Cacao nibs, also known as cocoa nibs, are crushed pieces of dried cacao beans harvested from the cacao tree. Cacao nib producers dry the beans and shatter them into little pieces. Cacao nibs are made from the same bean as chocolate confectionery.
Cacao beans are indigenous to the upper African Amazon region. While they can be grown in other areas, most are produced in a narrow belt that stretches ten degrees on both sides of the equator. This includes countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Cacao nibs are known as “nature’s chocolate chips” due to their small size and intense chocolatey flavor. Cacao nibs, both roasted and unroasted or raw, can be found in the health food section of many supermarkets.
Short-term inflammation is an important aspect of your body’s defensive mechanism and aids in preventing damage and illness. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is hazardous and has been related to a variety of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.
One suspected cause of persistent inflammation is an increase in free radical generation. Antioxidant-rich foods, such as cacao nibs can help mitigate this effect. Cacao nibs and other cocoa products are high in anti-inflammatory compounds. For example, studies demonstrate that cocoa polyphenols can lower the activity of the protein NF-B, which is important in inflammatory processes.
Cocoa polyphenols efficiently lower inflammatory indicators such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) in test tubes and animals. Some human research suggests that cocoa can also lower inflammatory markers. A 4-week trial of 44 males found that those who ingested 1 ounce (30 grams) of cocoa products with 13.9 mg of polyphenols per gram had lower levels of inflammatory markers.
Low in Calories, High in Dietary Fiber
Unlike most processed chocolate, cacao nibs are likely to fill you up with only a moderate quantity of calories. An ounce of cacao nibs contains only 130 calories, or around 7% of your daily calorie allowance if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. In exchange for those calories, you’ll gain an astonishing 9 grams of dietary fiber – 25 to 35 percent of your daily needs, depending on your age and gender.
The incredibly high fiber content of cacao nibs will help fill your stomach and stave off hunger after your snack, as well as enhance digestive and cardiovascular health. Furthermore, cacao nibs can only be consumed slowly, requiring you to take your time eating your snack, which may help you feel more content.
Rich in Dietary Iron
However, while you might think of spinach or red meat when you hear the phrase “dietary iron,” cacao nibs also provide an excellent source of this mineral. Depending on your age and gender, an ounce of nibs has 1.3 milligrams of iron, which is sufficient to meet between 7 and 16 percent of your daily iron needs. The consumption of iron-rich meals is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle since iron is used by the body to carry oxygen throughout the body, thereby assisting the cells in their correct functioning.
Good Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that aid in protecting your cells from harm caused by an excess of molecules known as free radicals. When free radicals outweigh antioxidants, a situation known as oxidative stress develops, which has been related to a variety of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, some malignancies, mental decline, and diabetes.
Cacao nibs are high in antioxidants. Flavonoids, a type of polyphenol antioxidant, including epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidins.
Cocoa and chocolate products contain the most flavonoids per weight of any food. Flavonoids have been linked to several health benefits. For example, studies demonstrate that those who consume flavonoid-rich diets have lower incidences of heart disease, some malignancies, and mental decline. Cacao nibs and other cocoa products can contribute significantly to dietary antioxidant intake due to their high flavonoid content.
Helps Control Blood Pressure
Cacao consumption may also be beneficial in controlling your blood pressure. When it comes to preserving your health, the ability to manage your blood pressure is critical. For example, low blood pressure can impair blood flow throughout your body, while high blood pressure puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
Cacao may have some benefits for those with high blood pressure. However, the mechanism by which cacao lowers blood pressure is not entirely understood. The use of cacao is not a substitute for adequate medical treatment, so speak with your doctor about the best ways to manage or avoid high blood pressure.
How can you prepare Cacao Nibs?
The cacao nibs can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. You can either roast raw cacao nibs at home or utilize them unroasted. Because roasted cacao nibs are less bitter, you may need less sweetness to balance the flavor of cacao nib-based dishes.
Cacao nibs give a chocolaty bitterness to recipes that already contain chocolate. Chocolate bark recipes, for example, can be improved by adding a tiny amount of cacao nibs.
Here are a few more uses for this healthy chocolate candy substitute:
- Cacao nibs can be added to porridge, trail mixes, and cereal.
- In cookie and brownie recipes, use them for chocolate chips.
- Blend them into a smoothie.
- Use them on top of an ice cream sundae.
- Combine them in Mexican mole sauces.
- As a quick snack, eat them on their own.
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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
1-Cacao nibs or dark chocolate: which is healthier?
Cacao nibs are a healthier alternative to chocolate chips, which they frequently replace in recipes. These bitter, chocolatey-flavored pieces contain a variety of nutrients. Cacao nibs are a great source of iron.
2-Are cacao nibs chocolate?
Cacao nibs taste like a 100% dark chocolate bar. Fruity flavors with a strong bitter aftertaste comparable to espresso beans. Cacao powder is a dry paste of squeezed cacao nibs that intensifies the dark chocolate flavor.
3-Is cacao high in caffeine?
Contrary to popular belief, cacao is not a caffeine-rich food. Coffee contains about 1/20th of the caffeine found in cacao nibs or beans.