Unlike some other good-for-you foods, macadamia nuts actually taste good to most people. They are extremely versatile when it comes to meal prep — you can use them in everything from salads to main dishes, snacks, and desserts. Here, we'll dissect the numerous health benefits of macadamia nuts, and break down what to be cautious of when using them in your cuisine. We'll start off with the nutritional analysis of 100 grams of nuts.
Macadamia Nut Nutrition Facts
Macadamia nuts are rich in nutrients (we'll get into these in the sections below) and offer many health benefits as a result, ranging from your hair to your heart. They're chock-full of healthy fats and have low cholesterol, which positively impacts the heart as well. The serving size here is roughly 100 grams.
|Amount per serving (100 grams)||% Daily value|
|Calories from fat||634|
|Total fat||76 g||117%|
|Saturated fat||12 g||60%|
|Total carbs||14 g||5%|
|Dietary fiber||9 g||34%|
|Vitamin A 0%||Vitamin C 2%||Calcium 9%|
What are Macadamia Nuts?
The macadamia tree grows naturally in New South Wales in Australia. The first European to discover them was Allan Cunningham. In 1857, the nut was named by Ferdinand Von Mueller after his colleague John Macadam, who was a fellow botanist.
Related: The Health Benefits of Nut Butter
Australia is the world’s largest producer of macadamia nuts, holding about 40% of the world's total supply. Not only can you eat the nut itself, but you can also use macadamia oil (derived from the nuts) in your kitchen — one of the healthiest sources of fat that you can cook with. The oil is wonderful in salads and as a drizzle on baked dishes, and you can even try macadamia honey as another delicious option.
Macadamia oil has even more health benefits than olive oil, and it has a higher smoke point, which means that it can be cooked to a higher temperature without getting burnt. If you'd like a full history of macadamia nuts, we've got you covered.
The 9 Major Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts
1. Metabolic Syndrome
Heart Health/Reduced Heart Disease Risk
- Macadamia nuts are heart-healthy. In 2008, a study was published in the Journal of Nutrition in which researchers out of Penn State University looked at the effect that macadamia nuts had on cardiovascular health. The study involved dividing 25 adult males and females into two groups and the study was conducted over two five-week periods. One group ate a diet that included 1.5 grams of macadamia nuts each day, with the other group consuming a normal American diet. However, the total macronutrient counts between the groups were the same.
- At the end of the first five-week period, the participants had a two-week break where they resumed their normal diets. They then switched diets.
- The results of this study were concluded that adding macadamia nuts in a person’s diet appears to lower both total cholesterol and LDL (low density) cholesterol. This is great news, because high LDL levels are responsible for arterial plaque build-up, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
- All of this amounts to a lower risk of heart disease.
Lowered Blood Sugar Levels
- A meta-analysis study, which was published in PLOS ONE magazine, analyzed 450 participants over 11 studies which focused on macadamia nuts' effect on blood glucose levels. The analysis showed that people who consumed 56 grams of macadamia nuts each day on average had considerably lower levels of blood sugar.
- One reason that macadamia nuts had such a beneficial effect on high blood sugar levels is that it contains a lot of monounsaturated fats. When it comes to macadamias, they contain omega-7 palmitoleic acid. This fatty acid is known to enhance insulin sensitivity. It does this by reducing inflammation and preventing the breakdown of pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for the production of insulin.
Lowered Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure affects millions of people, and is a precursor for a whole host of health problems including heart attack, loss of vision, and kidney disease. It is well established that lowering sodium intake and taking in more potassium helps to lower blood pressure.
- Macadamia nuts contain almost no sodium, but a lot of potassium. They are also rich in omega-9 fatty acids (oleic acid). Numerous studies have found that oleic acid helps to reduce blood pressure, so the combination of omega-9 and potassium are the main reasons that macadamia nuts help to bring down your blood pressure levels.
- There are additional studies that show links between the consumption of nuts, like macadamia nuts, and improved glycemic control in people with diabetes.
