Cocoa nibs, the crushed form of cocoa beans, have received their fair share of attention recently due to their immense health benefits. But what exactly are they? In short, cocoa nibs are the fermented, dried, and shredded version of pure cocoa beans. Cocoa nibs have an intense, bitter, and chocolaty flavor with a crunchy texture.
Cocoa beans were first cultivated in South America around 1500 BC, although initially they were used as currency and not as a foodstuff. Cocoa nibs only began to be used as a food item hundreds of years after they were initially planted. Cocoa eventually spread to other regions of the world. The cocoa pulp was used by Mesoamericans for a fermented bitter-sweet beverage, which developed much fanfare in the region long before the concept of hot chocolate!
Cocoa nibs are beneficial for both the body and the mind. Packed with many mood-relieving chemicals, cocoa nibs can give you the same cheery feeling you get after having dark chocolate. Cocoa nibs are also packed with flavonoids, which have shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Not only that, cocoa nibs may be good for your gut health because of their excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Considering cocoa nibs health benefits, how can you leverage this amazing food into your daily diet? For starters, including cocoa nibs into baked goods, breakfast items, coffee, and tea is a very traditional way to consume cocoa nibs. You can also add cocoa nibs to smoothies, oatmeal, homemade granola bars, and cookies. We love cocoa nibs for their intense chocolate flavor. Their complex bitterness provides the perfect juxtaposition of flavor in desserts and other sweet dishes. Find cocoa nibs in the natural food section of your local grocery store, online, or in specialty health food stores.