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14 Amazing Health Benefits Of Macadamia Nuts

14 Amazing Health Benefits Of Macadamia Nuts December 6, 2017

These are the nuts worth going nuts for. Whether it is taking care of your heart or keeping you upbeat all the day, macadamia nuts can do it all.

Ah well, we are not telling you more. Just read and find out for yourself!

Table Of Contents

What Are Macadamia Nuts?

Macadamia nuts are the fruits of the macadamia tree, which is native to Australia. Also called Queensland nuts, bush nuts, maroochi nuts, Hawaii nuts, and bauple nuts – macadamia nuts are commercially very important.

Being from the Proteaceae family of plants, the trees can reach as much as 40 feet in height. The leaves are elliptical and usually arranged in whorls of three to six. The flowers are slender and about 10 inches long. Macadamia nuts are extremely hard and woody. They have a pointed apex and contain one or two seeds.

And yes, the nuts do have a piece of history.

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What Is The History Of Macadamia Nuts?

Here’s some trivia.

It was the German-Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller who gave the genus the name Macadamia way back in 1857. The name was in honor of John Macadam, a Scottish-Australian chemist, politician, and medical teacher.

In the late 1800s, the macadamia seedlings were introduced to Hawaii, and it was not until the 1970s that the macadamia nut industry in Australia began to flourish.

Flourish. There is a reason these nuts flourished at all in the first place. And before we get into the details, let’s take a look at the most important health aspects of these nuts – or why these nuts are considered healthy.

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What Makes Macadamia Nuts Healthy?

These nuts contain some of the most important essential vitamins and minerals – some of which include vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, folate, manganese, protein, healthy fats, and the all-powerful antioxidants.

 They are also rich in oleic acid and omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid, which is the very same fatty acid found in olive oil.

 Not just these. There are numerous other nutrients these nuts contain.

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Macadamia Nuts Nutrition Facts

Macadamias are a rich source of Vitamin A, iron, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folates. They also contain moderate amounts of zinc, copper, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Macadamia contains antioxidants like polyphenols, Amino acids, flavones, and selenium. It is also a good source of carbohydrates like sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, and some starch-based carbohydrates.

NutrientUnitValue per 100.0g1.0 cup, whole or halves 134g1.0 oz (10-12 kernels) 28.35g
Proximates
Waterg1.361.820.39
Energykcal718962204
Proteing7.9110.602.24
Total lipid (fat)g75.77101.5321.48
Carbohydrate, by differenceg13.8218.523.92
Fiber, total dietaryg8.611.52.4
Sugars, totalg4.576.121.30
Minerals
Calcium, Camg8511424
Iron, Femg3.694.941.05
Magnesium, Mgmg13017437
Phosphorus, Pmg18825253
Potassium, Kmg368493104
Sodium, Namg571
Zinc, Znmg1.301.740.37
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg1.21.60.3
Thiaminmg1.1951.6010.339
Riboflavinmg0.1620.2170.046
Niacinmg2.4733.3140.701
Vitamin B-6mg0.2750.3680.078
Folate, DFEµg11153
Vitamin B-12µg0.000.000.00
Vitamin A, RAEµg000
Vitamin A, IUIU000
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)mg0.540.720.15
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)µg0.00.00.0
Vitamin DIU000
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturatedg12.06116.1623.419
Fatty acids, total monounsaturatedg58.87778.89516.692
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg1.5022.0130.426
Cholesterolmg000
Other
Caffeinemg000

One ounce of raw macadamia nuts (about 28 grams) contains 201 calories. It contains 21 grams of total fat, of which just 3 grams are saturated fat. The nuts contain no cholesterol and negligible amounts of sodium. Other important nutrients in an ounce of the nuts include: 

  • 2 milligrams of manganese (58% DV)
  • 3 milligrams of thiamine (23% DV)
  • 2 milligrams of copper (11% DV)
  • 4 grams of fiber (10% DV)
  • 37 milligrams of magnesium (9% DV)
  • 1 milligram of iron (6% DV)
  • 53 milligrams of phosphorus (5% DV)
  • 1 milligrams of vitamin B6 (4% DV)
  • 2 grams of protein (4% DV)

 These nutrients make macadamia nuts healthy. But what do we mean by healthy? Hard to explain until we look at the benefits.

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What Are The Benefits Of Macadamia Nuts?

Being rich in fiber and other minerals like magnesium and potassium – these nuts improve heart health. They help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The fiber in these nuts also aids in diabetes treatment. And the antioxidants rejuvenate your skin and hair.

