There’s no escaping it – nuts are powerful. When else do you get so many nutrients in a single small package? There isn’t even any prep work to worry about. You can just open a bag of nuts and eat them straight away.
Macadamia nuts are famous for being rich, buttery, and creamy, a profile that only intensifies after roasting. These are also one of the only nuts that could be called decadent.
What about health, though? A decadent and creamy nut doesn’t sound like it could also be healthy. What about it, then? Are macadamia nuts good for you and how do they stack up against other options, like almonds and walnuts?
Are Macadamia Nuts Good For Your Health?
- The Nutrition Of Macadamia Nuts
- Benefits Of Macadamia Nuts
- How Macadamia Nuts Can Be Harmful
- Are Macadamia Nuts Worse Than Other Nuts?
- What Is A Healthy Serving Size?
- Final Thoughts
The Nutrition Of Macadamia Nuts
The nutrient profile is a good starting point for any food, macadamia nuts included. Per ounce (that’s a serving of around 10 to 12 individual macadamia nuts), you’re looking at this nutritional profile:
- 204 calories
- Fat: 21.6 grams
- Carbs: 3.8 grams
- Fiber: 2.3 grams
- Sugars: 1.2 grams
- Protein: 2.2 grams
A few patterns are obvious straight away. Macadamia nuts are clearly high in fat. They contain some protein and fiber too, but not incredible amounts.
There are some interesting nutrients too. Manganese and thiamin are particularly powerful, although you’re also getting some iron, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients.
It’s easy to be blasé about nutrients, as they’re in almost everything you eat. Yet, nutrients are critically important. We need to regularly hit our targets for all the essential vitamins and minerals to stay healthy – and macadamia nuts help us to do so.
Benefits Of Macadamia Nuts
A Powerful Source Of Healthy Fats
The fat content of macadamia nuts is one reason that people avoid them entirely. Yet, fat’s negative reputation isn’t entirely deserved. The right type of fat can improve our health, and macadamia nuts are packed full of exactly the type we need.
In particular, most of the fat in macadamia nuts is monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats may actually lower your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Both effects can then reduce your heart disease risk.
This effect could be even more powerful if you’re eating macadamia nuts instead of saturated fat rich snacks, like candy bars.
Good For Blood Sugar Levels
Macadamia nuts are low in sugar and contain some fiber, along with protein and plenty of fat. That balance of macronutrients makes them excellent for your blood sugar levels.
In particular, they won’t cause a blood sugar spike in the way that carb rich snacks will. Eating nuts regularly may even improve glycemic control. This is fantastic news for people with diabetes and those trying to decrease their diabetes risk.
Can Decrease Inflammation
Let’s talk about inflammation. This natural process is an important part of our how bodies defend themselves. But, it can also easily get out of control, where chronic inflammation can lead to damage to healthy parts of your body.
Over time, the damage caused by chronic inflammation stacks up and can start to raise your risk of conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Anti-inflammatory foods help to reverse the trend, lowering your levels of inflammation and decreasing disease risk at the same time. The monounsaturated fats in macadamia nuts are powerful for this effect. So too are some of the antioxidants present, including flavonoids.
They’re A Whole Food Ingredient
Modern diets are filled with heavily processed foods. The processing gets a bit insane sometimes, to the point that some products don’t even resemble the food that they’re made from.
Processed foods still contain nutrients, but often in a different balance than you find in real food. The processing steps may also cause changes to the chemical composition – and then there are all the additives, which are never wonderful for health.
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to focus on whole foods as much as you possibly can. Macadamia nuts are fantastic here, as they’re simply nuts. You know exactly what you’re getting, especially if you roast them yourself.
Could Promote Weight Loss (if you’re careful!)
Like other nuts, macadamia nuts could be useful for weight loss. The fat, fiber, and protein they contain means that they end up being satisfying.
This effect is very relevant for weight loss, as when you feel satisfied, you’re less likely to snack on junk food.
Of course, weight loss is linked to the calories you consume versus the ones you’re using. To lose weight effectively, you need to be consuming fewer calories you’re burning. It really is as simple as that.
Macadamia nuts are high in calories. So, to lose weight with them, you’ll need to make sure your calorie intake decreases elsewhere. If you just add them to your diet as-is, without making other changes, you’re likely to gain weight rather than losing it.
They’re A Source Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are most strongly associated with brightly colored fruits and vegetables, but this isn’t the only place they’re found. Macadamia nuts offer a surprising number of antioxidants too.
Antioxidants get their fame from doing what their name suggests – reducing oxidation. The effect might not sound like much, but it’s critically important, as high amounts of oxidation can cause significant harm throughout our bodies.
Too much oxidation can even raise our risk of disease. Antioxidants help to keep the issue in check, protecting our health in the process.
They’re Easy To Use
The final benefit of macadamia nuts is simply that they’re so practical. You can buy the nuts at most stores or even order them online.
Macadamia nuts are delicious as snacks or as part of a trail mix. They’re popular in baking too, as they add a creamy decadence to any recipe. You can even make macadamia bread.
However, it’s important to pay close attention to how you’re using macadamia nuts. Even though the nuts themselves are healthy, many of the recipes that they feature in aren’t. Macadamia nut cookies are a classic example here, as they’re often loaded with fat and calories.
To get the most from macadamia nuts, it’s best to eat them on their own or focus on healthy recipes, particularly those that offer plenty of protein and don’t contain much added sugar.
How Macadamia Nuts Can Be Harmful
They Can Trigger Allergies
Macadamia nuts fall into the category of tree nuts, so allergies to them are common. Some people are only sensitive to macadamia nuts, while others experience reactions from multiple types of nuts.
If you are allergic to macadamia nuts, then avoiding them may be your only option.
They Can Promote Weight Gain
The monounsaturated fats in macadamia nuts are much healthier than the saturated fats found in other snacks. But, we’re still talking about a lot of fat and fat is high in calories.
This is why a single ounce of macadamia nuts contains roughly 200 calories. This, plus how tasty macadamia nuts are, makes it very easy to overdo it.
The best way around the issue is to portion out your nuts. Try not to have a full bag of them in front of you or you may find that you reach for more than you intend to.
They’re Sometimes Roasted With Oil Or Salt
Roasted macadamia nuts sometimes come with unwanted additions that decrease the health benefits.
The first issue is roasting the nuts in oil, as this adds to the fat content. Plus, the extra fat often isn’t the healthy kind.
Adding salt can be an issue too. Now, sodium isn’t always something you need to avoid. It is still a mineral that our bodies need.
The problem is that salt is everywhere. It’s pretty hard to consume too little sodium these days, while consuming too much takes no effort at all.
To avoid this problem, you’ll need to choose your macadamia nuts carefully. Look for ones that don’t have any added sugar or salt and that aren’t roasted in oil.
If you’re struggling to find good products, why not buy raw macadamia nuts and roast them yourself? This way you can be confident that nothing has been added.
Are Macadamia Nuts Worse Than Other Nuts?
Macadamia nuts are sometimes called one of the worst types of nuts. But, sometimes they’re seen as incredibly healthy instead.
That difference in perspective links back to a single problem, how do you define what’s healthy? There isn’t a single definition.
Macadamia nuts are interesting because they meet some definitions of healthy and not others. On the plus side, they’re a whole food ingredient that’s low in carbs and contains a decent amount of healthy fats.
On the negative side, macadamia nuts contain more fat and more calories than most other types of nuts. They’re lower in protein too.
So, are they healthy or not? Honestly, that depends on your needs.
For example, macadamia nuts wouldn’t be your first choice for weight loss. They’re too high in calories and don’t offer enough protein. Almonds would be a much better choice.
However, if you’re trying to consume more healthy fats, then macadamia nuts are a fantastic choice.
What Is A Healthy Serving Size?
The most common recommendation for nuts and seeds is to have roughly an ounce per day. This is about the amount that fits into the palm of your hand – and isn’t much at all.
For macadamia nuts, this is somewhere between 10 and 15 individual nuts, depending on how large they are.
There’s a catch, though. Most people need to focus on no more than an ounce or two of nuts or seeds per day. That’s an ounce or two in total, rather than an ounce of almonds, an ounce of macadamia nuts, an ounce of peanuts, and so on.
This might sound obvious, but the distinction is worth making.
After all, nuts and seeds are now used in many snacks, like protein bars and bliss balls. You’ll also see them turn up in creative ways, like using cashew nuts to make vegan cheese or cheesecakes.
If you simply assume that such foods are healthy, it becomes very easy to overdo it with fat and calories.
Also remember that the benefits and serving size are based on the idea that you’re eating macadamia nuts on their own. Dipping macadamia nuts in chocolate or using them to make cookies increases the calorie content. That’s a difference you’ll need to consider.
Macadamia nuts are high in fat, but this doesn’t stop them from being good for you. The nuts are actually excellent sources of healthy fats, while also providing some antioxidants, fiber, and protein.
Besides, the benefits of nuts are well-established at this point. Eating them regularly can help to stabilize your blood sugar levels, decrease your inflammation, and perhaps even help you to live longer. Pretty impressive, right?
The biggest catch is the calorie content. Nuts are always calorie dense and macadamia nuts contain more calories than most. Being careful with your portion sizes is the best way to enjoy the benefits of macadamia nuts without putting yourself at risk.
You may want to be particularly cautious if you’re trying to lose weight. While macadamia nuts do have some weight loss benefits, they’re not the ideal choice. You’ll see better outcomes by focusing on nuts that are higher in protein and lower in calories.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Do Macadamia Nuts Come From?
Macadamia nuts originally come from Australia. However, commercial production happens in many other places as well, including South Africa, China, Vietnam, and Asia.
Are Macadamia Nuts Tree Nuts?
Like peanuts and walnuts, macadamia nuts aren’t true nuts. They’re classified as seeds instead. Despite this classification, macadamia nuts can set off a tree nut allergy, so it’s important to be cautious with them.
Why Are Macadamia Nuts So Expensive?
The price of macadamia nuts is largely a supply and demand issue. Part of the problem is how the nuts grow. The trees take years to mature and can’t produce nuts immediately.
Then there’s the demand. Most nuts are popular, but this popularity is particularly extreme for macadamia nuts. Their creamy texture and slight sweetness also makes them ideal in many situations.
Demand for these nuts continues to increase faster than supply, which drives the price up further.
Are Macadamia Nuts Keto Friendly?
Macadamia nuts are a decent choice for keto diets, with just 5 net grams of carbs in a 3.5 ounce serving. The high fat content is fantastic for keto too, helping you to hit your macro targets.
What Do Macadamia Nuts Taste Like?
Macadamia nuts are famous for being rich and buttery. They are a little sweet as well, which makes them work well with many dishes.
Beyond these characteristics, there is the classic nutty flavor, although this is mild.
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