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September 11, 2014, last updated February 17, 2016
By Nels Seifert, Contributing Columnist
Macadamia nuts come from a few different trees that are indigenous to
Australia and have as many aliases as a fugitive on the run. The
delicious macadamia nuts and the trees that bear them are native to
Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, and dubbed macadamia in
honor of their founder John Macadam in the mid-19th century. The
macadamia nut has many names, including the bush nut, Queensland
nut, maroochi nut, Hawaiian nut, and so on.
The nut was also an important part of the Australian Aboriginals
subsistence, calling it bauple, jindilli, and gyndl in their native
languages. The edible part of the nut is normally protected and encased
in a hard nut shell, but once cracked, the tasty treasure can be enjoyed.
The macadamia nut is high in fiber, contains no cholesterol, has high
values of monounsaturated fat, and is extremely pleasing to the taste
Present Origins of the Macadamia Nuts
Considered to be the world’s best, healthiest nuts by some nut
enthusiasts around the globe, the macadamia nut is a sweet, almost
buttery tasting treat you can enjoy on the trail or as a dietary snack at
Leaving the homeland of Australia, the macadamia nut has traveled the
world and is now grown in mainly tropical climates like Brazil, South
Africa, Kenya, New Zealand, Australia, and of course still at home in
Australia. The Hawaiian macadamia nut is the most coveted for its
perfect sweet flavor, often covered in chocolate and brought back as
gifts to the mainland.
Are All Macadamia Nuts Created Equal?
There are several types and species of macadamia nuts around the
world, but only two types can be eaten and enjoyed. They can normally
be found as the hard shelled species, the "Macadamia tetraphylla",
however, some horticulturalists grow the soft shelled species,
Macadamia nuts are indeed created equal when it comes to the amazing
health benefits they provide, well, maybe not when you consume a
pound of the Hawaiian chocolate covered ones, but in moderation.
These little nutty powerhouses are rich in folates, zinc, antioxidants,
flavonoids, thiamin, protein, glucose, manganese, fructose, sucrose,
and the list continues.
Here are our top 7 health benefits associated with macadamia nuts!
1. Macadamia Nuts Fight High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
Macadamia nuts can not only prevent chronic disease, cancer, and help
build a strong body with protein, but they can also lower your blood
pressure in 4 weeks according to a study out of Japan.
Macadamia nuts pack 174 mg of magnesium per 134 gram serving size,
44% of your daily value and enough to get you well on your way to
lowering your blood pressure. A 1997 study by Dr. Itoh and colleagues
at Nakamura Gakuen University in Japan discussed the effects
magnesium had on blood pressure and how useful it was for lowering
blood pressure in just 4 weeks during the research.
As the study concluded “[Magnesium] Mg supplementation may lower
blood pressure through the suppression of the adrenergic activity and
Magnesium is also an excellent mineral for treating diabetes, studies
have found. Macadamia nuts and other tree nuts, at an average dose of
56 grams/day lower normal fasting blood sugar by 0.15 mmol/L,
according to a 2014 study led by Dr. E. Viguiliouk of the University of
Macadamia nuts also fight depression, insomnia, and support your
overall cardiac health.
2. Macadamia Nuts Have the Right Kind of Fat for Your Heart
Macadamia nuts are rich in the right kind of fat and completely
Macadamia nuts have "monounsaturated fat". Monounsaturated fat
has been studied extensively and is shown to have cardio-protective
qualities that not only help your heart in the long run, but also cleans
the body of evil cholesterol.
A 2010 study by Dr. David Jenkins and colleagues at the Clinical
Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre in Toronto, Canada,
entitled "Adding Monounsaturated Fatty Acids to a Dietary Portfolio of
Cholesterol-lowering Foods in Hypercholesterolemia" discussed the
health benefits surrounding monounsaturated fatty acids.
The study concluded, “Monounsaturated fat increased the effectiveness
of a cholesterol-lowering dietary portfolio.”
Macadamia nuts contain approximately 79 grams of monounsaturated
fat per serving size of one cup, 134 grams.
3. Macadamia Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Macadamia nuts can aid you in your weight loss and weight control
Macadamia nuts are high in dietary fiber, with 11.5 grams, 46% of your
daily value (DV).
