Updated: May 27, 2020
Cacao, like chocolate, is one of the more under-appreciated superfoods in my opinion. If you follow me on Instagram, then you've seen one (or many) pictures of my smoothies piled high with cacao nibs. Other than just adding a delicious crunch to my post-workout smoothie, cacao provides nutrients that promote muscle recovery, alertness, weight loss, and a boosted mood!
Today I'm sharing all of the information you need to know about cacao nibs, why they're so great, and how to make sure you're getting the highest quality!
Aids in muscle recovery ~
Cacao contains many vital micronutrients and minerals, but one that it has a particularly high amount of is magnesium. This crucial element is key for repairing your muscles after a workout and preventing muscle cramps.
Increases mental alertness + enhances mood ~
Cacao in it's raw form helps your body produce phenylethylamine (PEA) which causes our minds to sharpen and mood to enhance. Cacao also contains anandamide which is known as the "bliss molecule". This further boosts those feel-good feelings.
Assists with weight loss ~
Raw cacao nibs are extremely high in fiber. In fact, just 2 Tbsp. contains about 9 grams of fiber! This not only assists with boosted satiety level and decreased cravings between meals - it also helps to stabilize your blood glucose levels!
How to pick high quality cacao ~
I like to make sure of two factors when I pick out my cacao. First, it's organic. This is really important as many of the benefits of cacao disappear when you're using non-organic. Second, that it's raw. The raw form of cacao contains higher levels of the beneficial nutrients that your body needs! I recommend starting off with about 1 Tbsp. of cacao nibs added on top of your smoothie or blended in. Careful when you chew on cacao nibs - they can be extra crunchy and hard. Chew them slowly so that you don't crack a tooth! You can help reduce this risk simply by grinding your cacao nibs in a coffee grinder and throwing it in your smoothie.