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Nutritional Benefits of Cocoa Nibs

Updated on December 11, 2011
cocoa nibs
cocoa nibs

About Cocoa Nibs/Chocolate Nibs

Cocoa nibs are also known as chocolate nibs. The nibs come from cocoa beans that have been roasted, the husk peeled and then broken up into smaller pieces. All chocolate comes from the cacao beans which are also known as cocoa beans. More and more we are learning about the healthy benefits of dark chocolate.

Because the cocoa beans are a seed inside a fruit, it is botanically a nut. Cocoa nibs contain between 12 and 50 percent fat depending on the variety and growth conditions.

1- Key Nutrient and Benefits - The key nutrient provided by cocoa nibs is magnesium. Just 100 grams of cocoa nibs will provide 272 milligrams of magnesium. Magnesium must be included in the diet because the body does not naturally produce the mineral.

Magnesium relaxes muscles and nerves while also building and strengthening bones and helping blood circulate smoothly. A magnesium deficiency may also cause premenstrual symptoms. Those common chocolate cravings may be an indication that the body needs magnesium.

2 - Antioxidant Properties - Cocoa has twice the antioxidant levels found in red wine and three times more than green tea. Antioxidants from cocoa are stable and easily available for human metabolism. Per 100 grams of beans, cocoa nibs provide 10 grams of antioxidants.

Antioxidant benefits include a reduction in blood pressure, improved circulation, improved digestion, improved function of the endothelial cells of the circulatory system, protection from free radicals and the promotion of cardiovascular function that fights heart disease.

3 - Additional Nutritional Benefits - Cocoa nibs also provide an additional amount of nutritional benefits. This includes the minerals iron, chromium, manganese, zinc and copper, as well as vitamin C. Cocoa nibs contain omega 6 fatty acids, serotonin, phenethylamine (PEA), tryptophan and anandamide which is known as the "bliss" chemical.

4 - As an Appetite Suppressant - Cocoa nibs appear to help suppress the appetite. This may be due to monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors) contained in cocoa. Cocoa also contains chromium, a mineral that helps stabilize blood sugar and reduces appetite. (see link about dark chocolate controlling the appetite).

5 - How to Add to the Diet - There are many ways to add cocoa nibs to the diet. Cocoa nibs can be ground with coffee beans, sprinkled on ice cream, blended with herbal teas, mixed with smoothies and added to oatmeal, trail mixes and cereals. Look for a high quality, organic brand.

6 - A Bit of History - Cocoa or cacao is the nut of a fruit from an Amazonian tree brought to Central American before or during the time of the Olmec people. Cacao was so revered by the Aztecs and Mayans that it was used as money. An 18th century Swedish scientist considered the tree so important he named it Theobroma cacao which translates to "Cacao, the food of the gods."

For more healthy chocolate information, see the links below:


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