In ancient Greek, Theobroma translates as "food of the gods" – a tree bearing an unusual fruit with vibrant colors that produces seeds so valuable they're considered to be a gift from the gods. Cacao nibs are one of the most concentrated sources of more than 500 unique polyphenols, which naturally occur in plants. (Related: The power of cacao explained.)
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Self-Nutrition Data, one full serving of raw cacao nibs (one ounce or 28 grams) provides high amounts of minerals, including:
Not only are cacao nibs delicious, but they also have countless health benefits. Pure cacao nibs are naturally high in fiber, protein and healthy fats yet low in sugar. They are a brilliant plant-based source of iron, making them a great addition to vegan diet. The following are some of the things cacao nibs can do:
Raw cacao nibs contain 600 antioxidant compounds – more antioxidants than tea, wine, blueberries and even goji berries, according to a research article published in Chemistry Central Journal. Antioxidants are vital to our health because they interact with and neutralize free radicals, preventing them from causing damage. Cacao nibs have almost four times the antioxidants of dark chocolate.
A study that appeared in the journal Nutrients found that cacao nibs contain plenty of antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavonoids, catechins and anthocyanins, which can protect your heart against oxidative stress and help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Cacao nibs have the highest concentration of flavonoids, which are anti-inflammatory antioxidants that help thin the blood and prevent clots. They also help prevent heart disease, stroke, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Cacao nibs contain over 700 compounds and the complex antioxidant polyphenol, which lowers LDL (low-density lipoproteins) or "bad" cholesterol and raises HDL (high-density lipoproteins) or "good" cholesterol.
Raw cacao nibs have high amounts of epicatechin, a bioactive found in a distinct subgroup of flavonoid antioxidants called flavonols. A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology described the neuroprotective effects of cacao flavonols, including their potential to protect neurons against injury induced by neurotoxins, suppress neuroinflammation and promote memory, learning and cognitive function.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology found that cacao nibs naturally contain a phytochemical called theobromine, which makes up one to two percent of the cacao bean. Theobromine is a naturally occurring stimulant that can support good mental clarity and focus.
Various compounds, including anti-inflammatory flavonoids, found in cacao nibs increase blood flow to the brain, which improves memory, reaction time, problem-solving and attention span. This additional blood flow lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as we age.
In a clinical study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers found that the fiber found in cacao nibs may help keep your bowel movements regular. This is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Cacao nibs contain high levels of flavonoids, which are considered some of the world’s most potent antioxidants. This means they can help fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Cacao nibs contain a useful combination of magnesium, healthy fats and antioxidants, which can greatly benefit your nerve and muscle health.
Raw cacao nibs contain high levels of antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavanols, procyanidin and flavonoids, that protect and repair the skin from damage and premature aging. As a potent anti-inflammatory, cacao nibs improve the skin’s complexion by soothing redness and blemishes.
Raw cacao nibs are packed with vitamins A, C, E and zinc, which are highly beneficial for your skin. Vitamin C helps fend off the signs of aging because of its vital role in the body's natural collagen synthesis. It also helps heal damaged skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Vitamins A, E and zinc are a popular acne-fighting vitamins and mineral.
Cacao nibs contain strong antioxidants that benefit your mouth and teeth: tannins that can help get rid of bacteria in your mouth and fight cavities; polyphenols that limit the effects of bacteria by neutralizing the microorganisms that cause bad breath and prevent infection in your gums while battling tooth decay; and flavonoids that work to slow tooth decay.
Pure unrefined cacao nibs have lots of fiber and make you feel fuller, plus it helps with your chocolate cravings minus the calories.
Cacao nibs prompt the brain to release neurotransmitters that are associated with promoting a healthy mood and positive mental state: serotonin (also known as the feel-good chemical that may prevent depression, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation); dopamine (a happy hormone that controls mental and emotional responses as well as motor reactions); and phenylethylamine or PEA (a natural anti-depressant).
In addition to containing mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, cacao nibs also contain the amino acid tryptophan that can boost your serotonin levels and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOAIs) that are used to treat different forms of depression and other nervous system disorders, such as panic disorder, social phobia and depression with atypical features.
They also contain anandamide, an amino acid often referred to as the "bliss molecule" and the compound phenylethylamine that triggers the release of endorphins and other happy chemicals in the brain. These brain chemicals elevate mood and stabilize it, including during a woman’s menstrual cycle. (Related: Superfood treat: Boost your mood and energy with these healthy cookie dough bites.)
Cacao nibs are something awesome to incorporate into your daily diet with no guilt. Instead of picking up a candy bar, try adding cacao nibs on top of oatmeal, parfaits, salads and pudding.
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Watch the video below about the benefits of raw cacao.
This video is from the Natural News channel at Brighteon.com.
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