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  • Libby Orsburn, M.D.

Healing Powerhouse: CACAO NIBS!

When it comes to superfoods, cacao nibs deliver! They are the least processed form of the highly nutritious cacao bean. The beans are taken out of the husk, roasted, and broken into smaller pieces with a slightly bitter flavor and big benefits for human health. All things considered, I'd say nibs are the most nutritious way to get your chocolate fix!

Here are a few reasons cacao nibs are worthy of your love and consumption:

1. They're second only to raw cacao powder in antioxidants, which fight free radical damage to the cells in our bodies and are thus an important part of maintaining vibrant health. Dark chocolate has an ORAC value [antioxidant rating] of 13,120 whereas nibs have an ORAC value of 62,100!

2. Cacao nibs have 9 grams of fiber per one ounce serving! Among other things [enough for another blog post], fiber helps maintain a healthy gut and regulate blood sugar.

3. Eating cacao nibs improves your mood by prompting your brain to release serotonin, endorphins, and other blissful chemicals. Who doesn't need THIS in their life?!

4. Nibs are high in magnesium, which is vital to your body's ability to produce energy [hello mitochondria!] as well as regulate hundreds of vital metabolic functions.

5. The high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids in nibs protect your heart and cardiovascular system. They lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, thus lessening your risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

6. Nibs are anti-inflammatory and help decrease acute and chronic inflammation, thereby decreasing pain [and improving many inflammatory conditions].

Are you wondering how to incorporate this superfood into your diet? I like to use them on top of my chocolate chia pudding recipe and in this trail mix I created. You may also add them to smoothies, sprinkle on your oatmeal, or simply eat a few out of the bag. Be creative in adding them to your recipes, and please share your favorites!