Many people know about the health benefits of eating dark chocolate but few know of the extra benefits of eating the purer form, cacao beans, provides.
According to the article, “Cacao Nibs: Even Better For You Than Dark Chocolate”, cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks, and broken into smaller pieces. The beans come from the Theobroma cacao tree and provide many health benefits.
Cacao beans are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium which is important for muscle and nerve functioning which keeps the heart rhythm steady. Cacao nibs benefit the arteries in the heart which decreases the likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack.
Cacao nibs also help keep bowl movements moving. One ounce of cacao nibs has nine grams of fiber, which is 36 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Cacao can act as a substitute for coffee. It contains theobromine, a nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels. This gives a person energy and may affect an individual the same way caffeine might.
One last benefit of cacao nibs is it mood enhancing ability. This is from the affect it has on neurotransmitters in our brains. The other reason it can enhance mood is from Anandamide, a lipid found in cacao. Its natural molecular shape represents that of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. That’s why some people say chocolate is better than sex!
Cacao nibs taste much different than milky, sugary, candy bars. They have a much more bitter taste. An individual may eat them alone but they taste better when they are mixed in trail mix or added to smoothies.
I frequently make a smoothie which consists of a banana, a small handful of cacao nibs, honey, and some almond milk and it tastes just like a chocolate smoothie. It is a healthy alternative. The honey sweetens and hides the bitter taste of cacao without adding sugar. I made the mistake of making this as a desert when I first discovered this superfood. I was up all night from the energy they provide. I now make them for breakfast which gives me a boost to get through the day.