Macadamia nuts are high in healthy fats and may help those trying to lose weight. Macadamia nuts also contain dietary fiber, protein, and other nutrients that are important for a balanced diet and good health.
The fat content of macadamia nuts is higher than that of other popular nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts. A 50-gram pack of macadamia nuts contains
However, around 80% of the fat in macadamia nuts is monounsaturated fat, which has health benefits. These nuts also contain specific kinds of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are not readily available in many other foods.
Macadamia nuts are also a
A cup or
- 945 calories
- 10.3 g of protein
- 100 g of fat
- 16.9 g of carbohydrate
- 10.6 g of fiber
- 5.46 g of sugar
- 92.4 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 3.5 mg of iron
- 156 mg of magnesium
According to the
In 2015, a
Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those present in nuts raises levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, according to some studies.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that can increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and excess belly fat.
Some research suggests that MUFAs, such as those present in macadamia nuts, may help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome or reduce its effects in people who already have it.
A research review from 2016 shows that eating a diet high in MUFAs can reduce metabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.
HbA1c is an important measurement for people with diabetes. It is a person’s average blood sugar level over the past 2–3 months. A study on rats with diabetes found that a diet high in MUFAs plus exercise was more effective at lowering HbA1c than either eating the fats or exercising alone.
Macadamia nuts contain a type of vitamin E called tocotrienols.
Tocotrienols may have powerful anticancer abilities, according to some older
Macadamia nuts also contain plant compounds called flavonoids,
Aside from their potential ability to fight cancer, tocotrienols also have brain-protecting effects.
One older laboratory
Another study on rats shows that oleic acid, one of the main monounsaturated fats present in macadamia nuts, can protect the brain from certain kinds of oxidative stress.
Macadamia nuts and their oil are some of the richest sources of palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also called omega-7.
Macadamia nuts contain protein, high amounts of beneficial fats, and fiber. Together, these nutrients can help a person feel full for longer.
The fat takes longer to digest, and protein and fiber help prevent large blood sugar changes that can make a person feel hungry.
Though macadamia nuts can be part of a healthful diet, a person should try to remember the following possible drawbacks:
They are calorie-dense
One cup, or 132 g, of macadamia nuts contains
However, the standard serving size for macadamia nuts is 1 ounce (oz), or 28.4 g, which is far less than 1 cup.
A 1-oz serving is about 10–12 nuts and contains around 200 calories. Using a food scale or counting the nuts and eating only the allotted amount can help prevent accidental overeating.
Eating macadamia nuts in place of other high-fat or high-calorie foods can provide their benefits without adding calories and fat to the diet. For instance, people can sprinkle a few macadamia nuts on a salad in place of bacon or croutons.
Another option is to eat a serving as a snack in place of chips, cookies, or other processed foods that offer little nutrition.
Roasting them may lower their nutrients
People can eat macadamia nuts raw or roasted.
One 2015 study suggested that roasting macadamia nuts, especially at higher temperatures, can reduce their nutrient content. It may be best to consume the nuts raw, soak them, or roast them at a lower temperature.
Some contain extra oil, salt, or sugar
Not all macadamia nuts are healthful choices. A person should look at the ingredients and choose types that contain only nuts and no added sugar, salt, or oil.
People with tree nut allergies must avoid them
Tree nut allergies are serious and can be life threatening.
Even inhaling tiny particles of nuts can be enough to trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Those with nut allergies need to avoid macadamia nuts completely.
Those who live with a person who has nut allergies may also wish to steer clear of them. This is due to the risk of cross-contamination or accidentally exposing them to trace amounts of nuts.
People who are not allergic to macadamia nuts can enjoy them daily. Research has shown that they can help protect the brain, lower the risk of heart disease, and stave off hunger, among other things.
Some people use macadamia nut oil in cooking as it is high in beneficial fats. It is also possible to use the nuts in salads to replace higher-fat options such as croutons.
However, a person should remember that they contain a high number of calories.
Macadamia nuts are a whole food with plenty of good fats, vitamins, and minerals. They possess many health benefits that show promise. However, they are not a magic bullet for treating health conditions without making other complementary lifestyle changes.