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Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts

Published on Aug 27, 2016 in Natural Ingredients

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Macadamia nuts are among the most popular (and delicious) nuts in the whole world. Also known as the Hawaii nut or bush nut, they are the product of the macadamia tree family, which includes four different kinds of evergreen trees. Like so many other great natural resources (the tea tree and eucalyptus tree come to mind), Macadamia nuts can trace their origins back to Australia, where the macadamia trees flower all year round, and provide the local and international population with the amazingly succulent nut, and with its essential oils. The essential oil derived from macadamias is great for your skin, and many cosmetics manufacturers use it as an ingredient in their skin care products. Overall, there are a number of great health benefits of Macadamia nuts, all of which we will cover right here!

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Macadamia nuts on a tree

History of the Macadamia Nut

The Australian Aborigines used the macadamia for thousands of years. In the early 19th century, the tree was discovered by the Western world, as it were, and plantations first began to crop up in the late 19th century. Part of the reason it is called the Hawaii nut, is due to its relatively early introduction to the islands. In the middle of the 20th century, Hawaii and its islands were established as one of the world’s largest macadamia growers. In recent years, Africa actually zoomed right by Australia and Hawaii, and claimed the crown of “largest producer of macadamia nuts” for itself.

Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts

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Macadamia nuts oil

At a glance, it is possible to think that macadamia nuts are not too healthy. They are well-known for being a very fatty nut, high in calories, and – quite frankly – nearly addictive, due to their amazing taste. So, if you take those nutty facts into account, it is possible you would think they didn’t have many health benefits. So, yes, you could think that – but you’d be wrong.Macadamia nuts are, indeed, healthy. Over 80% of the fat which is found within the nut is monounsaturated fat, which has been linked to a healthy cardiovascular system. Macadamias contain fiber, several different kinds of minerals, antioxidants, vitamin A, and B vitamins.

Regarding the calories, this is actually a valid concern, since these nuts have one of the highest calorie count of any nut. Those who are counting calories, or who are instructed to be a specific diet, should probably consult with a dietician or health care professional before incorporating macadamias into their daily eating habits. Another health benefit is that macadamias simply make you feel good. This is part of what makes them such a great alternative to snack foods and unhealthy kinds of nourishment. Those who eat macadamias on a regular basis, as part of a healthy diet, help the body rid itself of bad cholesterol, keep the peristalsis running smoothly, and keep the heart in good shape. As a general rule, purchasing unprocessed macadamias is highly preferable to purchasing processed or sweetened ones. Un-shelled macadamias have a really impressive shelf life of several months, if you treat them properly, and store them in a cool, dry area. Shelled nuts can also stay fresh for a long time if you keep them refrigerated and in a container. This is done to prevent oxygenation, which may cause the nuts to turn. If your nuts smell bad, or if they develop spots or mold – chuck them out. They will no longer be of use, and could even be potentially harmful.

How To Eat a Macadamia Nut?

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Macadamia nut cookies

Well, the classic way is to simply eat them, as is. It is my favorite way to enjoy them, whenever I do manage to get my hands on them. Their flavor is amazing, without anything added. Fresh, unsweetened, just-shelled macadamias are a delicacy, and nothing will replace that taste, no matter what is added to them. Other ways to eat macadamias include roasting them, sweetening them, or salting them. Do one, or do all three. Either way, the result is guaranteed to be mouth-watering and addictive. People use crushed macadamias over many types of salads and in many, many baked goods. That’s right. I am looking right at you, Pepperidge Farm… Macadamias are also used as a butter, which provides an alternative for those suffering from Celiac disease since macadamias are free of gluten. Macadamias are also used as a cooking and dressing oil (not to be confused with the macadamia’s essential oil!), and they add a wonderful flavor to just about any dish they are put into. They make for one of the healthiest oils around, in the same healthy-oils category as oils like Avocado Oil and Castor Oil. Their scent and taste are distinct, and it can be a great addition to anything from meat or vegetable dishes to dairy desserts.

Macadamia Nut Allergies

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I sure like these nuts!

As far as allergies are concerned, the macadamia is not exactly like your ordinary almondcashew or pistachio. There are far fewer people who are allergic to macadamias, which makes them relatively safer. I only say relative, so make sure to find out for yourself, depending on the situation, whether macadamias are an ingredient you should be using. If you suffer from nut allergies, there is still a chance you could be affected, depending on the degree and severity of your allergy and medical history. Seriously, don’t take chances.

Shopping for Macadamia Nuts

Macadamias can be expensive. Depending on their origin and quality – and obviously on where and how it is you are purchasing them – these nuts can cost a pretty penny. So, when you do eat them, be sure to do so in moderation. It is not just a financial concern, of course, but also a healthy one. Like every other food, it should be consumed with caution and in moderation. There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing, and macadamias are no exception.

Conclusion

Nuts are a wonderful way to get essential and non-essential nutrients alike, and macadamias are famous for being a nut among nuts. I think I speak for all of us when I say ‘thank you’ to those brave and noble souls who worked tirelessly to provide the world with this miraculous nut, its oil, and its essential oil. So, to sum up: keep on eating macadamias, and stay healthy!

Check out the rest of our Maple Holistics blog for the latest in all things healthy – like our new Goji Berries feature!