If you’re a fan of bitter chocolate, chances are you’d quite enjoy snacking on cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are crushed cacao beans—essentially, bits of raw chocolate. They don’t taste sweet like chocolate that’s had sugar added to it, but they contain heaps of nutrition.
Chocolate comes from cacao beans, which are the seeds of the cacao fruit. These beans have been harvested and enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. The Mayans were the first to use these delicious beans as a course of currency, and we have the Europeans to thank for combining cacao with refined sugars.
When we hear about dark chocolate being such a superfood, we’re really talking about these cacao beans. That’s where the antioxidants are. The sugar added to natural raw chocolate really acts like an anti-nutrient, robbing the body of minerals and throwing off your blood sugar levels.
The process that cacao beans undergo to become sweet and creamy chocolate also destroys many of the nutrients in the beans. As one example, the tiny cacao bean is the greatest source of Vitamin C on the planet. But there is no Vitamin C in chocolate because it’s all destroyed in the heating, roasting, toasting, and/or melting process.
Raw chocolate, like cacao nibs, eaten in its natural state, is chock full of minerals. In fact, cacao is one of only a handful of foods in the world that can be used as a mineral supplement. Cacao is the highest natural source on the planet of chromium, magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, and copper.
These amazing beans contain 30 times more antioxidants than red wine, 20 times more than green tea, and 15 times more than blueberries.
Cacao nibs eaten out of hand taste similar to coffee beans. They have a bit of a crunch to them and are more easily eaten when combined with other foods (I enjoy them with a handful of nuts and a cup of hot coffee). Cacao nibs can be used in baked goods as a healthier alternative to chocolate chips.
PS–Have you tried cacao nibs yet? One great place to have them is in your morning smoothie! Order your Perfect Paleo Protein today!