We here at Fermentanicals are big on research. With a little knowledge, we can make the way we consume foods become a nutrient dense powerhouse that make our bodies stronger and more resilient. Because seriously….what is the point of eating a superfood if your body cannot absorb it? That would be a waste of time and a waste of calories. We believe with natural processing, we can enrich the vital nutrients found in our foods via fermentation and sprouting and therefore we can digest easier, utilize those important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and enjoy their functional benefits by preventing against disease and aiding in our body and mind’s recovery.
What is Fermentation and what does it do for me?
Fermenting is a metabolic process where you convert starches or sugars into alcohol or organic acids through an anaerobic process. In other words, it’s when certain microorganisms, like bacteria or yeast, partially digest or break down the food before we even eat them, making it easier for your digestive enzymes to do the rest of the work. Through the fermentation process, beneficial bacteria, or probiotics are created, which are great for our digestive systems and general health. Fermenting is an ancient technique used to preserve foods as during the process, organisms create acetic acid, lactic acid, and alcohol with preserve our foods by reducing the pH, which essentially inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. In an ‘activated nut shell’, fermenting essentially helps with bioavailability (making foods more absorbable), digestion, and inoculating your Gut with healthy bacteria…and we can all use a boost in our microbiome. Fermenting can also amplify the nutrients already found the food, increasing the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – so not only will you absorb more of the superfood once it’s fermented, there is actually more to gain! Lastly, as a nod to my rational for exploring food and mood as a psychologist, fermented foods aid in our mental health levels.
What’s the deal with Sprouting and how does it differ from Activation?
Like activating, sprouting neutralises the harsh digestive barriers such as phytic acid and other carcinogens, allowing for easier digestion. However, sprouting takes the process further when it comes to nutrition. On a nutritional level, an activated seed/grain/nut is exactly the same as it’s raw counterpart. However, when you sprout it, the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are amplified through the germination process (by turning the seed/grain into a plant). Through sprouting, or germinating, the production of proteolytic enzymes are stimulated that make both carbohydrates and proteins more digestible. In other words, sprouting, similar to fermenting, predigests the food, because of the creation of enzymes, making it easier to digest. Furthermore, it makes the grains more alkaline and there is some probiotic activity produced as well! Take sprouted chia and sprouted flax for example. These two ingredients are difficult to sprout, however doing so unlocks the seeds ‘super’ potential. Sprouted Chia contains triple the vitamins and minerals to non-sprouted chia. Flax doesn’t have the same reputation that Chia does, however it is just as super of a seed.
The problem with flax (or linseeds) is that it has a high-fat content, and so the seeds or the oil go rancid quickly. Additionally, flax is coated with high amounts of phytic acid, making it incredibly difficult to digest. Therefore, we are trained to think we should mill or grind it before we consume it. However, grinding the seed does not eliminate the exterior acids.
This is why sprouting is so magical. Not only does sprouting remove the outer acids, it also doubles the antioxidants found in the flax, therefore protecting the high lipid count from going rancid, increasing the shelf life and allowing you to absorb more of the amazing Omega’s.
The Fermentanicals Promise
Our journey all started with Turmeric, when we stumbled on the research proving it works better than anti-depressants, helps PMS, aids the Gut, cancer, and many other diseases. To make a long story short, we found that Turmeric is incredibly hard for your body to absorb.
Upon researching, we found that fermenting is the best way (over adding it to black pepper) to metabolise the curcumin and 300 other powerful compounds in the body allowing for quicker absorption into the bloodstream. This was our first product, and we like to use the whole root instead of just extracting the curcumin as the research behind the entire Turmeric root is compelling, and it even landed us Health Food of the Year in 2017 from Food & Beverage Magazine. From there, we realised there is a whole range of ‘superfoods’ that can be ingested more effectively and efficiently through sprouting and fermenting, and it led to the Fermentanicals range. We love research so much, that we also find it’s important to note that while we love the fermentation and sprouting method, not all foods benefit from these processes. For example, we experimented with fermenting the kakadu plum, Australia’s richest source of Vit C, and found that in fact fermentation lowered the amount of Vitamin C in it. So again, not to hit the nail on the head, but we pour the hard yards over research to figure out the best methods to eat complex superfoods and to utilize every bite to your advantage.