Have you ever wondered if macadamia nuts are healthy for you – especially since they are so delicious? Besides being delicious, macadamia nuts are considered nutrient-dense powerhouses containing essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, iron, B vitamins, manganese, and folate. They also contain reasonable amounts of protein, antioxidants, and healthy fats. These impressive nutrients are what give these delicious nuts their essential health benefits. So what are the most critical health benefits of macadamia nuts? Well, let’s find out.
What Are Macadamia Nuts?
Macadamia nuts have a hard-seed coat enclosed in a green husk. This husk later splits open as the nut matures. The macadamia nut comes from the state of Hawaii.
Macadamia nuts look like a creamy white kernel and consist of 65–75 percent oil and 6-8 percent sugar. When they are roasted, they become more balanced in color and texture. Macadamia nuts’ appearance can vary between different varieties – some seed coats are smooth, others are rougher.
Commonly known, in other parts of the world, as the Australian nut and the Queensland nut, some people also refer to them as Manua Loa — one of the most favored brands of macadamia nut currently on the market. The Manua Loa brand was one of the very first plantations of macadamia nuts established in Hawaii.
Even though several species of macadamia nuts are poisonous, there are two edible types — the smooth-shelled macadamia, or Macadamia integrifolia, and the rough-shelled macadamia, or Macadamia tetraphylla.
Macadamia Nuts Nutrition Facts
Macadamia nuts boost a higher fat content and are higher in calories; however, when compared with some nuts, they are lower in omega-6 fatty acids. More than half of the carbohydrates in macadamia nuts are made up of dietary fiber, making them a perfect choice for a heart-healthy diet. I recommend purchasing raw and organic macadamia nuts that are grown free of pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers and certified organic by CCOF.
One ounce of raw macadamia nuts contains approximately:
- 203 calories
- 4 grams carbohydrates
- 2.2 grams protein
- 21.4 grams fat
- 2.4 grams fiber
- 1.2 milligrams manganese (58 percent DV)
- 0.3 milligram thiamine (23 percent DV)
- 0.2-milligram copper (11 percent DV)
- 36.7 milligrams magnesium (9 percent DV)
- 1-milligram iron (6 percent DV)
- 53.1 milligrams phosphorus (5 percent DV)
- 0.1-milligram vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
8 Crucial Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts
Heart Health Benefits
Healthy fats can help keep the arteries in good condition, and macadamia nuts are rich in monounsaturated fat. These fats can reduce cholesterol levels and lower triglyceride levels — both are risk factors for coronary heart disease. In fact, almost eighty percent of the fat in raw, organic macadamia nuts is the heart-healthy monounsaturated type which may help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
A Pennsylvania State University Department of Nutritional Sciences study gave participants one serving of macadamia nuts per day and compared the results to a control group. During the investigation, it was found that those who ate macadamia nuts experienced lowered cholesterol levels and better heart health markers.
According to the American Heart Association, to maximize the possible benefits of macadamia nuts, choose one serving in the amount of 1.5 ounces of whole macadamia nuts at a time.
The macadamia contains fantastic flavonoids that help inhibit cell damage by protecting cells from toxins in the environment. These flavonoids also act as antioxidants, which can fight free radical damage and protect against chronic disease. In other words, a type of natural disease insurance.
The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition performed a study and found that “nut consumption is inversely associated with the incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer.” These results are connected to the nut’s nutrient density and the plentiful phytonutrients they contain.
Nuts are considered one of the best cancer-fighting foods because of the phenolic acids, flavonoids, and stilbenes that help provide valuable antioxidants that can fight diseases like cancer. There is also some proof showing that macadamia nuts might help reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, an array of health issues that often increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and even diabetes. These health concerns often include high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, excess belly fat, and high cholesterol levels.
Macadamia nuts also contain a good balance of nutrients and monounsaturated fats, helping you feel full between meals. It is these heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in macadamia nuts that can help repress cravings and reduce appetite. Macadamia nuts also contain palmitoleic acid, which can help augment fat-burning, which, in turn, can prevent putting on extra pounds.
Macadamia nuts also contain dietary fibers supporting satiety and stabilizing blood sugar levels, in addition to complex carbohydrates such as lignans, hemicellulose, amylopectins, mucilage, gums, and insoluble cellulose.
Macadamia nuts are considered a copper-rich food, which supports the proper use of iron and thorough enzymatic reactions.
As was indicated above, macadamia nuts’ high-fiber content fosters the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines to improve and support digestion and immune health.
Brain and Nervous System Support
Neurotransmitters are essential chemicals that send signals to the brain. Copper, thiamine, magnesium,
and manganese that are found in macadamia nuts aid in neurotransmitter production. Both oleic acid and palmitoleic acid, which contribute to healthy brain function, are also found in macadamia nuts.
Omega-9 fatty acids, a type of fatty acid believed to help boost mood, improve memory and prevent neurological diseases, are also found in macadamia nuts. For example, an animal model published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior showed that erucic acid, a type of omega-9 fatty acid,
might be beneficial for cognitive disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Macadamia nut oil is becoming a popular ingredient in many skin care products, and rightly so since it is a
very worthy anti-aging ingredient. Macadamia nut oil is almost identical to the natural sebum found in your skin and hydrates your skin without clogging pores. The vitamin E content in macadamia nut oil allows easy absorption of this wonderful skincare ingredient without making your skin feel greasy.
Macadamia nut oil has many anti-aging benefits because of its ability to absorb, soothe, moisturize, heal
scars, relieve sunburn damage, and rehydrate dry patches resulting in fresh, firm, younger-looking skin.
Encourages Eye Health
The powerful antioxidants in macadamia nuts help to promote eye health by slowing down the growth and development of cataracts. Macadamia nuts are also beneficial in preventing macular degeneration.
Pharmacognosy Magazine published a study that concluded macadamia nuts might be beneficial in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers pointed out “low toxicity of these extracts and their inhibitory bioactivity against Proteus spp. indicate their potential in blocking the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.” Because
of this conclusion, macadamia nuts might be a good idea to include in an arthritis diet treatment plan.
Most nuts contain more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s; however, macadamia nuts are a bit lower in the omega-6s. That doesn’t mean it’s wise to overdo the consumption of macadamias. Instead, enjoy this healthy nut in moderation, which helps boost your intake of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to reduce inflammation.
Risks and Allergy Issues with Macadamia Nuts
In moderation, macadamia nuts are a healthy choice to include in a well-balanced diet. As with all nuts, be mindful of your serving size. Because macadamia nuts are relatively high in calories and fat, stick to one serving at a time to help prevent gaining unneeded fat.
As with any food, don’t forget to pay close attention to the ingredients label. Many nuts are coated with preservatives, oils, and a tremendous amount of salt, reducing macadamia nuts’ health benefits.
Since macadamia nuts are high in phosphorus, if you have kidney issues, speak with your doctor or before adding macadamias to your diet to prevent any possible adverse side effects.
Be aware that nut allergies are widespread. An allergy to tree nuts means you should avoid macadamias and other types of nuts. And, should you exhibit any symptoms of a food allergy after consumption of macadamia nuts, discontinue use immediately and speak to your doctor.
The American Kennel Club warns that macadamia nuts are considered toxic for dogs and can cause dangerous symptoms such as weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors. Speak to your veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center asap if your dog has consumed macadamia nuts.
You can get both essential and non-essential nutrients alike from most raw nuts. Macadamias are popular for being one of the most delicious nuts to eat and come with many impressive health benefits. In answer to my question in the first paragraph of this article Are macadamia nuts healthy for you? My answer is “Absolutely” in addition to an already healthy diet.