Full of nutrients, taste and substance. You can even substitute it for meat. Just in case you don’t know this, Macadamia Nuts are quite expensive.
At Sprouts, they are $19.99 per pound. The question is, what is the full nutritional value of Macadamia nuts?
I suggest that you measure all your foods, especially when it’s something like nuts, bran cereal, whole grain rice, you get the point. When replacing meats or other proteins, a fistful is usually a good guide.
If you love macadamia nuts you might choose this variety over almonds or walnuts. But are macadamia nuts healthy? The fat and calories in macadamia nuts might tempt you to avoid them.
Calories and Nutrition
Macadamia nuts are kernels that are produced by the macadamia nut tree, originally from Australia but now found in many parts of the world, including Hawaii. The nuts have a hard outer shell that is removed before the nuts are processed.
Often, the nuts are roasted or fried in oil. Macadamia nuts are sold as a snack food, widely used in baking and used to flavor products like ice cream.
The nutrition data provided on the label is for raw macadamia nuts. If the nuts are processed or cooked with oil or if other ingredients are added the nutrition data will change.
- A single one-ounce serving of roasted, salted macadamia nuts provides 235 calories, 25 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
- A single two-ounce serving of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts provides 320 calories, 26 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar and 3 grams of protein.
- A single one-ounce serving of nut snack mix containing macadamia nuts provides 167 calories, 11 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 202 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein.
- One ounce of macadamia nut flour that is sometimes used as a gluten-free starch substitute provides 205 calories, 21 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 7 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 2 grams of protein.
Macadamia nuts are high in fat, but they also provide a boost of monounsaturated fat, considered a “good” fat. Monounsaturated fat or MUFAs come from plant sources and may be helpful in lowering your LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
For this reason, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you choose foods with monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fat.
Macadamia nuts also provide fiber. Eating foods high in fiber can help you to feel fuller and more satisfied. Weight loss experts generally recommend that dieters consume foods with fiber to help them eat less and create the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
Macadamia nuts are also a good source of Thiamin and a very good source of manganese.
Common Questions About Incorporating Nuts in a Healthy Diet
Here are answers to a few common questions about eating nuts as part of a healthy diet.
What’s the Best Way to Avoid Overeating Nuts?
Even though nuts provide health benefits, they are one of the most common foods that we overeat. A single serving of macadamia nuts is just 10-12 kernels. But we usually don’t count nuts before we eat them.
To avoid overdoing it, use your hand to control portions. A small handful of nuts is a single serving.
Are Flavored Nuts or Nut Mixes Just as Healthy as Regular Nuts?
Macadamia nuts are found in some, but not all nut mixes. When you buy nut blends or nut mixes, the nuts may be roasted in oil or seasoned with high sodium products. The result is that you may consume far more fat or sodium than you expect.
Can Nuts Be Part of a Weight Loss Diet?
Nuts can make a smart snack if you are trying to lose weight. The protein and fiber in nuts may help you to feel full and satisfied so you don’t eat again soon after your meal.
How to Properly Store Macadamia Nuts
The best way to store nuts is to keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. They should stay fresh for about three months.
If you keep them in the refrigerator they should stay fresh for up to six months and if you freeze them you can use them for about one year.
The fat content of macadamia nuts is higher than that of other popular nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts. A 1-ounce (oz) serving of macadamia nuts has 21grams (g) of total fat.
More than 75 percent of the fat that macadamia nuts contains 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 contain just over 1g of natural sugar, and they are a low glycemic index food. With their many health benefits, macadamia nuts can fit into any healthful diet.
1. They lower heart disease risk
Macadamia nuts can lower the risk factors for heart disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that heart disease causes 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States. It is the leading cause of death for both males and females, responsible for the deaths of around 610,000 people each year.
Studies have found that eating tree nuts, including macadamia nuts, can lower the risk factors for heart disease.
For example, a 2007 study in males with high cholesterol found that after 4 weeks of eating macadamia nuts, they had lower risk factors for coronary artery disease.
In 2015, a research review found that eating tree nuts of any type lowered total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol, and triglycerides.
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.
Another long-term study in people from Sweden found that consuming nuts may be linked with a lower risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
2. They improve metabolic syndrome and diabetes
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.
The American Heart Association (AHA) say that about 34 percent of adults in the U.S. have metabolic syndrome. The rates are increasing across the world.
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.
Another study shows that macadamia trees nuts can help improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.
3. They may prevent cancer
Macadamia nuts contain a type of Vitamin E called tocotrienols.
Tocotrienols may have powerful anticancer abilities, according to some research. Macadamia nuts contain a significant amount of tocotrienols.
Macadamia nuts also contain plant compounds called flavonoids, which can fight cancer by destroying damaging free radicals in the body.
What are the most healthful nuts you can eat?
Nuts are generally a very healthful type of food, and they have many benefits. Learn more about the best nuts for health here:
4. They protect the brain
Aside from their potential ability to fight cancer, tocotrienols also have brain-protecting effects.
One study found that a tocotrienol-rich supplement helps protect brain cells from the effects of glutamate, which may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
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.
5. They may prevent weight gain
Macadamia nuts and their oil are some of the richest sources of palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also called omega-7.
Researchers in one study gave sheep palmitoleic acid for 28 days, and the results show a reduction in weight gain by 77 percent. However, experts have not yet shown that palmitoleic acid has weight loss benefits in humans.
Study shows that feeding mice macadamia nut oil as a supplement reduced the size of their fat cells after 12 weeks.
6. They stave off hunger
Macadamia nuts contain protein, high amounts of beneficial fats, and fiber. Together, these nutrients can help a person feel full longer.
The fat takes longer to digest, causing the protein and fiber to help prevent large blood sugar spikes that can make a person feel hungry.
Side effects of eating macadamia nuts
Though macadamia nuts can be a part of a healthful diet, a person should remember the following possible drawbacks:
They are calorie-dense
Macadamia nuts are calorie-dense and can contain extra oil, salt, or sugar.
One cup of macadamia nuts contains 950 calories, which can be half of a person’s daily calorie intake. However, the standard serving size for macadamia nuts is 1oz, or 28.4g, 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
You can eat macadamia nuts raw or roasted. However, one study suggests that roasting macadamia nuts, especially at higher temperatures, can reduce their nutrient content. It may be best to consume raw or soaked macadamia nuts, or nuts roasted at a low temperature.
Some contain extra oil, salt, or sugar
Not all macadamia nuts are a heart healthy choices. A person should look at the ingredients and only choose the types that contain nuts, no sugar, salt, or added oil. To help control cholesterol levels but have healthy fats.
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.
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