Buttery and delicious, Macadamia nuts are one of the healthiest nuts in the world. Indigenous to Australia, they are also known as Bush nut, Queensland nut, bauple nut, maroochi nut and Hawaii nut. They are also commercially produced in California, Brazil, Israel, Costa Rica, Kenya, New Zealand etc. Macadamia nuts are high in fat and calories, which are often considered to be unhealthy attributes of food when it comes to your heart. But don’t write off these nuts so easily. They are in fact packed with many amazing nutrients that are actually beneficial to the heart and your overall health. This article explains the various health benefits that you get by incorporating macadamia nuts in your diet.
Nutritional profile of Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are high in fat and low in protein when compared to other nuts like cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts. However, they are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and palmitoleic acids that offer several health benefiting properties like lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol levels. They contain good amounts of dietary fiber and contain no cholesterol whatsoever. Macadamia nuts are a great source of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium and zinc. Additionally they contain vitamins C, E and B complex vitamins like niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate and vitamin B6. Most of the nutrients in these nuts have antioxidant properties and are beneficial in protecting your body against the harmful effects of free radicals.
Health Benefits of Macadamia nuts
Many people tend to stay away from macadamia nuts because of their high fat content. But it should be helpful to know that these nuts are a storehouse of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can improve your health and well being. After reading this article and understanding their health benefits, you might want to incorporate macadamia nuts in your regular diet. Given below are the important health benefits of these healthy and super tasty nuts:
- Power of antioxidants in macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts have high flavonoid content. Flavonoids have potent antioxidant properties that protect the cells in your body from oxidative damage caused by the dangerous free radicals. By destroying the free radicals, these antioxidants help lower the risks of life threatening diseases like heart diseases and cancer.
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- Eat macadamia nuts for a healthy heart
Although dense in calories, macadamia nuts contain plenty of monounsaturated fatty acids that are extremely good for your heart. These fatty acids have the ability to lower the levels of bad cholesterol or LDL and increase the good cholesterol or HDL levels. According to a study conducted at the Pennsylvania State University, adding macadamia nuts in the diet helps in reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides by about 10%. Macadamia nuts are also found to help in lowering blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, thus reducing the risks of heart attacks.
- Skin benefits of Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts have beauty enhancing properties and provide great benefits to your skin. In addition to being a wonderful moisturizer, the nutrients in these nuts promote healing and offer protection from skin damage. The essential oils in macadamia nuts are similar to the natural oils in the skin and they enhance the beauty of your skin by adding a special glow. The palmitoleic acid found in these nuts has antioxidant effects. Along with other nutrients that also provide antioxidant properties, macadamia nuts protect your skin from free radical damage and prevent the early appearance of aging signs like wrinkles and fine lines. Macadamia oil can be used to remove makeup and to effectively cleanse your skin.
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- Macadamia nuts for beautiful hair
The oil extracted from macadamia nuts is often used as an ingredient in many products that are used to promote healthy skin and hair. It is easily absorbed into the scalp and hair, providing excellent moisturization and nourishment. The moisturizing properties of the oil help prevent the occurrence of dandruff, dry and itchy scalp and other scalp related infections. The nutrients in the oil helps maintain healthy hair and prevents hair damage. The oil improves the strength and elasticity of the hair and prevents hair breakage. It coats the hair shafts and helps to eliminate frizz. According to a study published in the 2010 issue of Food chemistry, the high levels of antioxidants in Macadamia nuts protects your skin, hair and entire body from the cellular damages caused by the free radicals. The regular application of macadamia nuts oil on your hair leaves it looking healthy, smooth and lustrous.
- Macadamia nuts assist in weight loss
In spite of the fact that macadamia nuts are high in fat, they are found to be beneficial in aiding weight loss. Studies indicate that including nuts like macadamia nuts in the regular diet promotes weight loss, especially in the waist region. The monounsaturated fats in these nuts have been found to speed up the burning of fat, thus reducing the storage of fat in the body. They are generally very filling and satiate your hunger easily, which helps control your appetite.
