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Fiber content in cacao nibs

At some point in our lives we have all heard of the concept of ‘fibre’ or ‘dietary fibre’. Be it in commercials or from your next door neighbour, people are constantly commenting on the need to incorporate ‘fibre’ into our diets. But what is this ‘fibre’ that everyone is so obsessed about? With the amount of ‘fibre’ we’re recommended to consume on a daily basis you’d think our stomachs are
knitting sweaters.

Dietary fibre consists of plant matter which isn’t affected by the chemicals in our digestive tract, so it pretty much passes through our system without being altered too much. A lot of very different substances present in all kinds of food or beverages can be considered fibre, from cellulose (also in paper!) to some proteins known as pectins. According to the most recent definition provided by Towell et al (1985) “Dietary fibre consists of remnants of plant cells resistant to hydrolysis (digestion) by the alimentary enzymes of man”. So, why do we consume something that is seemingly useless since it isn’t absorbed at any point?

The truth is dietary fibre is an essential part of a healthy diet along with other nutrients one might be more familiar, like vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates. In the first place, dietary fibre provides bulk to the digestive bolus. This means that it basically gives shape and substance to the mulch that your stomach is processing and helps it move along smoothly from one end to the other. Secondly, it helps reduce cholesterol levels, trapping fat droplets as it moves forwards, avoiding the absorption of these harmful molecules.

The Cacao Bean

Prolific as they are, cacao beans are known to contain large amounts of dietary fibre. Most of their carbohydrate content is actually indigestible, which means that it helps keep the digestive tract moving at a healthy pace just as was explained earlier. For those who are conscious of their carb intake, fear not the amount of carbohydrates sometimes displayed in the nutritional stats of cacao
beans… they’re Dietary Fibre!

The most amazing thing about cacao beans and their role inside the digestive system is partly related to the amount of fibre it contains but it’s also linked to microbes and bacteria that live in the human gut. This famous ‘intestinal flora’ that provides us with oh so many beneficial and sometimes life
giving nutrients could also protect us from cardiovascular diseases as it feeds on the carbohydrate contents that are present in cacao beans. Leading studies have revealed that microbacteria living in the intestines consume cacao and produce beneficial substances, such as antioxidants, which can prove to be extremely good for the proper functioning of the heart as well as the blood vessels in
our body.

So remember, not only will cacao help with your digestion or prevent you from adding those extra pounds but it can also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease!