Nuts are often regarded as part of a healthy diet — and for good reason. Many nuts like almonds and walnuts contain healthy fats that play a role in everything from your brain to your heart health. What we bet you didn’t know is that there’s one type that can help you fight a number of health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer — macadamia nuts.
You might be familiar with macadamia nuts in baked goods like cookies, but on their own, they are a super healthy snack option. Macadamias come from four different species of tree that grow natively in Australia, but commercial varieties are now grown in Hawaii.
They have more fat than almonds and walnuts, containing about 21 grams in a one-ounce serving, but they also boast other health-boosting nutrients like protein, fiber, thiamin, manganese, and some copper. What’s more, macadamia nuts are considered to be a low-glycemic index food, making them safe for people who are dealing with blood sugar issues.
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 review of studies 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 helped to improve glycemic control (or the rise and fall of blood sugar levels).
Another impressive benefit has to do with heart health. As you may already know, metabolic factors like cholesterol and triglycerides can affect your heart health. Studies have shown that macadamia nuts can reduce these heart disease risk factors. In one study of those with high cholesterol, it was discovered that after four weeks of eating macadamia nuts, subjects showed lowered risk factors for coronary artery disease. Similarly, another review of studies found that eating tree nuts like macadamias helped to lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Even further, one animal study showed that after eating macadamia nuts for 12 weeks, the size of fat cells shrunk significantly, and excess body fat is yet another risk factor for heart disease. That means eating macadamias could help you lose weight and protect your heart!
And last but not certainly least, cancer is a disease that is characterized by the uncontrollable multiplication of abnormal cells in the body. Macadamia nuts are high in flavonoids, which fight this type of free radical damage to our cells. What’s more, macadamias also contain high amounts of tocotrienols — a type of vitamin E. Tocotrienols have shown to have powerful anti-cancer properties.
It’s important to note that macadamia nuts, because of their high fat content, are also high in calories. While you can feel good about adding them to your diet, be careful not to go overboard and keep servings around one ounce per day, or about 12 nuts (which would amount to about 200 calories). And while we know they are expensive, for all these impressive health benefits, they’re certainly worth it. For a brand of Macadamia nuts we love, try these from Oh Nuts! ($25, Amazon).