nutrients in citrus fruits or leafy greens, some of the vitamins and minerals become less bioavailable or may be destroyed completely by cooking. So it can be important to know which foods lose some of their nutritional value when cooked – that doesn’t mean they’re worthless – sautéed or wilted spinach is delicious and still quite good for you – but it can be good to know what benefits there are to eating raw vs. cooked foods.