Food That Brings Us Joya: Cacao Nibs

Food That Brings Us Joya: Cacao Nibs
The greatest tragedies are written by the Greeks and Shakespeare...neither knew chocolate.
 

- Sandra Boynton

Cacao Nibs:

Mood Enhancer, Antioxidants, Iron, Magnesium, Brain Health

 

Allow us to introduce you to cacao nibs, otherwise known as the original chocolate chip. Cacao (Theobroma cacao) comes from the seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree. Cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been removed from their husks and broken down into small pieces. This superfood can come raw or roasted, but like so many food items it is most nutritious when consumed raw. Cacao nibs are tiny, crunchy and bursting with the bright bittersweet flavour of chocolate in its purest form.

panna cotta nibs

(Photo from With Food and Love)

Cacao nibs are chock-full of nutrients and minerals. They’re a great source of dietary fibre to help keep you regular, and are rich in antioxidants that help prevent oxidation from free radicals in the body (1, 2). Cacao nibs are also one of the top food sources of magnesium. One ounce (28 grams) of cacao nibs contains 87 milligrams of magnesium, making it a fantastic food to help maintain nerve and muscle function. Cacao nibs are also an iron-rich food that can help combat iron deficiency. You can get about 5% (women) and 11% (men) of the recommended daily iron intake from one ounce of cacao nibs. There’s a lot going on in these bite-size pieces.

If you’re smiling at the thought of having an excuse to eat more cacao products, get ready to keep on grinning. Some studies have reported that cacao has the ability to both improve mood (3, 4) and cognitive function (5, 6). Cacao nibs help to produce one highly functioning body that is focused and aware while also happy and content. This makes cacao nibs an über feel-good food!

granola scoop

(Photo from A Little Saffron)

While there are many benefits to consuming cacao nibs, remember that this doesn’t apply to all chocolate products. Just because chocolate contains a superfood ingredient, that doesn’t mean that all chocolate is healthy. Some chocolate is so processed that it’s been stripped of much of the nutrients found in cacao. Other chocolate contains significantly more milk and sugar than cacao. To help you from being duped by misleading information, make sure you understand the difference between cacao and cocoa. When it doubt, just remember that raw cacao nibs have gone through minimal processing, making them a great choice to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

How to enjoy

Add some crunch to your smoothies or breakfast bowls, fold them into ice cream, mix them into cookies or muffins, use them in granola, or add them to a parfait.

 brownies cacao

(Photo from My Darling Lemon Thyme)
 
(Header image from Healthy French Wife)