On Raw Food Planet, in the search for the most natural and raw of foods, we can sometimes lose track of the real purpose behind this quest - our supreme good health and vitality.
Ancient cultures knew that certain foods were difficult if not impossible to digest in their completely raw and natural state and so implemented methods like fermentation in order to break these foods down so that they were able to digest them easily and obtain their nutrients. This is exactly the case with raw cacao beans.
Fermentation is a process that is highly beneficial to any food in increasing the enzyme activity of that food and increasing the nutrient availability. For cacao beans, the rules are no different and if anything, more essential to the digestibility and nutrient availability of this food than most others.
Cacao beans though called a bean are actually the seed pod of a fruit and, if unfermented, are difficult for the human digestive system to break down due to the beans having a high phytic acid level which inhibits the uptake of alkaline minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.
Phytic acid not only grabs on to or chelates important minerals, but also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food.
Once fermentation of the raw cacao beans begins, the sugar in the pulp is converted into acids that change the chemical composition of the beans. Fermentation activates enzymes that create the flavor precursors which are the beginning of chocolate as we know it.
Fermentation improves digestibility of the beans and increases nutrient availability while reducing bitterness.
“Raw unfermented cacao beans and normal cocoa powder are extremely high in phytates.
Through observation I have witnessed the powerful anti-nutritional effects of a diet high in phytate-rich grains on my family members, with many health problems as a result, including tooth decay, nutrient deficiencies, lack of appetite and digestive problems.” Ramiel Nagel , Wise Traditions (Weston Price Foundation)
Navitas Cacao beans are lightly fermented which renders them higher in health promoting antioxidant nutrients than fully fermented beans.
The fermentation process transforms the flavor to what we associate with cocoa and chocolate. Without the fermentation process there will not be any chocolate flavor.
Once extracted from the pod-like fruit, purified water is then used to cleanse the beans. These whole beans are unpeeled and do not contain sugar or any other additives.
- Dried Cacao Beans