Macadamia nuts are often left out and don’t get the spotlight they deserve despite their nutritious and tasty benefits. Just like your other trustworthy stand bys macadamias are also brimming with good for you properties and a rich buttery flavor.
Nutrient breakdown of Macadamias
1 oz of macadamia provides:
2 grams of protein
4 grams of carbohydrates
22 grams of fat
2 grams fiber
These chickpea looking nuts are also good sources of magnesium and vitamin E.
Loaded with antioxidants
Antioxidants have been shown to be protective against oxidative stress-related diseases like cardiovascular diseases and cancer. This native Australian nut contains significant amounts of polyphenolic compounds, which have high antioxidant capacity and offer protection against free radicals and oxidative stress. Macadamias are also an excellent source of manganese, an essential trace element which supports antioxidants activity.
Heart Health Benefits
Macadamias have the highest fat content out of all the nuts. Eighty percent of their fat is monounsaturated fat, which has health benefits and has shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides levels, both of which are risk factors for coronary heart disease. A recent demonstrated that these round and ivory colored kernels decreased total cholesterol and LDL while increasing healthier HDL cholesterol when they were incorporated as part of a healthy diet.
Metabolic Syndrome is a group of 5 conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels and low levels of HDL. While we can’t attribute a single food or nutrient to preventing metabolic syndrome, a study revealed that diets high in tree nuts, including macadamia nuts, decreased triglyceride levels and fasting blood sugar. Factored into a broader healthy diet macadamia’s may help ward off many of the risk factors associated with Metabolic Syndrome.
While these little guys are tasty enough on their own and provide many health benefits it’s important to note that they are calorically dense with one-half cup providing about 475 calories. If you haven’t jumped on the macadamia nut bandwagon yet, it might be a good time !
By Mariana Dineen
Mariana Dineen MS, RD, CDN, LD, LDN is a registered dietitian and the founder of Elemento Health. Mariana was born and raised in Mexico but currently lives in Chicago with her husband and 3 children. Her mission is to change the nutrition landscape and make an impact on the health outcomes of Hispanics by providing culturally authentic nutrition care.