1. Promote Heart Health

1. Promote Heart Health

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Studies have shown that people consuming a diet high in macadamia nuts have the same amounts of cholesterol as those on a low-fat diet (1). Macadamia nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which can make platelets less sticky and less likely to form clots in blood vessels. This prevents heart attack or stroke.

 Another report by the American Heart Association states that men whose diets included a large quantity of nuts had a decreased risk of death by heart disease. This is because the monounsaturated fats in nuts (including macadamia nuts) can improve lipid blood profiles.

The nuts are also believed to lower blood pressure – thereby contributing to heart health. Certain sources attribute this quality of macadamia nuts to their potassium content.

2. Improve Blood Sugar Levels

Nuts, in general, are known to relieve the impact of certain health issues that come along with diabetes. This statement is further proved by a Canadian study – which talks about how tree nuts (including macadamia nuts) can improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes (2).

Macadamia nuts have a unique profile of macro and micronutrients and other bioactive compounds that help improve blood sugar levels and counter the ill effects of diabetes (3). Another report suggests that though macadamia nuts have fats, they are okay to be consumed during diabetes. As these nuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids, they help lower bad cholesterol (4).

3. Aid Weight Loss

There is no reason you will not lose weight if you follow the right diet and move your body enough. Talking about the right diet, including macadamia nuts in your diet is one way of doing it.

Macadamia nuts are low in carbohydrates (1 ounce of the nuts offers 4 grams of carbs), but they are slightly higher in calories (1 ounce of the nuts contains about 205 calories). But worry not – having about 2 ounces of the nuts can inch you a little further towards your weight loss goals.

Another reason is the fiber content (5). The nuts are good sources of fiber, and having a few every morning with breakfast can keep your hunger pangs at bay.

Just a quick tip – in case you want to gain weight healthily, macadamia nuts are the best. Since they have the most calories in an ounce (which mostly come from the healthy monounsaturated fats), they can contribute to a healthy weight gain (6).

Studies have also shown that macadamia nuts can help prevent abdominal obesity, which is one of the four factors leading to metabolic syndrome.

4. Improve Bone Health

Macadamia nuts are good sources of calcium, magnesium, and potassium – the three minerals that help prevent bone demineralization. And they are low in sodium too, which only makes things better.

The phosphorus in the nuts promotes mineralization of teeth and bones. And if you know someone suffering from kidney disease, here is some good news. Kidney disease can affect the body’s ability to absorb calcium and manganese, leading to bone disease. But the manganese found in macadamia nuts can prevent this from happening (7).

5. Support Gut Health

5. Support Gut Health

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Oh, by the way, the nuts contain both soluble and insoluble fiber – these flush toxins out of the body and also aid digestion. The nuts are particularly rich in copper that supports the enzymatic reactions that improve digestive health.

But take care of where you buy your macadamia nuts from – as recent sources speak of the growing levels of salmonella in tree nuts (macadamia nuts, included) that can lead to issues like diarrhea and abdominal cramps (8).

6. Relieve Inflammation

One study suggests that consumption of macadamia nuts can help relieve inflammation, which can otherwise cause coronary heart disease (9). Another study talks about the efficacy of macadamia nut oil in treating inflammation (10).

Macadamia nuts are also good sources of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid that helps treat inflammation and prevents subsequent arthritis (11).

7. Boost Healthy Fats

We already saw these nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, the healthy fats.

Macadamia nuts are 75% fat, but most of that is the monounsaturated type. A typical US diet contains about 37% fat, and as per one study, replacing that fat with fat from macadamia nuts had dramatically improved lipid profiles (12).

Other reports also state that macadamia nuts boost HDL, the good cholesterol, and lower the levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol (13).

8. Improve Brain Health

Another important component of macadamia nuts that warrants your attention is oleic acid – which is the same healthy fat found in olive oil. This acid keeps the blood pressure low and prevents stroke, thereby preserving brain health.

Another acid in the nuts is palmitoleic acid, which also is an important component of myelin (myelin is a fatty layer that protects nerve cells in the brain).

A few other nutrients in macadamia nuts are copper, vitamin B1, manganese, and magnesium – all of which aid the production of healthy neurotransmitters.

Also, the omega-9 that these nuts contains helps improve mood. The fatty acid can even enhance memory and prevent several neurological diseases. One study talks about the importance of omega-9 in preventing Alzheimer’s disease (14).

9. Aid In Anemia Treatment

Macadamia nuts contain some amount of iron, and this can help treat anemia and even prevent the condition. However, we advise you to include other iron-rich foods like spinach in your diet. Also, including vitamin C in your diet can improve iron absorption and help prevent anemia.

