The Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts and the Most Delicious Ways to Enjoy Them
Perfectly creamy and buttery, macadamia nuts are often enjoyed in cookies, but macadamia has so much more to offer. The subtly sweet nut works wonders in a range of recipes, from pie crusts to salad dressings. And here’s the thing: macadamia nuts are packed with a myriad of essential nutrients. Here, learn about the health benefits of macadamia nuts and how to use them in your cooking.
What are the nutritional benefits of macadamia nuts?
From a whole-body perspective, macadamias have a lot to offer. Walnuts are high in “good” monounsaturated fats, which reduce inflammation by suppressing inflammatory proteins called cytokines, according to a 2019 scientific paper. This is essential because excessive, long-term inflammation can damage DNA, increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Additionally, macadamia nuts offer flavonoids and tocotrienols, which are antioxidant compounds. According to Marissa Meshulam, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of MPM Nutrition, antioxidants fight free radicals or harmful molecules which, when present in large amounts, cause cell damage and inflammation. So, if you’re looking to increase your intake of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods, macadamia nuts will do the trick.
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The good fats in macadamia nuts can also benefit specific areas of the body. According to Meshulam, monounsaturated fats have been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. This is notable because high LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The anti-inflammatory properties of these fats are also helpful, as inflammation can further contribute to the development of heart disease. Plus, these healthy fats also help your noggin. “Your brain is mostly made up of fat, so eating foods high in healthy fats, like the monounsaturated fats found in macadamia nuts, helps support brain health,” says Meshulam. Macadamia nuts also contain vitamin E, she adds. This essential nutrient may slow or prevent neurodegenerative brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2019 scientific paper. Even your gut will benefit from macadamia nuts. “Macadamia nuts are a source of soluble fiber,” says Meshulam. “Soluble fiber serves as a prebiotic for gut bacteria, which means it helps feed the good microbes in our gut, [helping] May they flourish.”
How to use macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are eaten like other nuts: alone, as a garnish and in pastries. In the dessert realm, they’re most commonly found in white chocolate chip cookies, though they also work well in pies, granola, and shortbread. Try adding a handful of macadamia nuts to your next quick bread, like our Vegan Banana Bread. If you fancy a simpler treat, try our Lime Macadamia Nut Peel or our Chocolate Caramelized Macadamia Nuts.
But don’t limit yourself to sweet things. Simply toast the nuts in a spice blend, like we did with our Habanero Garlic Macadamia Nuts. Use chopped macadamia nuts to add flavor and texture to savory dishes, including salads and soups. Do you like crispy breaded meats? Try using macadamia nuts in our Almond Crusted Chicken or Walnut Crusted Chicken Breasts. You can also buy macadamia nut oil, which serves as a heart-healthy substitute for vegetable or canola oil. As Meshulam explains, most vegetable oils are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. These fats, when consumed in excess, can promote inflammation. However, macadamia nut oil has the opposite effect, being relatively low in omega-6s and high in anti-inflammatory fats.