Beef is a very popular meat that people often love to include in their meals. Whilst it is typically eaten cooked, some people prefer having beef in its raw form. Some people argue that eating it raw can actually make it taste nicer and bring you health benefits. In fact, many restaurants will often offer dishes that consist of different forms of raw beef. However, others think that you are just putting yourself at an unnecessary risk of catching some very nasty infections.
Is raw beef safe to eat?
The simple answer is yes, you can eat beef raw, however there are some major risks that can come with it. As long as you prepare it properly, then raw beef can be not only safe, but also very tasty. However, there is the risk that you could pick up some bacterial infections, such as salmonella and E. coli, if you don’t prepare and source your raw beef properly.
There are some things you need to be aware of before you start consuming raw beef on the regular, and this article contains all the information that you need to know on whether it is best to eat beef cooked or raw!
Benefits of Eating Raw Beef
What does raw beef taste like?
One of the main benefits of eating raw beef is that it makes for delicious meals, with many preferring the taste of raw beef to cooked. Whilst it is fairly mild when eaten by itself, raw beef is able to hold seasonings very well and so can really pack a tasty punch!
It means you can tailor the taste to what you like. For example, you can add some garlic, oregano or even some chilli flakes if you like things with a bit of spice!
Nutrients Readily Available
It has been found by multiple studies that the nutrients found in beef are actually more readily available to be absorbed and digested by the body when it’s consumed in its raw form. This means that you can reap more of the health benefits brought by the nutrients the meat contains, such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and iron.
Iron is vital for the production of haemoglobin to ensure the proper, efficient transport of oxygen around the body. Vitamin B12 is another important nutrient, as it helps to keep our nervous system healthy and deficiencies have been linked to some cognitive issues. Vitamin B6 is especially good for helping to regulate our natural body clock and promote a healthy sleeping pattern. So, the fact that eating raw beef allows you to be better able to absorb and utilise these nutrients is a great benefit that it brings.
Read more: Can You Eat Beets Raw?
Risks of Eating Raw Beef
As already briefly mentioned, eating raw beef brings with it the risk of being infected with certain bacteria. One of these bacteria that is often found residing in raw beef is E. coli. This infection can cause unpleasant side effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain. Whilst most cases tend to be mild, there is the risk of it developing into a more serious illness and causing a multitude of complications.
Another bacterium that you are at risk of being infected with when consuming raw beef is salmonella. This is the bacteria that most commonly causes food poisoning, and it can cause horrible symptoms such as a fever, headaches, diarrhoea, vomiting and many often experience blood in their stools. This is another bacterial infection that, if left untreated, can become very serious and can even lead to hospital admission.
Staphylococcus aureus is another potential bacterial infection that you can get from eating raw beef. Symptoms of this include swelling, redness, and even feelings of pain. In some more serious cases an infection of this bacteria can even lead to pneumonia which can be very dangerous.
Can eating raw meat give you worms?
Another potential risk that you pose yourself to if you eat raw beef is getting worms. Like most other meats, raw beef can sometimes be infested with tapeworms. If tapeworms make it into your body then you can develop an intestinal infection and experience unpleasant side effects such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain, inadequate absorption of nutrients and unintentional weight loss. Not only this, but if you ingest tapeworm eggs, or if an adult tapeworm lays eggs in your intestines, these eggs can often make their way out of your intestines and cause serious issues such as cysts.
The heat used when cooking beef destroys any bacteria residing on the meat, and so if you don’t want to put yourself at risk of catching any of these infections then your best option is to make sure you eat beef cooked.
However, it’s important to note that it’s not a certainty that raw beef will contain these bacteria. You can find raw beef that is perfectly clean and free from these pathogens. In order to know if your beef is safe, then you need to check how it looks and feels. Good, healthy raw beef should feel firm and slightly crumble apart if you squeeze it. This type of beef should be perfectly safe to eat raw, as long as you make sure that you thoroughly clean and sanitize kitchen surfaces and any cooking equipment that you’re going to use.
Bad beef, on the other hand, will look slimy almost like it has a sticky film on top of. It will also most likely have a very unpleasant odour. If your beef has any of these features then you should throw it out immediately, and definitely do not eat it raw.
What should I do if I ate raw beef?
If you do happen to eat raw beef and start experiencing adverse side effects, then it is extremely important that you drink lots of water to stay hydrated and go to see a doctor as soon as you can.
So, there you have everything you need to know about eating raw beef. The key is to make sure that, if you do want to eat raw beef, you source it from a reliable butcher or supermarket, and that you eat it whilst it’s still fresh, before any bacteria get the chance to infect it. However, in general it is a much safer option to eat beef in its cooked form.