Macadamia nuts are a type of nut that grows on the Macadamia nut tree in Australia, Hawaii, and other tropical regions. These nuts have been used for centuries by indigenous Australians to prevent illness and promote good health.
In recent years, scientists have shown how these nuts can provide powerful health benefits when eaten as part of a healthy diet. They can be eaten raw or roasted and usually, people eat them as a snack food because they’re crunchy, tasty, and an excellent source of healthy fats. On top of all that, they’re also gluten-free!
In this article, you will learn more about the types of macadamia nuts, their health benefits, and their side effects.
According to the USDA, 1 ounce (28 grams) of raw macadamia nuts has the following nutrients (9):
- Calories: 204
- Fat: 22 grams
- Carbohydrates: 3.91 grams
- Fiber: 2.44 grams
- Sugars: 1.3 grams
- Protein: 2.24 grams
There are about 200 calories in 10 macadamia nuts. Because they are a calorie-dense food, you should make sure that you don’t eat too many of them at once.
The best way to eat these nuts is in place of other calorie-dense, less nutritious snack options like crisps. To control your portion, use your hand to measure how much you should eat at a sitting – one handful is an ideal serving size.
Macadamias are low-carb nuts. If you’re following a keto diet or a low-carb diet, macadamia nuts are a good snack to have between meals. They are also rich in fiber – 2.4 grams per serving – so they will fill you up and keep you full for a long time.
Macadamia nuts have a high-fat content, but the kind of fats they contain are heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA) (4).
They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which means that macadamia nuts can help lower cholesterol levels in your body, reduce blood pressure, protect your cardiovascular system against diseases, and prevent inflammatory diseases like arthritis (11).
Additionally, they contain plant sterols, which can help lower blood cholesterol levels just like statins do (6).
There are 2 grams of protein in one ounce (28 grams) of macadamia nuts, which makes them a good source of vegetarian protein. Protein is an important macronutrient that helps build and repair muscle tissue (2).
Vitamins And Minerals
Macadamia nuts are a source of vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, copper, iron bacon, zinc, selenium, and potassium.
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) helps turn carbs into energy for your cells to use to stay alive while magnesium regulates blood sugar levels which can benefit people with diabetes who are at risk for hypoglycemia (8)(15).
Meanwhile, zinc helps enhance your immune system while selenium is an antioxidant that protects against free radicals in the body which can cause cancer and heart disease (3).
Read More: Benefits Of Peanuts For Weight Loss
Macadamia Nuts Health Benefits
The anti-inflammatory properties of macadamia nuts can help prevent arthritis and reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Macadamia nuts have a low glycemic index (GI), which means that they don’t cause big spikes in blood sugar levels after you eat them as some other foods do. This makes them perfect for diabetics and those at risk for diabetes, as they can help control blood sugar levels.
Macadamia nuts have a high concentration of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which can help reduce inflammation in the arteries leading to your heart (13). This benefits people who already have atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, or are at risk for developing it.
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Having a high-fat diet doesn’t have to lead to weight gain, provided that you choose healthy fats. Like other nuts, macadamia nuts can help reduce appetite and cravings for unhealthy snacks like crisps and chips because they contain plant sterols that mimic the effects of statins. In one study, participants who ate a macadamia based diet lost weight while those in the other group didn’t register significant weight loss (14).
The plant sterols present in macadamia nuts can help lower blood cholesterol levels. This, in turn, keeps your cardiovascular system healthier and reduces your risk of developing heart diseases (6).
The antioxidant power of macadamia nuts can help kill off bacteria and fungi in your body. This benefit makes them good allies to have during the cold and flu season because they can fight against infection.
Anticancer And Antioxidant Properties
Macadamia nuts contain polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress in the body and prevent diseases like cancer (16).
Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
The omega-3 fatty acids found in macadamia nuts can help fight off cognitive decline and protect against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease by reducing plaque formation in the brain (10).
Macadamia nuts contain magnesium, which is a stress-relieving mineral that your body needs to stay calm and relaxed even when you feel overwhelmed (7).
Macadamia Nuts Side Effects
Despite being a rich source of nutrients, these nuts can have the following side effects:
Macadamia nut allergies exist. If you’ve already experienced allergic symptoms after eating nuts in the past, such as itching and redness of the skin or swelling of the lips and tongue, then you should avoid macadamia nuts (5).
These nuts contain a high concentration of selenium which, in large doses, can have toxic effects on the body. Some signs of selenium toxicity are hair loss, brittle nails, nausea, fatigue, and irritability (1).
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, then you should avoid eating too many macadamia nuts because selenium toxicity can worsen these conditions.
The Bottom Line
Macadamia nuts can help control blood sugar levels and cholesterol while minimizing oxidative stress in the body. They also contain a high concentration of many nutrients that promote good health and glowing skin. However, if you’re allergic to nuts or have diabetes or hypertension, then you should avoid eating this variety.
Monitoring your calorie intake can help you enjoy the foods you love in moderation. Download the BetterMe app today to get access to a calorie tracker and stay on top of your diet. You’ll also get a water tracker, personalized meal plans, and inclusive workouts among other features.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Acute Selenium Toxicity Associated With a Dietary Supplement (2010, jamanetwork.com)
- Dietary protein intake and human health – Food & Function (2016, pubs.rsc.org)
- Effect of the Interaction Between Selenium and Zinc on DNA Repair in Association With Cancer Prevention (2019, jcpjournal.org)
- Lipid Profile and Antioxidant Activity of Macadamia Nuts (Macadamia integrifolia) Cultivated in Venezuela (2015, scirp.org)
- Macadamia – an overview (n.d., sciencedirect.com)
- Macadamia Nut Consumption Lowers Plasma Total and LDL Cholesterol Levels in Hypercholesterolemic Men (2003, academic.oup.com)
- Magnesium and stress – Magnesium in the Central Nervous System (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Magnesium and type 2 diabetes (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nuts, macadamia nuts, raw (2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Neurodegenerative Diseases: New Evidence in Clinical Trials (2019, mdpi.com)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Health Professional Fact Sheet (2021, ods.od.nih.gov)
- Role of Micronutrients in Skin Health and Function (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Serum Lipid Effects of a High–Monounsaturated Fat Diet Based on Macadamia Nuts (2000, jamanetwork.com)
- Serum lipid effects of a monounsaturated (palmitoleic) fatty acid-rich diet based on macadamia nuts in healthy, young Japanese women (2005, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Thiamin (2021, medlineplus.gov)
- Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts (2011, cambridge.org)