When in its pure, raw form, cacao is one of nature’s most fantastic superfoods. The secrets to chocolate’s incredible health benefits are unlocked when it is eaten in its raw, unheated state. These are the very best raw cacao nibs available — we’ve researched them all, tried them all, and not only are Sunfood cacao nibs incredibly nutritious, they’re the most delicious we’ve ever had. Deep, complex, winey, and fruity-floral, these cacao nibs lead the superfood industry in quality, flavor, and antioxidant value. They’re gorgeous and clean, and are one of the most unique, beautiful and primal chocolate products on earth. ~
For the true, true stories behind this incredible foodstuff, read on.
Cacao is the seed (nut) of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao Beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money! When in its pure, raw form, cacao is one of nature’s most fantastic superfoods. The secrets to chocolate’s incredible health benefits are unlocked when it is eaten in its raw, unheated state.
These are the very best raw cacao nibs available — we’ve researched them all, tried them all, and not only are Sunfood cacao nibs incredibly nutritious, they’re the most delicious we’ve ever had. Deep, complex, winey, fruity-floral and not too bitter (unlike many cacao nibs), Sunfood's Raw Organic Cacao Nibs lead the superfood industry in quality, flavor, eco-packaging, and antioxidant value. Sunfood’s Raw Organic Cacao Nibs are created from gorgeous, clean, microbe-free 100% pure raw cacao beans, and are one of the most unique, beautiful and primal chocolate products on earth.
These beans come from the most prized strain of heirloom cacao in Ecuador, known as Arriba Nacional-Fino de Aroma because of its outstanding bouquet. This variety of cacao is considered worldwide to have the finest floral aroma and flavor profile, as well as the highest amount of bioavailable nutrients and minerals. We are devoted to promoting the cultivation of this incredibly fragrant heirloom cacao variety that is unaltered from its natural integrity. Like so many other natural foods, this heirloom species has been hybridized by many growers to increase yield. However, we believe that hybridization greatly compromises quality, so we use only the Arriba Nacional-Fino de Aroma heirloom variety.
Sunfood's raw and organic cacao nibs are packed with the antioxidants, neurotransmitters, vitamins and minerals you need to lead a vibrant, healthy, radiant lifestyle. With their full-bodied flavor, rich aroma, and satisfyingly tender-crunchy texture, they’re often called “nature’s chocolate chips.” They’re amazing in smoothies and desserts, and sprinkled into savory dishes like salads, soups or chili. Or you can just snack on a handful — you may never drink coffee again.
What are raw organic cacao nibs?
All chocolate is made from cacao beans (also known as cocoa beans). Cacao is chocolate! All the antioxidant value, mineral benefits, neurotransmitter rejuvenating properties, and overall health-giving qualities of chocolate are found in raw cacao beans.
All chocolate comes from the Theobroma cacao tree. The cacao pod grows from a stalk on the tree. When you open a cacao pod, you find cacao fruit and seeds. The seeds are also known as cacao beans. Cacao beans (cocoa beans) are the purest, most natural form of chocolate. All chocolate comes directly from these cacao beans. When broken into little pieces, cacao beans become the original chocolate chips: cacao nibs.
Most other cacao products are exposed to temperatures as high as 300 degrees Fahrenheit during processing. Our cacao processing temperatures are never allowed to exceed 120 degrees. A high-accuracy thermometer is used throughout processing to ensure this quality and standard. No chemicals or solvents, such as hexane, are used at any point in processing. These are as pure, clean and raw as you can get if you’re not eating out a fresh cacao pod!
Why cacao nibs are so great for you
Raw cacao (raw chocolate, raw cocoa) is one of nature's most fantastic superfoods due to its high mineral content and wealth of antioxidants. Since many of the special properties of cacao are destroyed or lost by cooking, refining, and processing, planet earth's favorite food is still unknown to most of us. Now we get to reconnect with the power of real, raw chocolate! Raw cacao offers fantastic hope for chocoholics everywhere. You can turn cravings for cooked, processed, chocolate into super-nutrition of the highest order.
Sunfood's Raw Organic Cacao Nibs are packed with antioxidants, including polyphenols, catechins and epicatechins. In addition, flavonols help the body produce nitric oxide, a compound essential for proper heart function. Cacao nibs offer a powerful boost of phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide, which both enhance positive feelings. Raw cacao is also a natural source of trace minerals, such as manganese, zinc and copper, which help to maintain healthy blood while theobromine, iron, chromium, magnesium and omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in heart health, brain function, growth and development. Raw cacao is one of the most phytochemically complex foods on Earth, and we could write a dissertation on the health benefits of raw cacao, but here’s some fascinating detail about some of the primary beneficial ingredients in cacao, and their health benefits:
Cacao appears to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium is one of the great alkaline minerals. It works to support the heart, boost our mental focus, and relieve constipation. Magnesium, along with other components of cacao, has been linked with a lessening of PMS symptoms. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during their monthly cycle. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and has been tied to increased happiness and improved mood. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in magnesium! Raw cacao has enough magnesium to help reverse deficiencies of this mineral.
Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world. This point is so astounding that it bears repeating: No food exhibits greater antioxidant capacity than cacao! These antioxidants include polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. By weight, cacao has more antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, acai, pomegranates, and goji berries COMBINED.
Raw cacao contains approximately 314% of the U.S. RDA of iron per 1 ounce (28 gram) serving. Iron plays an essential role in the body, working to carry oxygen from the lungs to every part of the body. Consuming cacao is one of the best ways to keep our blood healthy.
Many of the enzymes in the human body would not exist without the presence of zinc. This mineral is a vital component in over 200 enzymes throughout the body, and it is a cofactor of hundreds more. Raw cacao contains zinc, which plays a critical role in the health of the immune system, liver, pancreas, and skin. Additionally, zinc is essential for sexual development, fertility, and cell growth.
This mineral plays a crucial role in the formation of bone, cartilage, and connective tissue. Manganese helps assist iron in the oxygenation of the blood and formation of hemoglobin, and helps to promote healthy joints.
Traditionally known as a powerful antimicrobial, copper also works to cleanse the lymphatic system and stimulate peristalsis. In the human body, copper helps to build healthy blood, making it a natural partner to iron and manganese.
Raw cacao contains high levels of Phenylethylamine (PEA). Often known as “The Love Chemical,” PEA is the chemical produced in our bodies when we fall in love. This is likely one of the main reasons why love and chocolate have such a deep connection. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness.
An essential amino acid which is transformed into important stress-protective neurotransmitters including serotonin and melatonin. Tryptophan is heat sensitive and therefore it is cooked out in many high protein foods and in conventional processed chocolate products.
The primary neurotransmitter in the human body, Serotonin is similar in its chemistry to tryptophan and melatonin. Serotonin helps us build up our stress defense shield which supports our immune system in times of high demand.
Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Raw cacao contains essential omega 6 fatty acids, which form an integral part of our cell walls and allow for more efficient communication between cells.
The human body naturally produces endorphins after exercise, neurotransmitters which flood our brains with positive feelings. One of these neurotransmitters is anandamide, also known as “The Bliss Chemical.” While humans have to work hard to produce enough anandamide to reach higher levels of ecstasty, only one plant produces this chemical as part of its normal metabolism: cacao! Not only does cacao contain anandamide in high concentrations, it also contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies' ability to break down the bliss chemical. When we eat raw cacao, the anandamide produced by our brains along with the anadamide found in cacao may continue to circulate in the body for extended periods of time, helping us feel great all day long.
Cacao contains about 1% theobromine. Most commonly found in cacao, this chemical element is an effective anti-bacterial substance which works to kill Streptococci mutans (the primary organism responsible for cavities). Theobromine is a chemical relative of caffeine but it does not act as a nervous system stimulant. Theobromine dilates the cardiovascular system making the hearts job easier. The combination of theobromine and magnesium make cacao an important part of a heart-healthy diet.
How to eat cacao nibs
We probably don’t have to tell you how to eat chocolate chips. You can use these anywhere you’d use chocolate chips, but there’s no sugar, no processing, no added anything — just pure intense chocolatey goodness. Add nibs to all your favorite smoothies (blended inside, and sprinkled on top), protein drinks, yogurts, desserts, atop fresh fruit, or anything else you can think of. They’re awesome for baking, in primal pancakes, cookies, and muffins. Just one or two spoonfuls can transform any recipe into a healthy chocolate treat. Or you can go savory, and sprinkle raw cacao nibs on salads, guacamole, hummus, chili, stews, braises, soups, dips, anywhere you want a deep dark complex taste, a delightful tender crunch, and a nutritional boost. Or, like chocolate chips, you can just eat these by the handful. (But unlike chocolate chips, you can do it without guilt.)
We especially love making deep delicious beverages with cacao nibs — using a nut milk base, a high-speed blender, and as much coconut sugar, salt, and spice (cinnamon, chili, vanilla) as our palate is craving, we find ourselves blending up amazing chocolatey drinks constantly — iced in hot weather, and warmed in cold weather.