What are these little guys all about? You might be more familiar with them in more processed forms as the base of many commercial chocolate products but they can actually be eaten as is! Cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been roasted and then broken into small pieces. At this stage, they contain no added sugar and are chock full of nutrients. They do have a bit of a bitter taste but add a nice little crunch and nutrition boost to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, or as a snack with a handful of almonds or coconut.
- Antioxidants: Cacao nibs are packed full of antioxidants, called flavonoids. Flavonoids are found in other healthy foods such as green tea, red wine and grapes. These antioxidants help to fight off oxidative damage linked to premature aging, some cancers, and DNA mutations.
- Improved vascular flow: Research suggests that flavonoids may lower blood pressure by increasing vascular dilation and improving blood flow. Improved vascular flow decreases the chance of cholesterol build up in the arteries.
- Healthy blood cells: Because our red blood cells’ main purpose is to transport oxygen around our body, they are very sensitive to oxidative damage. Antioxidants protect our red blood cells from damage.
- Packed full of fibre: Cacao nibs are an excellent source of fibre. Fibre helps keep you full longer after eating, helps manage appetite and cravings and supports healthy digestion and keep you regular. 1 oz of cocoa nibs contains a whopping 9 g of fibre!
- Good source of magnesium: Magnesium is a micronutrient that is vital to hundreds of functions in the body. 1 oz of cacao nibs contains 64 milligrams of magnesium (recommended intake is between 300-400mg/day)
- Java Kick: Cacao nibs contain a compound called theobromine, which acts like caffeine. Toss them into your smoothie for an extra java boost!