As my own diet moves more towards raw foods I have become aware of the arguments against cooking. This is not to say I am against cooking, but rather I am more aware of techniques and advantages of cooking at low temperatures and indeed not at all. I was triggered today to write about this because I wanted to know the difference between cacao and cocoa, so let me finish that here and now.
From creativenaturesuperfoods.co... it says
Cacao’ refers to any of the food products derived from the cacao bean that have remained ‘raw’. These products include cacao nibs, cacao butter, cacao mass or paste, but most commonly cacao powder. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans, this process retains the living enzymes and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cacao and Cocoa look the same however there is a big difference. Cocoa powder is the ‘raw cacao’ that’s been roasted at high temperatures. The effect of roasting the cacao is the molecular structure of the cocoa bean changes, lowering the overall nutritional value and destroying the health benefits"
So that's that. Cacao is somehow a healthier option. Obviously raw fits the same bill of retaining enzymes. It is actually possible to cook and retain enzymes, the generally agreed maximum temperature is around 70 degrees and above that enzymes are destroyed.
Enzymes are obviously important, they are the teeth that break food down into useful nutrition. I think it is right to say without enzymes we could eat all the food we want but the body could not make use of the food.
Up to about age 30 our bodies generate all the enzymes we need. After age 30 the body produces less and less enzymes. This is why things like probiotic rich foods (which add useful enzymes) are worth considering later in life, to ensure our digestive systems can make use of the foods we consume. It is also likely that lack of sufficient enzymes is one reason we tend to suffer from chronic illnesses as we age.