When you feel your sweet tooth start to tingle, you most likely want to satisfy it with something sweet. Unfortunately, the sugary confections and candies you turn to are not always going to be the healthiest. Though this might be disheartening, there is still reason for hope. Chocolate has long been considered a food with health potential, though it tends to go through so many processes it loses most of its health benefits along the way.
To get the most from your sweet snack, opt instead for cacao nibs. Essentially, these little bits of delight are the immediate product of plucking cocoa beans from their original spot, roasting them, and breaking them into tiny bites. If you are hoping to get a boost of nutrition the next time you want to satisfy a craving for something sweet, cacao nibs could be your best bet.
No matter what you eat, you should always take a moment to consider the nutritional value of the food in front of you. A banana, for example, can make for a perfect snack when you’re hungry because it is light and packed with important nutrients like potassium. Still, there are plenty of people who do not enjoy the taste of banana. Should you want to increase your potassium level without the help of this yellow fruit, cacao nibs might be a good substitute.
Cacao nibs are said to contain a powerful punch of potassium, which can be useful when it comes to improving the condition of your cardiovascular system. Potassium tends to lower blood pressure and strengthen the overall integrity of the heart. If you’re not getting enough potassium and definitely don’t want a banana, grab a handful of some of these tasty little nibs.
Lots of Heart
Potassium might help your heart but there are tons of other nutrients and vitamins found in cacao nibs that help to improve cardiovascular performance. Cacao nibs are said to be an excellent source of flavonoids, which is useful for your heart. Flavonoids are compounds found in many plant-based foods. These compounds operate as antioxidants, specifically helping with lowering inflammation around the arteries. Flavonoids also help to thin blood and improve the way it circulates around the body.
Cacao nibs also contain a number of other useful antioxidants that serve a variety of useful purposes for the heart and related systems. In certain studies, those who ingested cacao nibs for a specific period of time were reported to have lower levels of LDL, which is considered a harmful form of cholesterol responsible for many cardiovascular diseases. If the health of your heart is a top priority for you, see what cacao nibs might be able to do.
Ever feel fatigued throughout the day even though you got plenty of sleep the night before? This happens to plenty of people and it often can be linked back to a lack of specific nutrients in your system. Magnesium is a vital nutrient people require to stay active and functional on a daily basis but it is also a nutrient most people have a deficiency with. When fatigue is part of your daily ritual, you might want to change your diet around a bit and add cacao nibs into the mix.
Cacao nibs are packed with magnesium, making them an easy and tasty source of this vital chemical. The more magnesium you get each day, the more likely it is you are going to feel energized, alert, and ready for whatever your day is going to bring to you. Magnesium has also been shown to improve overall brain function, so it can never hurt to snack a bit more on cacao for the sake of your mind.
Chocolate is a popular snack for many people because it contains ingredients that helps the brain and body to feel good. Specifically, chocolate helps to release serotonin, the chemical responsible for generating feelings of joy. While cacao might be chocolate in a more raw and unrefined form, it still contains more than its fair share of elements that can improve your mood.
Anandamide, for example, can be found in cacao nibs and this fatty acid neurotransmitter is quite impressive. Known far and wide as the molecule of “joy” and “bliss,” eating foods containing anandamide has been said to act as a mood enhancer and even assist a person in combating the negative impacts of conditions like anxiety and depression. You probably already felt chocolate improved your mood on a rough day but you might not have realized how scientific that assumption was.
Fresh and Young
Finally, it is important to focus on the antioxidants found in cacao nibs one last time, specifically the polyphenols. These compounds are important for improving the integrity of your cardiovascular system but they do a lot more. Cacao nibs have the same polyphenols as green tea, which aids the skin in appearing fresh and healthy. Snack on some nibs and fight off the aging process in a sweet and simplistic way.
While you might not need any more excuses to snack on chocolate, the many health benefits associated with cacao nibs can sweeten the deal just a bit. Add these tasty little bits to your daily snacking routine and feel the difference yourself.
Ways to Use Cacao Nibs
Cacao nibs have a few benefits over chocolate chips. First, they stay crunchy instead of melting. This means they can add a satisfying texture to both savory and sweet recipes.
Another fabulous factor is they are sugar free without the biting bitterness of unsweetened chocolate. They’re a bit more like a nut or seed, with a chocolatey flavor that you can sprinkle into a salad, a side dish, create a great seasoning for a main dish, or add to a dessert. They don’t over dominate what you use them in, the way chocolate chips often can.
You might want to snack on them right out of the bag, but go ahead and sprinkle freely, on your steak, in a corn salad, on yogurt, hot cereal, or try them in a beverage like we did here. They are also fun to use along with the melting kind of chocolate for a smooth and crunchy effect in baked goods. When adding to a sauce, start by using a half teaspoon and gradually add more to your own taste. There is no limit to where cacao nibs can go.
Cacao Nibs Recipes
Pineapple Cacao Mint Cooler
Total time: 5 minutes
Move over lemonade, pineapple is just as refreshing and naturally sweet. And when combined with cooling mint and mind-elevating cacao nibs, you have a tropical summertime beverage that can make you feel fabulous—no sugar added. Don’t forget that pineapple has its own digestion superpower called bromelain that can help with keeping your tummy flat too. You may want to double or triple this recipe, keeping the leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon cacao nibs
Blend all ingredients. Drink immediately or allow to rest in the refrigerator overnight for a richer flavor. (Strain if desired.)
Glazed Cacao Nib Carrots