Nuts are often regarded as part of a healthy diet — and for good reason. Many nuts like almonds and walnuts contain healthy fats that contribute to better health, from your brain to your heart. One variety in particular can help you fight many health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer — macadamia nuts.
What are macadamia nuts? They are a nut variety with origins in Australia, though commercial varieties are now grown in Hawaii. Many of us use macadamia nuts to enhance the flavor of our baked goods. On their own, however, they make for an excellent snack.
The Nutrient Profile of Macadamias
While almonds and walnuts contain less fat than macadamias (which have about 21 grams in a one-ounce serving) macadamias boast other health-boosting nutrients. Those include protein, fiber, thiamin, manganese, and some copper. What’s more, macadamias are a low-glycemic index food, making them safe for people who are dealing with blood sugar issues.
Macadamias may help reduce your risk of diabetes.
Monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs, the type of fat predominantly found in macadamia nuts, play an important role in the management of conditions like metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome includes things like high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high triglycerides, and excess belly fat. One scientific review found that metabolic risk factors were significantly reduced when subjects ate a diet high in MUFAs. Another study on people with type 2 diabetes found that tree nuts like macadamia nuts help to improve glycemic control (or the rise and fall of blood sugar levels).
Macadamias may improve your heart health.
As you may already know, high cholesterol and high triglycerides can negatively affect your heart health. Fortunately, macadamia nuts may help reduce these heart disease risk factors.
In one study published by Lipids, researchers tested the benefits of macadamias on participants with high blood pressure. They discovered that after four weeks of eating macadamia nuts, subjects showed lowered risk factors for coronary artery disease.
Similarly, a scientific review from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating tree nuts like macadamias helps to lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, one animal study found that eating macadamia nuts for 12 weeks helped significantly shrink the size of fat cells in test subjects. Excess body fat is yet another risk factor for heart disease. So, eating macadamias may help you lose weight and protect your heart.
Macadamias may reduce your risk of cancer.
Cancer is a disease that is characterized by the uncontrollable multiplication of abnormal cells in the body. Macadamia nuts are high in flavonoids, plant compounds that fight this type of free radical damage to our cells. What’s more, macadamias contain high amounts of tocotrienols — a type of vitamin E. Research from Life Sciences shows that tocotrienols have powerful anti-cancer properties.
There is something to keep in mind: Because of their high fat content, macadamia nuts are also high in calories. While you can feel good about adding them to your diet, be careful not to go overboard. Keep servings to roughly one ounce per day, or about 12 nuts (that amounts to about 200 calories). We know they are calorie-expensive — but for all these impressive health benefits, they’re certainly worth it. And if you’re looking to buy some of this crunchy snack, we love Oh! Nuts Jumbo Raw Macadamia Nuts (Buy from Amazon, $24.99).
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