Fiber is key to weight control. High fiber diets can help you balance
blood sugar, burn fat, and create energy production in your body,
giving you a lift midway through work or on a weekend run.
When your blood sugar is balanced, you don't experience those intense
snack cravings after lunch or right before dinner. The lack of swings in
blood sugar help to stabilize your metabolism and improve your health
generally, according to a 2010 study by Dr. James Lattimer and Dr.
Mark Haub at the Department of Human Nutrition, Kansas State
4. Macadamia Nuts Are Packed with Protein
Macadamia nuts provide you with 10.6 grams of protein per serving
size of 134 grams, 1 cup, which is 21% of your daily value. Just
another excellent reason to snack on a few macadamia nuts at lunch or
after an intense gym session, giving you both short and long term
5. Macadamia Nuts Fight Cancer and other Chronic Diseases
Macadamia nuts are not only delicious to eat, but they also provide
your body with crucial antioxidants that are essential for cleansing your
body and protecting it from chronic diseases such as cancer and
The macadamia nut is in the second best food category for getting the
important antioxidants you need. One of these powerful antioxidants is
manganese and a single cup of them will provide you with 5.5 mg of
antioxidant power, 277% of your daily value.
It’s pretty amazing stuff and can be the prevention needed against free
radicals that destroy and induce oxidative stress to the pathological
processes in your body.
Manganese plays an important role in blocking those free radicals from
damaging your cells and thus improving your long term health and
protecting you from many chronic diseases that can appear at any
moment. A 2004 study by Dr. J.K. Wilcox and colleagues at the
Department of Food Science, North Carolina University discusses the
key roles that antioxidants play in the battle against oxidative stress
and chronic diseases. Antioxidants and Prevention of Chronic Disease
(2004) concluded, “Antioxidants are compounds that hinder the
oxidative processes and thereby delay or prevent oxidative stress.”
6. Macadamia Nuts Can Help Protect You Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Macadamia nuts contain high levels of thiamin, or more commonly
known as vitamin B1.
You can find 1.6 grams of thiamin in one cup of macadamia nuts,
enough to top off your daily value at 107%. Thiamin has been
examined recently for many possible health benefits that it may
Thiamin is used for digestive issues, boosting immune system function,
cataracts, glaucoma, cancer, and most importantly in the prevention of
neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. A study in 2011 by Dr. Lu’o’
ng and Dr. Nguyen at the Vietnamese American Medical Research
Foundation in California discusses the role thiamin plays in the
prevention and reduction of cognition associated with Alzheimer’s
disease (AD). Role of Thiamin in Alzheimer’s disease concluded, “Oral
thiamine trials have been shown to improve the cognitive function of
patients with [Alzheimer's Disease] AD.” (Read more about foods and
tips to prevent Alzheimer's disease.)
6. Feed Your Brain!
Macadamia nuts are loaded with amazing vitamins and minerals which
directly attribute to better brain function. Of all these nutrients, none is
as good as copper.
Copper is also known as “brain food,” and it just so happens,
macadamia nuts are loaded with copper.
Copper is not naturally produced in the body, so it is essential that you
feed your body the copper it needs.,
Macadamia nuts offer 51% of your daily value (DV) in copper with 1
mg per serving size of one cup. Copper has been directly attributed to
the creative process in the brain and its impact on the transfer of
protein Atp7a and effects on the nervous system.
Copper combined with iron is a combination made in heaven when it
comes to your neurological processes and it just so happens that
macadamia nuts also contain about 27% of your daily value for iron,
according to a study conducted in 2014 Dr. Graetke and colleagues at
the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, University of
Kentucky discusses the importance of copper in relation to your health
That study also added that “Copper (Cu) is a vital mineral essential for
many biological processes.” Copper is also important for enzyme
reactions, the absorption of iron and sugar, it’s a powerful antioxidant,
and also has been studied in slowing down the aging process.
There are so many great health benefits that will lead you to picking up
a bag of macadamia nuts on your next trip to the supermarket. They
are a delicious and nutritious natural food that nature has provided for
you to be well on your way to a healthier life in the short and long term.
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