Cacao nibs are one of my favorite ways to enjoy chocolate, and there are many reasons to use cacao nibs if you haven’t started yet. Cacao nibs are chopped, raw cacao beans that have been shelled. They’ve never been heated like chocolate chips, but can be used as a replacement for chocolate chips in any recipe. They smell incredible, are easy to find either in stores or online and a little goes a long way! Whether you’re a raw foodist or not, adding raw cacao nibs is a great way to add flair to your desserts. Check out my 9 reasons to use cacao nibs, and go out and get yourself a bag today!
One of the biggest reasons to use cacao nibs in a dessert recipe, or any other recipe, is their antioxidant content. We hear a lot about antioxidants, but most of us don’t really know how powerful they are. They have the ability to fight off everything from cancer to obesity, heart disease, inflammation and even the flu! Cacao nibs are actually higher in antioxidants than any other food, including all those superfoods out there we hear so much about. Just ¼ cup of cacao nibs in your recipes is a great way to up the antioxidant content. Even if your recipe isn’t raw, you’ll still get a healthy dose of antioxidants since cacao nibs are much less processed than other forms of chocolate.
2. Stearic Acid
You might be wondering what in the heck stearic acid is and what it has to do with reasons to use cacao. Saturated fats from cacao are rich in a type of saturated fat component known as stearic acid. This actually prevents the storage of harmful cholesterol despite the fact that the fats are saturated. Cacao is completely cholesterol free, unlike milk chocolate chips, which have animal fat in them through the milk.
3. Metobolic Burn
Okay, while cacao nibs might not completely take away all the calories in your recipes, they do offer a huge metabolic advantage. Cacao nibs are rich in stimulants that naturally raise your metabolism. Not a bad reason to eat chocolate, right?
4. Mood Enhancement
Chocolate is a well known mood enhancer, so adding cacao nibs to your dessert recipe can make you happier, just with a few bites and no added sugar! I do suggest adding your nibs to a healthier dessert recipe and not a standard unhealthy one for the most benefits. Either way, the cacao nibs will make you happier and they even help prevent depression.
5. Lowers Your Appetite
Most of us think it’s hard to quit eating chocolate, but cacao nibs actually decrease your appetite, believe it or not. They offer such a stimulant effect that they immediately quell cravings and the desire to eat more due to their high satiety factor.
Did you know chocolate contains probiotics? It’s true! Cacao beans are fermented when dried in the sun, so when you eat raw cacao nibs, you’re getting a dose of all those healthy probiotic cultures that are made during fermentation. Of course, baking your nibs will destroy the probiotics, so do keep your recipes raw for the best benefit.
7. Tames Stress
Chocolate is a natural mood enhancer, but also a powerful way to fight stress. Just a little bit can decrease your blood pressure, enhance your heart health and prevent your arteries from clogging due to stress. Cacao nibs offer much more vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and iron, which naturally fight stress and fatigue. Processed, heated chocolate still contains some of these nutrients, but not nearly as many as raw cacao nibs do.
Let's be honest, the texture of our food has a great deal to do with the satisfactory rating. Adding a little crunch through cacao nibs makes your taste buds feel more satisfied, and the flavor is enhanced as you chew the nibs. Try adding a few almonds or walnuts for even more of a heart healthy crunch!
9. Energy Boost
Cacao nibs give you serious energy! Don't believe me? Try them for yourself! I find they even take away headaches and fatigue from lack of sleep, all naturally, with no caffeine at all. Processed chocolate does contain caffeine, but cacao nibs contain much less, in hardly any noticeable amounts due to their low processing formation. Yet, they still offer a stimulant effect and can even help enhance your exercise routine. Just don't eat your dessert before bed, you might be up a while!
As a bonus, cacao nibs taste great! They have a much richer, fruitier taste than chocolate, and one that sort of reminds me of red wine aftertastes. I personally love Sunfood, Navitas Naturals and Crio Bru brand of cacao beans. Have you ever used cacao nibs? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?