10. Offer An Energy Boost

The complex carbs these nuts are made of can spike your energy levels. And the fats can sustain the energy.

11. Boost Metabolism

The monounsaturated fatty acids in macadamia nuts can accelerate fat metabolism. Consuming tree nuts, in general, has been linked to a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome (15).

12. Relieve Stress

Studies have shown that nuts (including macadamia nuts) can help relieve oxidative stress in individuals (16). And these nuts are also loaded with antioxidants – which help beat stress as well. This is because antioxidants fight free radicals, high levels of which can lead to oxidative stress and an increased risk of disease (17).

Macadamia nuts also contain high-quality protein, though only in a small amount. Research says that a handful of macadamia nuts, due to their high-quality protein content, can keep your blood sugar levels in check and provide a steady flow of enhanced energy and mood (18).

13. Improve Skin Health

The essential fatty acids in macadamia nuts play a role in skin health, and this is particularly true with macadamia nut oil. The palmitoleic acid in the nuts is another essential fatty acid that hydrates the skin, promotes skin healing, and supports the health of cell membranes.

Applying the oil to your skin can render it a youthful glow. Though it is thick, it gets absorbed by the skin quite easily. It is important to note that there is some amount of palmitoleic acid naturally occurring on our skin – which diminishes with age. Application of this nut oil can replenish the skin with the essential acid.

The palmitoleic acid also helps delay skin aging. It prevents the early onset of the signs of aging like wrinkles and age spots.

14. Strengthen Hair

14. Strengthen Hair

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The palmitoleic acid, once again, comes to the rescue here. It treats dry hair and strengthens the hair roots. Massaging your hair regularly with macadamia nut oil makes it shine, stimulates hair growth, and rebuilds hair elasticity.

The nut oil also prevents hair breakage by penetrating the scalp and improving the strength of the hair follicles. The oil also controls frizz. It hydrates the hair as well.

You saw how good the benefits are. But there’s a catch – how can you avail the benefits if you aren’t sure about selecting the right kind of nuts and storing them?

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How To Select And Store Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are found all year round, so we don’t have to worry about the season in their case. There are also numerous types of macadamia nuts (sweetened, salted, shelled, unshelled, etc.) available in the market.

Selection

Go for those without any additives – those that don’t contain any salt or sweeteners. The best macadamia nuts are compact, smooth, and uniform in size. They don’t have any cracks and don’t emit any weird smell.

Storage

Store the nuts in a cool and dry place. They can stay in your pantry for months without getting spoilt. But do check from time to time for growth of any mold or bacteria. Also, in case you have purchased shelled kernels, they should go into an airtight container right inside your refrigerator. Otherwise, they might go rancid quite fast.

And by the way, you might want to use a special device to crack the nuts open. This macadamia nut cracker can help you get the job done.

You might want to eat the nuts raw. Which is okay. But adding them to some tasteful recipes can only make your day more special.

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Any Popular Macadamia Nut Recipes?

A couple of popular dishes include White chocolate macadamia nut cookies and Blueberry macadamia cheesecake.

1. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

What You Need
  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • ½ cup of white sugar
  • ¾ cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup of white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350o F.
  2. In a large bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Mix until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and gradually stir into the creamy mixture.
  4. Add the macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Drop this dough with a spoon on greased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies are golden brown.
  6. Serve.

2. Blueberry Macadamia Cheesecake

What You Need
  • For the crust, you need 3 ½ ounces of macadamias (crushed in a blender), 1 cup of flour, ¼ cup of firmly packed brown sugar, and ½ cup of softened sweet butter.
  • For the 1st layer, you need 24 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 cup of sugar, and 4 eggs.
  • For the 2nd layer, you need 1 cup of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • And for the topping, you need 2 cups of fresh blueberries, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and 3 tablespoons of cold water.
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400o F.
  2. For making the crust, combine the respective ingredients and mix well. Press on the bottom of the 10-inch pan, and let it bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. For making the first layer, crumble the cheese in a large bowl and add the vanilla extract, sugar, and eggs.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat at high speed. Do this until the mixture is well blended and smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture over the crust.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes until it is set. Ensure it is not completely firm.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Now, for the next layer, combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Spread it over the cake.
  9. Bake for 5 minutes and let it cool.
  10. For the topping, mix the cornstarch with cold water to form a smooth paste.
  11. Stir in the berries and cook until the mixture is thick. Let it cool and then spread the mixture on the cheesecake.
  12. Cool for about an hour before serving.

