MACADAMIA NUTRITION

Why should I eat Macadamias?

Macadamias - the world's finest nuts - are characterised by their crisp texture, delicate flavour, versatility of use and long shelf life. In other words, they are Yummy!

Macadamias are also good for you. Medical research has shown that the consumption of macadamias may significantly lower the risk of heart disease. So replacing some of your saturated fat intake with the mono-unsaturated macadamias could help protect your heart.

What is in a Macadamia?

Macadamias are rich in macadamia oil, which is very stable and contains high levels of the nutritionally important monounsaturated fatty acids. They contain no cholesterol.

A typical composition is as follows:

Natural oil   75.0 %

Protein 9.0 %

Carbohydrate  9.3 %

Moisture 1.5 %

Mineral Matter  1.6 %

Fibre  2.0 %

The kernel contains Vitamins Al, BI, B2, Niacin and essential elements such as Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Potassium.

How does this compare to other nuts and oils?

The table below shows that Macadamia oil contains the world’s highest percentage of monounsaturates, exceeding both olive and canola oil.

Oil Type

% Unsaturated Fats

% Saturated Fats

 

Poly

Mono

 

Macadamia Oil

4

84

12

Almond Oil

25

65

10

Animal Frying Oils

5

45

50

Butter

7

36

57

Canola Oil

30

63

7

Olive Oil

10

76

14

Palm Oil

10

39

51

Peanut Oil

36

45

19

Pecan Oil

34

55

11

Safflower Oil

77

14

9

Soyabean Oil

62

23

15

Sunflower Oil

66

23

11

So why are mono-unsaturated fats good for us?

A recent study at Wesley Hospital in Brisbane found that a diet enriched by macadamias actually lowers harmful blood cholesterol in participating patients. The research concluded that eating 6-20 macadamia nuts per day actually lowered harmful blood cholesterol by 7% and triglycerides by 25% when compared with a high complex carbohydrate diet.

Is cholesterol still considered important?

The discussions and information about cholesterol in the last 10 years have been controversial. However, an increased blood cholesterol level is still considered one of the major risk factors in the development of cardiovascular disease. It is recognised that one of the dietary factors contributing most to an increased blood cholesterol level is the type of dietary fat consumed. A high intake of saturated fat (typical Western diet) contributes to increased blood cholesterol while a higher proportion of monounsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats (such as in Macadamias) appears to protect against cardiovascular disease by lowering total cholesterol and increasing the HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol).

(nutritional information prepared by Ingrid Perols, Dietician and lecturer, emailSCIMP@twp.ac.nz

Why are Macadamias good value?

Eating the best tasting products that are best for you is always good value! To look at it another way, if we pick 100 kg of nuts with husk from our trees we will have 46 kg after dehusking, 34.5 kg after drying and only 10 kg of kernel after cracking. Thus we have 90% waste products - the remaining 10% deserves to be good!

Other uses for Macadamias

  • Sexual Tonics - perhaps the most unique use reported for macadamia nuts in in the treatment of sexual phobias.

  • Mulch - macadamia husks are generally returned to the field as mulch or used for compost material.

  • Potting Mix & Fuel - shells are sometimes used by flower growers for growing media, but their best use is as fuel.