2. Reduction of Inflammation
Researchers in Australia recently conducted an investigation of a range of natural herbal concoctions to assess their impact on inflammation. Among them was the macadamia Interflora nut. It was found that phenolic compounds contained within the macadamia nut effectively prevented the growth of Proteus mirabilis. This has been shown to help prevent the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Stronger Bones
Eating nuts is a great way to maintain strong, healthy bones and macadamias are one of the best. That’s because they are literally packed with minerals and vitamins that will strengthen your bones. These include:
Manganese is especially important because it will assist the body in transporting newly developed bone tissue to the areas where it is needed the most.
4. Improved Gut Health
Our gut health is compromised as a result of the massive number of toxins that enter our bodies through the foods that we eat and the air that we breathe. As a consequence of this, we are unable to properly absorb and digest the foods that we eat. Macadamia nuts help to counter this effect.
Oleic acid, which is beneficial in lowering blood pressure, may also be a powerful fighter against ulcerative colitis. In one study, people who added a daily dose of oleic acid to their diet had were seen to be 89% less likely to get ulcerative colitis.
5. Fat Burning
Everybody’s looking for an edge in the fat-burning stakes, and it seems that macadamia nuts may just provide one. Once again, the key is oleic acid. A study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, suggested that omega-9 fatty acids (oleic acid) had the ability to speed up the production of certain genes that metabolized fat for energy.
Palmitoleic acid is another compound found in macadamia nuts which appears to help speed up the fat-burning process (your metabolism). On top of all of this, macadamia nuts are satiating, so that they reduce your hunger levels. That makes them a great healthy snack choice when you’re feeling a little hungry.
Some 80% of the fats contained in macadamia nuts are of the monosaturated variety, making them extremely healthy in the battle against weight gain.
6. Potential Improved Skin
There is evidence that shows that omega-7 fatty acids, which are in macadamia nuts (among other items), can promote healthier skin, nails, and hair.
7. Great Source of Fiber
Fiber is vital for the efficient cleansing of the body. The fiber content of macadamia nuts is 7 percent. This includes a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. This fiber will provide essential roughage to your digestive system as well as making you feel fuller and allow more efficient elimination of waste.
8. Good Source of Protein
In order to maintain your body’s muscle tissue and fuel the repair and replacement of the cells in your body, you need to be taking protein into your body every few hours. Macadamia is a rich source of protein to make a great choice in this regard. The protein that you get from macadamia nuts will even help to keep your nails, skin, and hair healthy.
9. Fight Hunger
With a great source of protein and fats, especially for those on a Keto/low carb high-fat diet - these nuts are a great snack to fight episodes of hunger during the day, whether on the go, at the office, or just around on the weekends.
Macadamia Nut Consumption Cautions
There’s no doubt about it — macadamia nuts are a fantastic, healthy food choice with all sorts of benefits for your body. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind that should prevent you from going overboard on your macadamia indulgence.
1. High Calories and Fat Content
Most nuts are pretty high in fat and calories, and macadamias are no exception. Most of the fats are monounsaturated, which is a good thing. However, they do have a very high calorie count. In fact, a full cup of macadamia nuts will add more than one thousand calories to your daily count.
Even if the calories you are eating are healthy — as in the case of macadamia nuts — they can still cause you to eat more calories than you expend. As a result, you will end up gaining weight. The message is to limit yourself to a handful of nuts a couple of times per day in order to keep a check on your calorie count.
Nut allergies are quite common these days, and allergies to macadamia nuts are possible. It's best to get tested with an allergist if you're concerned you may have a nut allergy or if those in your family already have been diagnosed with a nut allergy or experience(d) side effects when consuming nuts.
Macadamia nuts may be safe for you, but it's best to be sure. Common signs of allergies are itchy tongues, rash, or swelling of the throat.
Macadamia Nuts Recipes
If you're interested in working macadamia nuts into your meal plan, check out our favorite recipes below.
- Homemade macadamia nut butter
- White chocolate macadamia nut cookies
- Double chocolate macadamia nut cookies