Who isn’t looking for a way to enjoy chocolate but with added health benefits and fewer calories? That’s why cacao nibs were invented. Although we are still searching for a way to get rock hard abs by watching The Great British Bake off with a huge multi pack of pistachios, we want to tell everyone we know about cacao nibs and their amazing super food goodness.
Wait, is it Cocoa or Cacao?
Cacao nibs are parts of the cacao bean that is usually used to make chocolate.
Cocoa usually refers to the roasted end product, and cacao refers to the bean that comes from the cacao tree. Most people use them interchangeably!
Cacao nibs are roasted, separated from their husks and broken into smaller pieces. This isn’t the same as hot cocoa your grandma has before bed either….Cacao in it’s unrefined, raw form has a nutty, strong flavour with a nod in the taste buds to it’s almost-as-healthy cousin, 70% plus dark chocolate. If you haven’t tried cacao nibs yet – where have you been? Here are some of the biggest health benefits of these little Superfoods.
Great for the mind
We all know the jokes about chocolate and mood “today’s mood = must have chocolate!” and some of us (at least in the office) know how hard it is to quit chocolate completely. Whilst chocolate has antioxidant benefits, the sugar and fat added make it a harder to justify as a healthy choice!
Cacao nibs on the other hand give you the same benefits as some good quality dark chocolate, without any of the extra calories. The phenylethylamine content and effect on the neurotransmitters in the brain after consuming a phenylethylamine high food are known to mimic euphoria and a state of alertness. Anandamide is a lipid compound in the structure of cacao nib, which has a shared active ingredient with marijuana making it 100% legal, but 100% feel good too.
Great for the body
You know how great antioxidants are? Well cacao nibs have them in spades. Because of the raw value of the beans, all the benefits of the free radical absorption is passed direct to you.
DNA damage, premature ageing and even cancers can all be slowed by consumption of antioxidants and when it comes to getting antioxidants into your body, your leafy greens are a great bet, or certain teas. However, cacao beans, because they are eaten raw and have a less refined state are an excellent source of free radical fighting properties but are also delicious! You may not know that cacao nibs are also rich in flavonoids, another free radical fighting ingredient. Flavanoid rich foods are key in fighting cardiovascular issues with studies showing that under 10g of cacao powder can cause ‘significant’ reductions in artery vasodilation – so get stuck in!
Great for your diet
As well as the long-term health benefits of cacao nibs with their antioxidant properties mentioned, there are also instant benefits. The fibre in a single ounce serving of cacao nibs is nearly 10 grams. Fibre is crucial for a healthy gut and blood pressure level. As well as letting everything run smoothly down below, fibre is also proven to control blood pressure. The alkaline minerals like magnesium and potassium in the cacao nibs can also work towards a better blood pressure level, as well as providing additional benefits such as improved muscle function and a reduced chance digestive disorders or a stroke. Cacao nibs are wheat-free, do not naturally contain gluten and are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Great for the chef in you
The flavour is often described as slightly nutty with a chocolate ‘background’ flavour. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Snickers bar you’ll know that this flavour is rather enjoyable! There are plenty of recipes for cacao nibs around, all because they are healthy, but can make healthier cleaner dietary choices easier – if you’ve yet to embrace kale or spirulina, a cacao nib is the ideal ‘gateway’’ to a cleaner diet!
Take a look at our devine Nuttin’ But Energy Raw Truffle Recipe, or simply fold them into ice cream, devour them on pancakes, add them to your granola or blend into a morning smoothie (we rate a banana, almond milk, cacao and date blend for the perfect ‘this should be desert’ breakfast. The possibilities are endless!
We’d be happy to share some nib knowledge with you!