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Macadamia nuts Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
Macadamia nuts (Macadamia integrifolia) are one of the most commonly eaten tree nuts (1). These nuts are loaded with essential nutrients. Macadamia nuts are consumed as snack, they are used in cookies and other baked goods and they are also used in confectionary items (2).
Macadamia nuts major constituent is lipid. They have 75 % of fat and most of it is made up of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). The protein content of these nuts is about 8 % and the dietary fiber content is 6 %.
Nutrition and health benefits of macadamia nuts
- Rich source of energy
These nuts are rich sources of energy, they (100 grams) provide 718 kcals (3). They will make a great snack when one needs some energy, have a fistful of macadamia nuts.
- Good source of healthy fat
Macadamia nuts provide 75 % of fat, most of which are MUFA (oleic and palmitoleic acids) that are good for heart health. The MUFA content was 58 % and saturated fatty acids 12 % and polyunsaturated fatty acid content 1.5% of the nuts.
- Adds micronutrients to the diet
Macadamia nuts are good source of several minerals such as calcium (85 mg/100 grams of nuts), potassium (368mg/100 gm of nuts), and magnesium (130 mg/100gm of nuts). They also provide B complex vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E.
- Heart healthy
Because of the high MUFA content and low saturated fatty acid content macadamia nuts can be part of a heart healthy diet (2). They also contain polyphenol compounds which are known to exhibit antioxidant activity that is beneficial to heart health (4).
The results of a study showed that consumption of macadamia nuts as part of a healthy diet results in positive changes in plasma lipid profile of men who had high cholesterol levels though they were high fat diet (5). Including macadamia nuts in the diet regularly may aid in prevention of coronary artery disease (4).
- Antioxidant activity
Macadamia nuts are good source of antioxidants. They contain constituents such as flavonoids, polyphenols, phytosterols which exhibit antioxidant activity (6). MUFA rich nuts also have beneficial effect on oxidative stress (1).
Antioxidants present in food prevent and repair the damage caused by free radicals in the body. Antioxidants can also boost immune function and reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases (1, 7).
- Helps regulate blood pressure
Macadamia nuts contain 368 mg of potassium and are low in sodium. Potassium is an essential mineral and it performs several important functions in the body. Potassium has a protective effect on heart health because potassium lowers blood pressure (7).
- Adds dietary fiber to the diet and promotes gut health
Macadamia nuts contain 8.6 % dietary fiber (3). Dietary fiber increases the bulk of stools and contributes beneficially towards gut health. Fiber also helps in controlling blood glucose and lipid levels. Fiber can impact weight loss positively because diet containing fiber has satiety value that is it gives a feeling of fullness which prevents us from overeating.
- Beneficial for diabetic people
Macadamia nuts are low in carbohydrate and good source of dietary fiber which makes them diabetic friendly. Diabetic people are also more at risk of developing heart disorders. They also have a healthy lipid profile that is they are high in MUFA and they also modify plasma lipid profile in a positive manner which makes them heart friendly (5).
- Bone Health
Macadamia nuts are one of the good sources of calcium (85 mg/100 grams of nuts), and magnesium (130 mg/100 grams of nuts) and these are vital minerals needed for the total health of bones and teeth. Potassium (368 mg/100 grams of nuts) and manganese (4.131mg/100grams of nuts) from results of recent research work have been said that they support bone health.
Regular consumption of macadamia nuts may improve bone health by overcoming the conditions such as bone demineralization, brittleness, and osteoporosis (3, 8).
- Contributes to weight management
Macadamia nuts because of the dietary fiber and healthy lipid profile contribute towards weight management. The dietary fiber and lipid content in macadamia nuts increase the satiety value when added to the diet. That feeling of fullness continues for a longer time therefore we tend to eat smaller quantities.
Macadamia nuts are nutrient dense and also contain several health promoting constituents which have antioxidant value. Macadamia nuts can be included as part of your balanced diet to avail all the nutrients and health benefits they provide.
- Ros, E. (2010) Health benefits of nut consumption, Nutrients. Vol. 2(7). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/
- Griel, A. E., Cao, Y., Bagshaw, D. D., Cifelli, A.M.,Holub, B. and Kris-Etherton, P.M. (2008) A Macadamia Nut-Rich Diet Reduces Total and LDL-Cholesterol in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Men and Women, The Journal of Nutrition. Vol. 138(4).https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/138/4/761/4665045
- National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release, United States Department of Agriculture. Basic Report: 170178, Nuts, macadamia nuts, raw. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list
- Garg, M.L., Blake, R.J., Wills, R.B. and Clayton, E.H. (2007) Macadamia nut consumption modulates favourably risk factors for coronary artery disease in hypercholesterolemic subjects, Lipids. Vol. 42(6).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17437143
- Garg, M.L., Blake, R.J., Wills, R.B. (2003) Macadamia nut consumption lowers plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic men, J Nutr. Vol. 133(4).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12672919
- Bolling, B., Chen, O., McKay, D. and Blumberg, J. (2011) Tree nut phytochemicals: Composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, Nutrition research Vol.24.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51863274_Tree_nut_phytochemicals_Composition_antioxidant_capacity_bioactivity_impact_factors_A_systematic_review_of_almonds_Brazils_cashews_hazelnuts_macadamias_pecans_pine_nuts_pistachios_and_walnuts
- Lanham-New, S.A., Lambert, H. and Frassetto, L. (2012) Potassium, Advances in Nutrition. Vol. 3(6).https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/6/820/4644562
- Higgs, J., Derbyshire, E. and Styles, K. (2017) Nutrition and osteoporosis prevention for the orthopaedic surgeon: A wholefoods approach, EFORT open reviews. Vol. 2(6).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5508855/