As much as I wish my Friday night treat food of Hershey’s Kisses were good for my health, I would be kidding myself. However, dark chocolate has been proven as being beneficial for good health, and cacao nibs are even better. It’s not quite the same as a candy bar, but cacao nibs will make you feel so much healthier.
Unlike Hershey’s (or any confectionery brand’s) chocolate, cacao nibs are pure chocolate. They are simply cocoa beans, which have been fermented, roasted and then broken up into nibs. This means that the cacao nibs are unrefined, pure, and contain so many health benefits you can consider them a supplement. As cacao nibs have more health benefits than goji berries, they are definitely classed as a superfood. And a superfood that has the gorgeously delicious taste of cocoa.
Cacao nibs are an incredible source of antioxidants; they may be even better than even tea or berries. Antioxidants are great as anti inflammatories, and are great at boosting your immune system, memory issues, psychological illnesses and can help improve the appearance and health of your skin. An Italian study showed that “antioxidants found in cocoa protect the skin from the inside by neutralizing oxidative stress, a major factor of dermal structure deterioration and premature skin aging.” (Source)
Foods high in magnesium are brilliant at helping nerve function and improving muscle structures. Spinach is considered to be a magnesium rich food as it contains 22.4 milligrams per ounce, but cacao nibs contain 63.8 milligrams per ounce. Almost three times as much magnesium, and definitely over three times tastier; cacao nibs are clearly the winner.
Lots of people are actively trying to increase the amount of fibre in their diet. It’s good for bowel health, keeps cholesterol levels healthy, maintains stable blood sugar levels, and helps weight maintenance. The main foods high in fibre are all-bran and other uninspiring food groups. But cacao nibs are a great source of fibre. And you can even add them to some gluten free pancakes, to create a source of fibre that will tempt anyone.
As anyone who’s tried to heal a break up with kilograms of chocolate will know, cocoa improves moods and mental health, of course some may need something more extreme like the residential programs for at risk youth.
Chocolate triggers the neurotransmitters that are responsible for happiness, but cacao nibs go one step further. They are a source of phenylethylamine, commonly known as the ‘love drug’ which triggers dopamine production, incredibly leading to a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Cacao nibs have so many benefits and are so good for your health and your overall mood. It’s unusual as a concept, but you could even consider replacing some supplements with eating cacao nibs daily. You can do so many things with cacao nibs, you could add them to overnight oats, to granola, cakes, pastry treats, and even eat them on their own. Not only will your diet be so much more indulgent, it will be guilt free as it’s building all aspects of your health.
When choosing a supplement like cacao nibs, I try to go organic, but also watch for price (some ‘superfood’ brands really up the price on the exact same item as other brands). My go-to for cacao nibs is OMG Superfoods Organic Cacao Nibs (Amazon link) and they have some good recipes on their site to help use the nibs. I personally, just take a teaspoon every morning and enjoy the chocolatey crunch, but some suggest just added to a smoothie, or grinding down and sprinkling on yogurt.
Do you take cacao nibs? And if so, how do you eat them and how much?
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