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IngredientsCocoa Nibs

Eat cocoa nibs to get all of the benefits of adding chocolate to your diet without any of the drawbacks of sugar. The intense flavor may be an acquired taste for some, but true chocolate lovers will delight in the opportunity to incorporate them into a healthy diet. The March 2012 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" reports that compounds in cocoa help lower blood pressure and protect you from heart disease.


Basic Nutrition

Eat an ounce of cocoa nibs and you'll consume fewer calories than the same size serving of chips. A 1 ounce serving contains only 130 calories and provides 10 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat. Although 7grams of fat are saturated, according to the Colorado State University Extension, it will not raise cholesterol levels. You will also get 9 grams of healthy fiber. Cocoa nibs are a sodium-free food.


Vitamins and Minerals

Cocoa nibs are high in potassium and magnesium. In fact, 1 ounce of cocoa nibs provides almost 80 milligrams of magnesium. They also provide a small amount of calcium in addition to trace amounts of vitamins D, vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. Don't count on cocoa nibs to meet a large percentage of your nutritional needs, however. A 1 ounce serving provides only 2 percent of the recommended daily allowance for calcium.


Benefits

Jean Calment, a Frenchwoman who lived to be 120 years old, partly attributed her longevity to the 2 pounds of chocolate she consumed every week. There is no doubt that chocolate, including cocoa nibs, confers a health benefit. Eat a serving of cocoa nibs and you'll be getting a boost of healthy antioxidants. In fact, chocolate contains more health-promoting catechins, a type of antioxidant, than does green tea. You'll also get the amino acid tryptophan along with small amounts of phenylethylamine and theobromine -- all of which can improve mood.


Uses

You needn't eat cocoa nibs alone, especially if you haven't yet acquired a taste for their rich, somewhat bitter flavor. Sprinkle them on yogurt, in cereal and on top of ice cream for a flavorful treat. Turn a boring breakfast into something spectacular by mixing a few in your oatmeal. You can also grind them with your coffee beans, put them in smoothies and add them to trail mixes. They can even jazz up a peanut butter sandwich.