Not just in these recipes, there are other ways you can use macadamia nuts.

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Any Other Ways To Use Macadamia Nuts?

Macadamia nut oil can be used to cook a wide variety of delicious foods. It works very well as a salad dressing because it has an almost sweet and nutty flavor. It is also a wonderful oil for frying and baking. Macadamia nut oil tastes great with everything from fruits to cheese and veggies. There is no end to the things you can do with it!

Apart from cooking with macadamia nut oil, you can also use it topically and give your skin and hair all the benefits it has to offer. To condition your hair, warm it and massage your hair and scalp with it. To keep your skin young-looking and moisturized, you can use it on your body after your daily shower. You can also use this fantastic oil to treat damaged cuticles.

You might also want to add the nuts to your morning oatmeal for a sumptuous breakfast. Or even add chopped macadamia nuts to your evening salad. You can process macadamia nuts as butter and use it in the place of peanut butter.

In case you were wondering…

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Where To Buy Macadamia Nuts?

Preferably from your nearest supermarket. Or you can purchase them online. Organic is always best.

You can also get them from Mouna Loa. You can also lay your hands on the all-popular Hawaiian chocolate macadamia nuts.

Let’s quit the serious stuff for a while. How about some fun facts about these nuts?

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Any Fast Facts About Macadamia Nuts?

  • Most of the macadamia nuts in the world are grown on the island of Hawaii.
  • The nuts were first introduced to Hawaii way back in 1881, as ornaments. And the first commercial orchards of the nuts started in 1921.
  • Macadamia nuts are the toughest of nuts. It takes 300 pounds per square inch of pressure to crack ’em. They are a tough nut to crack, for sure.
  • The United States of America is the largest consumer of macadamia nuts (51% of the world’s total consumption) while Japan sits at a distant second (15%).
  • Every year, September 4 is celebrated as the National Macadamia Nut Day.

No matter how good anything is in this world, it does have a shade of darkness. And so does the macadamia nut.

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Any Side Effects Of Macadamia Nuts?

The nuts are largely safe, and the side effects are rare. But excess intake can cause allergies and high blood pressure.

  • Allergies

Skin allergies like rashes and other allergies like coughing can be a cause of excessive intake of macadamia nuts.

  • Blood Pressure

In case the nuts you purchased are salted, they can elevate your blood pressure levels. Hence, go for the unsalted (and also, unsweetened) variety.

  • Gastrointestinal Issues

Given that they are good sources of fiber, having too many of them can cause gastrointestinal issues like gas, diarrhea, and bloating.

  • Issues In Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women

Macadamia nuts are safe when taken in normal amounts. We don’t know what will happen if they are taken in excess. Hence, stick to normal amounts.

A couple of ounces of these nuts a day would do. Not more.

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Conclusion

Don’t try to break them with your teeth. That is all we ask of you. And tell us how this post has changed your life. Or wait, just tell us what you liked. You can leave a comment below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Why are macadamia nuts expensive?

These nuts are expensive because the macadamia tree must be at least 7 to 10 years old to produce the nuts. And their shells are so hard that they can be broken only prior to sale.

Can dogs eat macadamia nuts?

Not really. The nuts can make your dog ill. Some serious symptoms of macadamia poisoning include vomiting, muscle tremors, and, in certain cases, even back-end paralysis.

References

  1. Macadamia nut becomes the latest member of ‘good nut club’”. WebMD.
  2. Effect of tree nuts on glycemic control…”. St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
  3. Nuts and dried fruits…”. University Hospital of Sant Joan de Reus, Spain.
  4. Intro to eating with diabetes”. Vanderbilt University.
  5. Prospective study of nut consumption…”. Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.
  6. Hawaiian treasure, macadamia nuts good for the heart”. Pennstate University.
  7. Are macadamia nuts suitable for kidney patients”. Kidney Cares Community.
  8. Oh nuts!”. University of Connecticut.
  9. Macadamia nut consumption modulates…”. University of Newcastle, Australia.
  10. Macadamia oil supplementation…”. Cidade Universitaria, Sau Paulo, Brazil.
  11. Best nuts and seeds for arthritis”. Arthritis Foundation.
  12. Walnuts and macadamia nuts…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  13. Not all fats are equal, choose the good ones”. University of Southern California.
  14. The memory-enhancing effect of…”. Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  15. Effects of tree nuts on metabolic syndrome…”. University of Toronto, Canada.
  16. Health benefits of nut consumption”. Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain.
  17. Studies on free radicals…”. Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, England.
  18. How to manage stress with the right foods”. Dr. Mercola.

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