macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are a heart-healthy snack loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids (good fats), antioxidants, and other nutrients.

Yes, macadamia nuts are healthy for most people. Although they are high fat nuts, more than 75 percent are monounsaturated fatty acids, which are heart-healthy fats. To derive the maximum benefits from eating macadamia nuts, the key is to have them in moderation.

5 health benefits of eating macadamia nuts

  1. Cardiovascular health
    • In the past, nuts were believed to be high in fats. However, multiple studies have shown that nuts contain healthy unsaturated fats. If consumed in moderation, they can reduce the risk of heart disease.
    • Macadamia nuts can help lower bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol) levels. They contain antioxidants and flavonoids that alleviate inflammation, a factor that can lead to heart disease. Some studies state that regularly eating macadamia nuts can help prevent coronary artery disease, a type of heart (cardiovascular) disease.
  2. Maintenance of healthy weight
    • Macadamia nuts may make the body feel full for longer and curb feelings of hunger. This may help maintain a healthy weight and help aid weight loss.
  3. Prevention of metabolic syndrome
  4. Lowered risk of diabetes
    • Studies show that macadamia nuts may help improve blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes. An analysis of multiple studies published in 2014 found that tree nuts help improve the glycemic control of people with diabetes. The effect is most likely due to the combination of fiber, monounsaturated fats, and other nutrients present in the tree nuts.
  5. Protection against cancer
    • Macadamia nuts contain a form of vitamin E called tocotrienols, which may help protect against some types of cancer.

What nutrients do macadamia nuts provide?

Macadamia nuts can be a good addition to the daily diet because they are naturally low in sugar and carbohydrates. Their content of dietary fiber and antioxidants help reduce the risk or manage conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Macadamia nuts are a rich source of nutrients, including:

  • Protein
  • Vitamin E
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • Copper
  • Manganese
Table: Nutritional composition of macadamia nuts in one ounce (10 to 12 nuts)
Nutrient Amount (in grams)
Protein 2.21
Fat 21.6
Carbohydrates 3.8
Fiber 2.27
Sodium 1.13
Sugar 1.17

Are there any side effects of macadamia nuts?

Although macadamia nuts are a healthy snack when consumed in moderation, they may still result in the following side effects:

Weight gain

While macadamia nuts are high in good fats, they are also high in calories, which means their high consumption poses a risk of gaining weight. Half a cup of these nuts contains about 475 calories, which may constitute a meal for some people.

To achieve all the health benefits of macadamia nuts, consider eating no more than one ounce or 10 to 12 nuts as a snack per serving.

Store-bought macadamia nuts may contain salt, oil, and other ingredients that contribute to weight gain. To avoid this risk, read the food label and buy the nut brands that do not contain these ingredients. Also, for optimal benefits, opt for dry roasted macadamia nuts if you can’t find raw nuts.

Nut allergy

People who have an allergy to tree nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, or cashews, have a greater risk of developing an allergy to other nuts, including macadamia nuts. Hence, ask your doctor before eating macadamia nuts for the first time. Nut allergies can cause life-threatening allergic reactions.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/7/2021
References
Food Data Central. Nuts, macadamia nuts, dry roasted, without salt added. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170179/nutrients

Stewart M. Macadamia Nuts and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Review of Clinical Trials. The FASEB Journal. 2015 Apr;29:923-6. https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.29.1_supplement.923.6