Cacao nibs are nature’s original chocolate chips! Made from crushed cacao beans, these raw nibs are crunchy, flavorful, and packed with powerful nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. Their deep dark chocolate flavor is perfect when you’re craving a chocolate treat without the indulgence factor. Try adding them to baked goods, smoothies or trail mixes. Cacao nibs offer plentiful health benefits and are yummy to boot!
What are Cacao Nibs?
Cacao nibs are simply chocolate in its purest form, before anything else is added. (A "nib" is the edge or point of something.) They are dried and fermented bits of cacao beans. The texture of our raw organic cacao nibs is similar to that of roasted coffee beans. They have a deep chocolate flavor which can be described as slightly bitter and nutty. Raw cacao nibs are the less processed version of chocolate with no unhealthy additives, so they preserve all the nutrients of the natural cacao bean. Cacao nibs are an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, iron and magnesium. These crunchy cacao bits are often used to play up the chocolate flavor in sweets and other dishes.
6 Surprising Health Benefits of Cacao Nibs
1) Nutritional Powerhouse: Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Raw organic cacao nibs are an excellent source of fiber and iron. A single one-ounce serving of cacao nibs provides 18% of the DV for fiber and 21% of the DV for iron. They are also chock-full of protective antioxidants and magnesium. In fact, raw cacao nibs are one of the best food sources of magnesium: an essential mineral involved in over 300 chemical reactions in our body, from nerve function to bone health.
2) Brain Food: A study led by researchers at the Northumbria University in England examined the effects of cacao consumption on cognitive activity. Subjects who consumed a cacao drink before performing mathematical calculations completed them more quickly and accurately than the control group that received no cacao. The lead professor of the study suggested that the high polyphenol content of cacao may be protective against declining cognitive function. Organic cacao nibs are one smart snack!
3) Stabilize Blood Sugar: Studies from universities throughout the United States have demonstrated that eating unprocessed cacao can support the cardiovascular system and reduce blood pressure. One such study by the University of Utah found that healthy patients who consumed unprocessed cacao experienced a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 5mm within two weeks.
4) Improve Insulin Sensitivity: The flavonols present in organic raw cacao nibs may play an important role in lowering diabetic risk. Researchers at Tufts University and the University of L’Aquilla found that flavonol-rich cacao reduced blood pressure, regulated blood glucose levels, and increased the function of cells that produce insulin.
5) Lift Your Mood: If you're feeling a little down, a serving of raw cacao nibs can act as a powerful mood-enhancer. Cacao is packed with compounds that increase levels of endorphins and serotonin in our brain; these are the chemicals that cheer us up, reduce anxiety, and give us a general sense of well-being.
6) Promote General Health: Research suggests that consuming flavonoid-rich foods like organic cacao nibs can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions. A study led by Harvard Medical School researchers looked at the effects of cacao consumption on the island-dwelling Kuna people, who consumed cacao as part of their regular diet. They found that the Kuna people had a significantly lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer than people living on the mainland who did not drink cacao.
How to Use Cacao Nibs
1) Right out of the bag: Enjoy them straight or accompanied by your favorite cup of coffee or tea.
2) Trail mix: Make a trail mix by mixing a handful of organic cacao nibs with nuts and dried fruit.
3) Smoothies: Grind a tablespoon of cacao nibs and then blend them into a fruit smoothie for a unique chocolate kick.
4) Breakfast foods: Incorporate a spoonful of organic cacao nibs into your morning cereal or oatmeal for an antioxidant boost.
5) Baked goods: Substitute part chocolate chips for cocoa nibs in baked goods like brownies or muffins to add a deep chocolate richness.
Cacao Nib Recipes
1) Candied Cacao Nibs - For a sweeter version of cacao nibs, heat 1 part cacao nibs, 1 part water, and 2 parts sugar in a skillet over medium heat. Continue cooking until sugar melts to a deep amber color. Stir in 1/2 part butter. Transfer the mixture to a baking pan and let cool. Enjoy as a topping for ice cream or just a sweet treat.
2) Chocolate-y Energy Bites - Combine 1 cup dates, 3 tablespoons almond butter, 1/4 cup cacao nibs, 2 tablespoons cacao powder, and 2/3 cups rolled oats in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Roll into 1-inch balls, and set in the fridge until firm. Makes about 15 bites.
3) Cacao Chia Pudding - Whisk together 1 1/2 cups almond milk, 1/3 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup cacao powder, 1 tablespoon cacao nibs and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a large bowl. Pour into individual cups or mason jars. Set them in the fridge overnight. Serve chilled with your favorite toppings the next day!
Organic Cacao Nibs Nutrition
Our Registered Dietitian and Health Nut loves raw cacao nibs because they are made from 100% cacao, and they have 0 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fiber in a serving! The antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate come from cacao, too. Typically chocolate bars contain a percentage of cacao, some as little as 10%. By choosing raw cacao nibs, you incorporate 100% cacao into your diet.
Try adding cacao nibs into trail mix or quick breads for a chocolate taste. For a refreshing, antioxidant blast, blend a frozen banana, a splash of low fat or almond milk, and a tablespoon of cacao.
Also referred to as: raw cocoa nibs, organic cocoa nibs