Macadamia nuts are tree nuts that have a subtle, butter-like flavor and creamy texture.
Native to Australia, macadamia trees are now grown in various places around the world, such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and New Zealand.
Like most other nuts, macadamia nuts are rich in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. They’re also linked to several benefits, including improved digestion, heart health, weight management, and blood sugar control.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MACADAMIA NUTS
■ RICH IN NUTRIENTS
Macadamia nuts are calorie-rich nuts that are high in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. One ounce (28 grams) offers:
● Calories: 204
● Fats: 23 grams
● Protein: 2 grams
● Carbs: 4 grams
● Sugar: 1 gram
● Fiber: 3 grams
● Manganese: 58% of the Daily Value (DV)
● Thiamine: 22% of the DV
● Copper: 11% of the DV
● Magnesium: 9% of the DV
● Iron: 6% of the DV
● Vitamin B6: 5% of the DV
Macadamia nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fats, a type of fat that may boost heart health by lowering your total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
These nuts are low in carbs and sugar and have a moderate fiber content. This combination makes them unlikely to spike your blood sugar levels, which may be especially beneficial for people with diabetes.
Macadamia nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, yet low in carbs and sugar. What’s more, they boasts healthy monounsaturated fats.
■ LOADED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS
Like most nuts, macadamia nuts are a great source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage and increase your risk of conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
Additionally, macadamia nuts boasts some of the highest flavonoid levels of all tree nuts. This antioxidant fights inflammation and helps lower cholesterol.
Furthermore, this nut is rich in tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E with antioxidant properties that may help lower cholesterol levels. These compounds may even protect against cancer and brain diseases.
Macadamia nuts are loaded with flavonoids and tocotrienols, antioxidants that safeguard your body against cellular damage and disease.
■ MAY BOOST HEART HEALTH
Macadamia nuts may lower your risk of heart disease.
Various studies suggest that eating 0.3-1.5 ounces (8-42 grams) of these nuts daily can lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by up to 10%.
Interestingly, a small study in people with high cholesterol noted that a diet rich in macadamia nuts reduced levels of this blood marker as much as a heart-healthy, low-fat diet recommended by the American Heart Association.
What’s more, eating 1.5-3 ounces (42-84 grams) of macadamia nuts each day may significantly reduce markers of inflammation, such as leukotriene B4. Inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease.
Researchers believe the heart benefits of macadamia nuts may come from their high monounsaturated fat content.
This fat is consistently linked to better heart health and a lower risk of stroke and fatal heart attacks.
Macadamia nuts are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Eating small amounts each day may help reduce heart disease risk factors, such as high cholesterol and inflammation.
MAY REDUCE YOUR RISK OF METABOLIC SYNDROME
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factor, including high blood sugar and cholesterol levels, that raise your risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that macadamia nuts may protect against both metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
For instance, one recent review linked diets rich in tree nuts, including macadamia nuts, to reductions in fasting blood sugar levels.
The diets included in this review had people eat 1-3 ounces (28-84 grams) of tree nuts per day. They experienced significantly improved levels of hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long-term blood sugar control.
Furthermore, diets rich in monounsaturated fats – which comprise 80% of the fat in macadamia nuts – may help reduce risk factors for metabolic syndrome, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.
In general, nut intake is also linked to lower blood sugar and body weight in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes
Regularly eating tree nuts, including macadamia nuts, may reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome and contribute to lower, more stable blood sugar levels.
■ MAY AID WEIGHT LOSS
Despite being rich in calories, macadamia nuts may help you lose weight.
This may be partly explained by their amounts of protein and fiber, two nutrients known to reduce hunger and promote feeling of fullness.
Research further shows that a portion of the fats in nuts may remain in the nuts fibrous wall during digestion. Thus, macadamia and other nuts may provide fewer calories than previously thought.
In one 3-weeks study, 71 young Japanese women ate bread daily with either 10 grams of macadamia nuts, coconut, or butter. Those in the macadamia group lost 0.9 pounds (0.4 kg) by the end of the study, while those in the other groups remained at the same weight.
Macadamia nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fats, especially the omega-7 fat palmitoleic acid, which may protect against unwanted weight gain.
In one 12-week study, obese mice fed high-fat diets with large amounts of macadamia oil – rich in palmitoleic acid – had significantly smaller fat cells than those given none of this product.
However, it’s unclear whether macadamia nuts offer the same benefits in humans.
Macadamia nuts may reduce hunger and promote feeling of fullness, which can benefit weight loss. They may also provide fewer calories than previously believed.
MAY IMPROVE GUT HEALTH
Macadamia nut contain fiber, which can benefit your digestion and overall gut health.
As is the case with most nuts, the soluble fiber in macadamia nuts can acts as a prebiotic, meaning that it helps feed your beneficial gut bacteria.
In turn, these friendly bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate, butyrate, and propionate, which can reduce inflammation and protect against conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Some evidence suggests that SCFAs may even reduce your risk of diabetes and obesity.
The soluble fiber in macadamia nuts aids your digestion by feeding your beneficial gut bacteria. In turn, this can improve your gut health.
OTHER POTENTIAL BENEFITS
Emerging research suggests that macadamia nuts may offer a few additional health benefits, including:
■ PROVIDING ANTICANCER PROPERTIES
Macadamia nuts contain flavonoids and tocotrienols, plant compounds that test-tube studies indicate may help fight or kill cancer cells. However, more research is needed.
■ BOOSTING BRAIN HEALTH
Test-tube and animal research shows that tocotrienols may also protect brain cells from conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Still, human research is needed.
■ BUMPING UP YOUR LONGEVITY
Regular intake of nuts, including macadamia nuts, may help cut your risk of dying prematurely by around one-third.
Regularly eating macadamia nuts may reduce your risk of dying prematurely and help protect against cancer and brain diseases. It’s important to note that more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.
EASY TO ADD TO YOUR DIET
Macadamia nuts are found in most supermarkets but can also be ordered online. They’re versatile and easy to incorporate into most diets.
In general, raw macadamia nuts are the healthiest form. Dry-roasted ones provide a good alternative if you don’t have the time to roast them yourself, but try to stay away from oil-roasted versions, which contain unnecessary added fats.
You can snack on whole macadamia nuts, grind and sprinkle them onto soups and warm dishes, or swap them for croutons in salads.
Macadamia butter is another way to enjoy this nuts. Like peanut butter, it can be spread on bread, crackers, and fruit slices, or added to oatmeal or yogurt.
Finally, these nuts can be soaked and ground into a paste to make dairy-free cheese or milk. This paste can also provide a base for various desserts.
Macadamia nuts can be stored at room temperature for one to five months, ideally in an airtight container. Storing them in your refrigerator will keep them fresh even longer — up to one year.
Macadamia nuts are a versatile addition to most diets. They can be eaten whole, ground, raw, roasted, or as a nut butter and make for an interesting addition to main courses, snacks, and desserts.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Macadamia nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats.
Their potential benefits include weight loss, improved gut health, and protection against diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease.