Cacao beans are seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree, a small tree grown South America. Cacao beans are roasted and ground to produce cocoa and, after further processing, are the basis of chocolate. BUT when the beans are dried at low temperature they are called raw cacao beans, which can be consumed whole, broken into pieces called nibs. Cacao beans are rich in natural antioxidant compounds with many health benefits. Cacao beans contain natural chemicals called flavonoids, a type of antioxidant compound that promotes general health and might lower your risk of several diseases.
These compounds are powerful antioxidants and are especially concentrated in cocoa, a product of cacao beans. Researchers compared the antioxidant capacity of black tea, green tea, red wine and cocoa, concluding that cocoa has the highest antioxidant activity among the four products and the greatest potential for health benefits.
Try some nibs in your next smoothie, mixed with nuts or even sprinkled on your favorite healthy desert!