Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts: The Nutrition Analysis

Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts: The Nutrition Analysis

This article is sponsored by our partner, SuperFat, and was originally published on SuperFat.com

Unlike some other good-for you foods, macadamia nuts actually taste good. They are extremely versatile when it comes to meal prep — you can use them  in everything from salads to main dishes, and from snacks to desserts. Read on about the numerous health benefits of macadamia nuts, and learn 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 Nuts SuperFat

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 levels which positively impact the heart as well. The serving size here is roughly 100 grams.

Amount per serving (100 grams) % Daily value
 Calories 718
Calories from fat 634
Total fat 76 g 117%
Saturated fat 12 g  60%
Trans fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total carbs 14 g 5%
Dietary fiber 9 g 34%
Sugar 5 g
Protein 8 g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  2% Calcium 9%
Iron  20%

What are Macadamia Nuts?

The macadamia tree grows naturally in north-eastern 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. Macadamia honey is another delicious option.

Macadamia oil has even more health benefits than olive oil. In addition, it has a higher smoke point, so that it can be cooked to a higher temperature without getting burnt. If you're like a full history of macadamia nuts—we've got you covered. And if you're looking for where you can buy macadamia nuts (or which brand), try Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts from Hawaii.

Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts

Benefit No. 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 twenty-five 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 could lead to a stroke or heart attack. [1]
  • 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 eleven studies which focused on the effect of macadamia nuts on blood glucose levels. The analysis showed that people who consumed on average 56 grams of macadamia nuts each day 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. [2], [3]

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 our intake of sodium and taking in more potassium helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Macadamia nuts contain almost no sodium and 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. [5],[6],[7]

Diabetes

    Benefit No. 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. [4]

    Related: 3 Remedies for Health and Performance

    Benefit No. 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:

    • Phosphorous
    • Magnesium
    • Calcium
    • Manganese

    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.

    Benefit No. 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 so 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. [8]

    Benefit No. 5: Fat Burning/Weight-Loss

    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 that was recently 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 peckish.

    Some 80 percent of the fats contained in macadamia nuts are of the monosaturated variety, making them extremely healthy in the battle against weight gain. [9], [10]

    Benefit No. 6: Potential Improved Skin

    There is evidence that shows the omega-7 fatty acids which are in macadamia nuts (among other items), can promote healthier skin, nails, and hair. [11]

    Benefit No. 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.

    Benefit No. 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.

    Benefit No. 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.

    Related: 9 Diet Tweaks to Live By to Shed Fat and Get Lean

    Other Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts: Claims

    There are additional benefit claims of nuts which also require a bit more investigation, such as their benefit for those with diseases like Alzheimer's Disease. While we don't currently have links to resources and research on this topic - there are various sites that cover this in more detail.

    Macadamia Nuts Recipes

    If you're interested in working macadamia nuts into your diet, check out our favorite recipes below.

    Cookies

    Nut Butters

    Salads

      Macadamia Nut Considerations

      • Selection: Look for plump raw macadamia nuts that are uniform in color and size
      • Purchase: If you decide to purchase roasted nuts, be sure to select the unsalted version. Studies that suggest roasting these nuts, especially at high temperatures, could reduce their nutritional value - so be sure to weigh the pros and cons depending on your decision to purchase and consume these nuts.
      • Storage: Store your macadamia nuts in an airtight container or an airtight sealed plastic bag with the air pressed to prevent them from going rancid. You can keep them in the fridge for up to six months.
      • Roasting: For a delicious treat, you can roast your macadamia nuts in the oven with honey. You can store honey roasted macadamia nuts for up to two weeks in an airtight container. Just note you may diminish the nutritional value by roasting them at high temperatures.

      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.

      Caution No. 1: High Calories & 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 cup of macadamia nuts will add more than one thousand calories to your daily count.

      Related: Holy Basil Health Benefits: The Immune Booster

      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.

      Caution No. 2: Allergies

      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.

      Benefits of Other Nuts

      If you'd like information on other nuts as well, SuperFat.com has the following guides:

      We'll cover cashews, brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts, and all other types of nuts, giving the nutritional information and some primary health benefits.

      Amp up your fitness and wellness routine NOW. Click here to find a Spartan Race close to you!

      Sources:

      • Griel, A. E., Cao, Y., Bagshaw, D. D., Cifelli, A. M., Holub, B., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2008). A macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. The Journal of nutrition138(4), 761-767.
      • Viguiliouk, E., Kendall, C. W., Mejia, S. B., Cozma, A. I., Ha, V., Mirrahimi, A., ... & de Souza, R. J. (2014). Effect of tree nuts on glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled dietary trials. PloS one9(7), e103376.
      • Yang, Z. H., Miyahara, H., & Hatanaka, A. (2011). Chronic administration of palmitoleic acid reduces insulin resistance and hepatic lipid accumulation in KK-Ay Mice with genetic type 2 diabetes. Lipids in health and disease10(1), 120.
      • Cock, I. E., Winnett, V., Sirdaarta, J., & Matthews, B. (2015). The potential of selected Australian medicinal plants with anti-Proteus activity for the treatment and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. Pharmacognosy Magazine11(Suppl 1), S190.
      • Poulter, N. R., Prabhakaran, D., & Caulfield, M. (n.d.). Hypertension. The Lancet386(9995), 801–812. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61468-9
      • Carretero, O. A., & Oparil, S. (2000). Essential hypertension. Circulation101(3), 329-335.
      • Aburto, N. J., Hanson, S., Gutierrez, H., Hooper, L., Elliott, P., & Cappuccio, F. P. (2013). Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses. BMJ346, f1378.
      • Sacks, F. M., Svetkey, L. P., Vollmer, W. M., Appel, L. J., Bray, G. A., Harsha, D., ... & Karanja, N. (2001). Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. New England journal of medicine344(1), 3-10.
      • Lim, J. H., Gerhart-Hines, Z., Dominy, J. E., Lee, Y., Kim, S., Tabata, M., ... & Puigserver, P. (2013). Oleic acid stimulates complete oxidation of fatty acids through protein kinase A-dependent activation of SIRT1-PGC1α complex. Journal of Biological Chemistry288(10), 7117-7126.
      • Ruiz-Gutiérrez, V., Muriana, F. J., Guerrero, A., Cert, A. M., & Villar, J. (1996). Plasma lipids, erythrocyte membrane lipids and blood pressure of hypertensive women after ingestion of dietary oleic acid from two different sources. Journal of hypertension14(12), 1483-1490.