There are lots of benefits of cacao being introduced into your diet. Dark cacao nibs are bits of the bean from cacao pods, roasted and then removed from their husks and broken into small pieces. When we use the word ‘cocoa’ it is usually in reference to the processed, final product. However, all chocolate starts out as ‘cacao’ beans that come from the theobroma cacao tree native to the deep tropical regions of Central and South America. Cacao nibs are the most natural form of chocolate. The lack of processing and sugars do give them a distinct bitter but nutty flavour.
Fibre and protein found in cacao nibs assist in weight management by slowing digestion. They are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, helping to fight damage caused by free radicals that aid in preventing diseases.
Cacao nibs are filled with iron. Iron is one of the most important minerals because it is a essential part of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is important in the body for helping brain development and supporting a healthy immune system.
Merely one ounce is a high source of manganese. Manganese is instrumental in helping build strong bones. It is an element in many of the enzymes essential to metabolizing food during digestion. These enzymatic reactions help breakdown and utilize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The enzymes form connective tissue, blood clotting factors and sex hormones.
They are also an excellent source of copper. Copper is important in making hemoglobin and carrying oxygen in red blood cells. Working in conjunction with enzymes, copper helps your body produce energy and develop connective tissue, myelin and melanin. This connective tissue protects your nerves and retains the elasticity in your skin, greatly reducing signs of aging.
Flavanol levels are high in cacao. Flavanols are phytonutrients that contribute to heart health, increasing antioxidant defenses and neutralizing the free radicals that damage cells. The ones found in cacao are said to also assist in urinary tract health.
Nutritional Value of Cacao Nibs in 1 oz:
Fat: 12g / 18% DV
Carbohydrates: 13g / 4% DV
Fiber: 3g / 12% DV
Iron: 3.3mg / 19% DV
Magnesium: 63.8mg / 16% DV
Copper: 0.5mg / 25% DV
Manganese: 0.5mg / 27% DV