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macadamia nuts

Top 5 health benefits of macadamia nuts

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With one of the highest fat content of any nut, macadamias are often used to add flavour and texture to a dish, but is it a food we should limit? Registered nutritionist Kerry Torrens discovers more.

What are macadamia nuts?

Native to Australia, macadamias are tree nuts and work well in both sweet and savoury dishes. Calorie-rich, they are high in healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

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Discover our full range of health benefit guides and find out more about the health benefits of nuts. Also check out some of our delicious macadamia recipes, from our chipotle corn salad to our macadamia and cranberry American cookies.

Chipotle corn salad

Nutritional profile of macadamia nuts

A 30g serving of macadamia provides:

  • 215 Kcals/901KJ
  • 2.4g protein
  • 22.7g fat
  • 3.6g saturated fat
  • 17.7g mono-unsaturated fat
  • 0.5g poly-unsaturated fat
  • 1.6g carbohydrates
  • 2.6g fibre
  • 110mg potassium
  • 26mg calcium
  • 39mg magnesium
Macadamia and cranberry American cookies

Top 5 health benefits of macadamia nuts

1. Heart healthy

Although well known for their high fat content, macadamia nuts shouldn’t be feared. They’re the richest of nuts for heart-friendly mono-unsaturated fats and, as such, they help manage cholesterol and modulate our risk of heart disease.

2. May improve gut health

Macadamia are a good source of fibre including the prebiotic variety, which supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which as well as promoting a healthy gut, have wider implications for health including reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity.

3. May support an ageing brain

Like other tree nuts, macadamia contain beneficial compounds including tocotrienols, a type of vitamin E. As well as being useful in our fight against heart disease and cancer these compounds have been shown to be neuro-protective.

Animal studies also suggest monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), of which macadamia is especially rich, may be helpful in protecting against oxidative damage in the brain.

4. May support weight management

Despite being high in fat and calories macadamia nuts may actually help control weight. This is because we don’t digest and absorb all of their calorific value, part of which remains locked by the nut’s high fibre content. Studies of their inclusion in weight loss diets appear to support reductions in body mass index (BMI) and weight loss.

5. May help manage blood sugar

With a low carb content and as a good source of fibre, it’s not a surprise that macadamia nuts may help balance blood sugar. They also make a useful contribution towards our mineral intake, including magnesium and potassium, both of which play a part in our body’s blood sugar management system.

Being rich in MUFAs, macadamia nuts may be especially useful for those with type 2 diabetes.

Are macadamia nuts safe for everyone?

People with an allergy to tree nuts should avoid macadamias. Allergy symptoms normally develop within minutes, and you should see your GP if you experience an adverse reaction. However, if this develops into a severe reaction, known as anaphylaxis, it is a medical emergency and immediate help should be sought.

Young children, some older people and those with a problem swallowing should avoid whole nuts due to the risk of choking.

If you have a family dog it's worth knowing that macadamia nuts are toxic to canines, the exact cause of the toxicity remains unknown but these nuts should be kept out of reach of the family pet.

Visit the NHS website to read more about allergies.

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More health benefits guides

The health benefits of walnuts
The health benefits of cinnamon
The health benefits of oranges
The health benefits of chestnuts
The health benefits of almonds


This article was published on 15 December 2021.

Kerry Torrens is a registered nutritionist (MBANT) with a post-graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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