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- Macadamia nuts improve digestive health
The dietary fiber found in macadamia nuts slows down digestion, promotes regular bowel movements and prevents digestive disorders like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion. Fiber adds bulk and volume to the stools, making them easier to pass through the intestine.
- Macadamia nuts for brain health
As mentioned earlier, macadamia nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid that promote a healthy brain by controlling blood pressure levels and preventing conditions like stroke. Another fatty acid known as palmitoleic acid found in these nuts constitutes an essential part of the myelin sheath that forms an insulated covering around the nerve cells in the brain. Macadamia nuts also contain copper, which plays a key role in the formation of neurotransmitters that transmits messages between the brain and the other parts of the body. The regular consumption of these nuts thus contributes to a healthy brain that functions at its optimum best.
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- Macadamia nuts provide instant energy
Macadamia nuts have high calorie content and forms one of the best sources of energy. 100 grams of these nuts can provide about 718 calories, which is about 36% of the daily recommended intake. They are loaded with B complex vitamins that help in converting the calories from protein, carbohydrates and fat into energy. It is also rich in various minerals like manganese and copper that play an important role in energy production. For those who lead an active lifestyle, macadamia nuts can be a great snack as they provide high and long lasting energy throughout the day. They can also be given to children as a snack between meals.
- Anti-inflammatory properties of macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in other nutrients such as selenium and vitamin E, both of which are anti-inflammatory agents in addition to being powerful antioxidants. These nutrients are helpful in reducing inflammation and pain, and in promoting faster healing. Eating macadamia nuts is a great way to prevent inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
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- Prevent anemia with macadamia nuts
Hemoglobin, an important constituent of blood is composed of iron and carries out the function of transporting oxygen to all parts of the body. The deficiency of iron in the body often leads to iron deficiency anemia characterized by drowsiness, tiredness, paleness, dizziness, difficulty breathing and headaches. So it is important to make sure that your body gets a steady supply of iron through diet. Foods rich in iron, such as macadamia nuts help increase the levels of iron in the body and prevent anemia. These nuts also contain small amounts of vitamin C that promotes the absorption of iron by the body.
- Macadamia nuts for healthier bones
Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are three minerals that play an essential role in building stronger and healthier bones. They also help maintain the density, strength and health of the bones. Phosphorus increases the bone density and makes the bones stronger while magnesium controls the release of calcium in the blood and its absorption by the bones. Severe lack of magnesium in the body can lead to the excretion of calcium (obtained from the diet) through the urine. Macadamia nuts are a great source of all three of these minerals and so their consumption on a regular basis ensures that your bones stay healthy and strong. As the bones grow stronger, it reduces the risks of fractures and bone related problems such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
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- Macadamia nuts control blood sugar levels
Macadamia nuts are ideal for people suffering from diabetes because they are nutritious foods containing healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. They have a low glycemic index and so do not produce a negative impact on the blood glucose levels. The healthy fats present in these nuts lower insulin resistance, thus promoting better absorption and synthesis of sugar.
- Macadamia nuts help maintain electrolyte balance
Electrolytes play a very important role in various functions of the body such as maintaining homeostasis, fluid balance, oxygen transport, and much more. They are used by the cells to maintain voltages across cell membranes and also to carry electrical signals to all parts of the body. A correct balance of the electrolytes is therefore required for the body to function properly. Macadamia nuts, with their high content of minerals help in restoring and balancing the electrolyte levels in the body, which in turn results in optimum functions of the body.
To sum up, Macadamia nuts are full of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that offer health benefits to your heart as well as other organs in your body, thus improving overall health. They are gluten free and hence can also be enjoyed by people with celiac disease or gluten allergy. Macadamia nuts are one of the best sources of healthy fats and hence would form a great addition to your diet.