When you think of macadamia nuts, Hawaii might come to mind. This nut is actually native to the continent Down Under. This explains why the fruit is also known as the Australian Nut.
These are some of the most sought-after nuts in the world, so they can be expensive. This has driven up commercial production in other balmy areas like South Africa and Central America. The trees thrive if there’s sufficient water. Introduced in Hawaii in 1881 and soon afterward in California, Hawaii is now the world’s largest exporter. A 10-year-old macadamia tree might produce up to 22 kg and increase indefinitely.
The husks are composted for fertilizer. In Japan, the oil is used in the cosmetic industry to make soaps, shampoos, and sunscreens. The remainder can be used in animal feed. Macadamias are a tough nut to crack, as the saying goes. Containing at least 72 percent oil, they’re encased in a leathery, green husk that splits open as the nut matures.
As a natural, whole food, macadamia nuts contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals with significant health-boosting potential. They contain high amounts of vitamin B1 and magnesium. Just one serving nets 58 percent of what you need in manganese and 23 percent of the recommended daily value of thiamin.
Raw nuts contain a number of nutrients along with a healthy amount of monounsaturated fat. Macadamias are relatively low in carbs and protein (containing two percent per one-ounce serving). They are high in oleic acid and omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid, the same fatty acid found in olive oil. In fact, of the 21 grams of fat found in macadamia nuts only three grams are saturated fat.
Studies done on Macadamias
Clinical trials and studies demonstrated that the fatty acid profile of macadamia nuts beneficially affect serum lipids/lipoproteins. This results in a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, a Journal of the American College of Nutrition study found that people who ate nuts benefited in other ways, including:
- Lower systolic blood pressure
- Less likelihood of having two of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome: high blood pressure and low HDL (good) cholesterol (for nut consumers)
- Less likelihood of having four risk factors for metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose, and a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome
Another reason why nuts are beneficial is that many of them, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts, contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with coronary heart disease. Nut consumption is also associated with a reduced incidence of diabetes in women, gallstones in both men and women. It has also benefits onoxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity.
It’s also important to note that macadamia nuts are toxic for dogs and can cause weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, tremors, and hyperthermia.
Al Rifai offers a selection of dry roasted macadamias and raw as well.