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The Nutrition of Cocoa Nibs

May 25, 2010

 

Cocoa nibs are cocoa beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks and broken into smaller pieces. Cocoa nibs can be eaten as a snack or added to backed goods and other dishes for added crunch and chocolaty flavor. These flavorful little pieces also have great nutritional value.

Nutritional Value

One oz of cocoa nibs contains 130 calories, 13 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of protein. They are a one of the best dietary sources of magnesium as well as a good source of calcium, iron, copper, zinc and potassium.

Cocoa nibs contain 272 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. Magnesium is an important mineral that many people are known to be deficient in. Some studies indicate that up to 80 percent of Americans are lacking sufficient magnesium levels. Magnesium plays a major role in nerve and muscle function, bone strength and circulation. It cannot be produced by the body, and therefore, must be obtained through food sources or supplements. Cocoa nibs are a delicious way to meet the dietary requirements for this important nutrient.

Studies show that cocoa nibs have higher antioxidant levels than blueberries, red wine and green tea. The antioxidants in cocoa nibs are also more stable than in other foods and are easy for the body to assimilate.

Health Benefits

Energy Boost: Cocoa nibs contain a substance called theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant that has a similar, though less powerful, stimulating effect as caffeine. It may give you a healthy energy boost if you're feeling low during the day.

Mood Elevators: Cocoa contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid required for the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Enhanced serotonin levels can quell anxiety and enhance mood. Eating cocoa also helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural opiates. Endorphins are what give runners that natural high. Eating cocoa can have a similar effect and may explain why some people become self proclaimed chocoholics.

PMS Symptoms: Magnesium deficiency is known to aggravate the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Forty percent of women admit to chocolate cravings. This may be the body’s attempt to obtain sufficient magnesium levels. Since cocoa nibs are a natural snack without added sugar, they may be a healthier way to satisfy monthly chocolate cravings.

Appetite Control: Coco contains chromium an important mineral for stabilizing blood sugar and reducing appetite.

Improve Circulation: Cocoa is a great source of flavanols, powerful antioxidants that play an important role in circulation. Flavanols help to prevent clogged arteries by helping to stop fatty acids from oxidizing in the bloodstream. Flavanols also help make blood platelets less sticky, which reduces the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.

Improve Cholesterol Levels. Cocoa contains healthy monounsaturated fats. The same fats found in olive oil. These healthy fats have been shown to raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels.

 

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