What You Need to Know About Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are a type of nut that is native to Australia. They can be found in many different varieties including raw, roasted, salted, and honey roasted.

macadamia nuts
Macadamia nut tree. Credit: canva

Macadamia nuts are among the world’s most expensive, with a hard shell that makes cracking them an arduous task. Macadamias have quality protein and rich buttery flavor–making them popular on both the snack aisle and in many desserts.

Macadamia nuts have been gaining popularity for their health benefits but there are some things you should know before purchasing them for your own home use.

About Macadamia Nuts

What Are Macadamia Nuts?

The Macadamia is a genus that consists of four species of evergreen trees belonging to the family Proteaceae. These plants are known for their richly flavored edible seeds.

The macadamia nut is also known as the Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, bauple nut and Hawaii nut.

The type of nut we commonly call macadamia is used in the Aboriginal languages of Australia. It has different names depending on the region, but was an important resource for bushfood that is rich in protein and essential oils.

The macadamia nut can be roasted and salted or used as either an ingredient in treats like confections and chocolates or as other ingredients such as sauces, pastry fillings, etc.

Where Are They From?

The trees originated in the coastal rainforests and scrubs of Queensland, (Australia). They are now commercially grown in a number of subtropical areas.

How Are They Grown?

The macadamias grown commercially are mostly of two species, the rough-shelled M. tetraphylla and the smooth-shelled M. integrifolia ; both varieties tend to hybridize beyond distinction.

The Hybrid is planted heavily in Australia and New Zealand, often used for commercial purposes.

Most commercial production takes place in their native Australia and Hawaii. However, given the successes of the Hawaiian macadamia industry, other subtropical regions have planted orchards, and there are large acreages of macadamias in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Malawi as well as parts of South and Central America.

Is Macadamia Nut a Tree Nut?

Yes, macadamia nut is a tree nut. The trees are called evergreen trees. They belong to the family Proteaceae known for their richly flavored edible seeds.

Descriptions

What Do Macadamia Nuts Taste Like?

Macadamia nuts have a rich buttery flavor and are often used in chocolates, desserts, and as snacks.

What Do Macadamia Nuts Look Like?

Macadamia nuts are round in shape and light in color.

The macadamia nut is particularly difficult to crack. It requires around 2,000 N of force to break the shell. The shell material has a hardness comparable with aluminum and mechanical properties similar to hazelnuts.

Nutrition Information

Nutrients

Raw macadamia nuts only contain 1% water, 14% carbohydrates, 76% fat, and 8% protein (table).

A 100-gram reference amount of macadamia nuts can provide you with 740 kilocalories. Macadamia nuts are rich in essential nutrients including thiamin (104% DV), B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and more.

Compared to other nuts like almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in total fat and have a relatively low amount of protein. They contain a large percentage of monounsaturated fats (59%)

Calories

The total calories in:

  • 1 nut (2.6g): 19 Calories
  • 1 oz (10-12 kernels): 204 Calories
  • 100g: 718-740 Calories
  • 1 cup (whole/halves): 962 Calories

How Many Per Day?

A healthy portion of macadamia nuts is about 30g or 15 whole nuts per day. Although it may be a welcome change, ideally you should try to eat no more than one handful and no less than one nut.

Several studies have shown that 30g of nuts a day will provide heart-health benefits without weight gain.

Benefits

macadamia nuts

Health Benefits

Lower risk of heart disease

A research review found that eating any type of tree nuts lowers total cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and triglycerides. The lower risk factors for heart disease has the potential to decrease the chances of a person having a heart attack or stroke.

Help improving metabolic syndrome and diabetes

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that can increase risk factors for diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Some research has indicated that monounsaturated fatty acids, 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.

May prevent cancer

Macadamia nuts contain a type of vitamin E called tocotrienols that may have powerful anticancer abilities.

Macadamia nuts contain flavonoids which can fight cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

Protect the brain

Another study also found that tocotrienols help protect brain cells from the effects of glutamate, which may play a part in the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

May help losing weight

Macadamia nuts and their oil are some of the richest sources of palmitoleic acid, monounsaturated fat also called omega-7. Some studies, although inconclusive, show that a particular quality of this macadamia fat may help in weight loss.

Help feel full longer

Macadamia nuts are high in protein, good fats and fiber. Together these nutrients can help a person feel fuller for longer without overindulgence.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

Benefits for Skin

Macadamia nuts are rich in lipids or fats which may help reduce wrinkles.

A study found that the oil from macadamia may have a protective action on human skin cells and can stimulate cell regeneration.

Benefits for Hair

Macadamia oil is a hair conditioner. It can provide deep conditioning without the greasy feeling of some other oils and it also helps to control frizz that is caused by humidity or dryness.

Pros and Cons of Macadamia Nuts

Pros

Macadamias have so many health benefits that makes eating them a great food. They can lower the risk of heart disease, help improving metabolic syndrome and diabetes, may help prevent cancer, protect the brain, and may help in weight loss.

Cons

Macadamia nuts also have some drawbacks.

They can be costly and hard to find. In fact, these nuts are one of the most expensive nuts in the world.

They’re high in calories (especially when eaten raw), so you need to be mindful of how much you eat.

They have lower protein than any other nuts so they’re not a good protein source.

A healthy amount is about 30g or 15 macadamia nuts per day, which can be hard to calculate when eating out and in large portions at home.

They also have high fat content so it’s important to keep track of how much you eat.  If consumed too many times throughout the day, this can lead to weight gain.

They can also make people allergic (especially those with tree nut allergies).

Why Macadamia Nuts Are So Expensive?

Macadamias are difficult to propagate, slow to bear, and limited to a small geographic location. As such they can be expensive when harvest rates do not keep up with demand.

Macadamia nut production takes five years of growth after planting, which is why they are so pricey to import from their native land of Australia.

Macadamia Nuts and Dogs

Macadamia nuts are toxic for dogs. They can cause weakness and muscle paralysis within 12 hours of contact, often resulting in hind limb paralysis and inability to stand.

It is not known what makes macadamia nuts toxic, but its effects on dogs have only been reported.

If the dog consumes a large number of macadamia nuts, symptoms may include muscle tremors, joint pain, and severe abdominal pain. While not life-threatening, acute opiate medication for symptom relief is needed at first until toxicity fades. In most cases, full recovery can be expected within 24 to 48 hours.

FAQs

Are macadamia nuts the healthiest?

Macadamia nuts are high in healthy fats and may help those trying to lose weight. They also contain a good amount of protein, dietary fiber, manganese, thiamin, copper. The fat content is higher than other popular nuts because they also have more protein and dietary fiber.

Are macadamia nuts a superfood?

The delicious macadamia nut is a superfood that shares many health benefits. Rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and key nutrients, it may even take part in weight loss!

Why are macadamia nuts bad for you?

Macadamia nuts have a bad reputation because they are high in fat. However, the majority of their fat is monounsaturated (the good for you, heart-healthy kind of fat).

Can you eat too many macadamia nuts?

Eating too many macadamia nuts will actually make you gain weight, according to Jones. That’s because nuts are calorie-intensive, meaning they have more energy per ounce than other food groups, primarily due to the healthy fats contained within them.

How long do macadamia nuts last?

Macadamia nuts are healthy for you, but can spoil if stored improperly. They last a maximum of three months in an airtight container in the refrigerator– though they can also be frozen to stay edible for up to six months.

Are macadamia nuts Keto?

Macadamia nuts are a great choice for those following the keto diet. They have plenty of healthy monounsaturated fats and they’re lower in carbs than other nuts.

See also: Avocado Upset Stomach: The Causes and Preventions