Why You Should Add Macadamia Nuts To Your Diet, Stat

by | Apr 23, 2024 | Nutrition

Macadamia nuts are top-level when it comes to nut rankings, the real crème de la crème — packing heaps of benefits into those little beige bods.

Rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, including thiamin (vitamin B1), manganese, and copper, they boost gut health, help protect against various diseases, and even reduce weight gain.

The current health advice — almost universally agreed upon, which pretty much never happens — is to eat at least 30 different plants a week, which includes veg, fruit, seeds, grains, herbs and, you guessed it, nuts.

Little pointers when adding macadamia nuts to your weekly shop — probably steer clear of the cookie aisle, instead sprinkling the OG on salads or swapping them in as a crusting for fish or just eating as a snack. Look for ones that haven’t got added salt, sugar or oil, and ideally not roasted as it’s been shown to lower their nutritional punch. It’s also worth noting they are pretty calorific, with 10-12 — which is a standard serving size — clocking up 200 calories, so aim for around that amount.

And here’s why they’re worth it: macadamia benefits galore, coming right up…

1. Packed with antioxidants

Quick recap: Antioxidants neutralise free radicals (unstable atoms that damage cells in the body, leading to signs of ageing and illness, so not as fun as they sound), which prevents the damage to the cells caused by oxidation. In short, we want them — and raw macadamia nuts have them.

Macadamia nuts are also high in flavonoids, plant compounds with health-boosting antioxidant properties that lower cholesterol and fight inflammation — in fact, they nearly take the top flavonoid spot of all tree nuts.

They even contain a significant dose of tocotrienols, a type of vitamin E with antioxidant properties that lowers cholesterol and protects against neurodegenerative disorders, brain disease, and cancer.

2. Good for heart health

Studies have shown eating 8-42g (a serving is about 28g) of macadamia nuts daily can lower total and LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol by up to 10%, similar to a heart-healthy, low-fat diet.

High in monounsaturated fat, the highly-hyped one that’s in olive oil and avocados, they reduce inflammation and improve heart health, lowering risk of stroke and fatal heart attacks.

READ MORE: 5 Heart Disease Risk Factors Every Woman Needs To Know About

3. Protect against metabolic syndrome

This is a group of conditions that can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, with symptoms presenting as high blood pressure and sugar, low levels of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol, high triglycerides (fat in the blood) and excess belly fat.

Studies have shown monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) — badass plant-based fats, which are in macadamia nuts — may protect from metabolic syndrome, lessen its effects, and even lower blood sugar and improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.

4. Good for brain health

Studies have shown tocotrienols can protect brain cells from glutamate. This is a chemical messenger or transmitter which plays a role in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. However, more research needs to be done into whether foods that contain it work in the same way as supplements.

5. Aid weight loss (and reduce weight gain)

Macadamia nuts are super-duper high in palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fat aka omega-7, which has been shown to reduce weight gain and fat cells.

Also, packed with protein, good fats and fibre, they help feel satiated — full for longer, as well as avoiding sugar spikes.

READ MORE: Volume Eating: The Pros, Cons And Nuances Of The Weight Loss Approach

6. Good for gut health

Macadamia nuts work as a prebiotic — feeding your good gut bacteria. These then produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which protect against conditions like IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and even diabetes by reducing inflammation.

7. Easy to add to your diet

Widely available, not too pricey and simple to snack on, add to meals or consume in the form of nut milk (yeh, macadamia milk — for real, though that is a lil pricey.)

This article by Rebecca Gillam was originally published on Women’s Health UK.

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