Macadamia Nut Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Macadamia nut annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Macadamia nuts are kernels produced by the macadamia nut tree, originally from Australia but now found in many parts of the world, including Hawaii. The nuts have a hard outer shell that is removed before the nuts are processed. Often the nuts are roasted or fried in oil, and nutrition values will vary depending on how the producer processes the nuts.

Macadamia nuts are sold as a snack food, are widely used in baking, and are used to flavor products like ice cream. They are high in fat, but most of the fat in macadamia nuts is healthy monounsaturated fat.

Macadamia Nut Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 ounce (28g), or about 10 to 12 macadamia nut kernels (dry roasted, unsalted).

  • Calories: 204
  • Fat: 21.6g
  • Sodium: 1.13mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3.8g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Sugars: 1.2g
  • Protein: 2.2g

Carbs

Macadamia nuts are low in carbohydrates (under 4 grams per ounce) and sugar (1 gram per ounce), so they do not cause spikes in blood sugar. These nuts also provide fiber. Eating foods with fiber can help you feel fuller and more satisfied.

Fat

Macadamia nuts are high in fat, but they provide a boost of monounsaturated fat, which is considered a "good" fat (nearly 78% of the fat in macadamia nuts is monosaturated with almost 17 grams per 1-ounce serving). Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) come from plant sources and may be helpful in lowering your LDL or "bad" cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends choosing foods with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats or trans fats.

Healthy fats help our bodies stay warm, provide cells with energy, absorb nutrients, and regulate hormones.

Protein

Dietitians recommend five to six servings of protein per day for most adults and children over 8 years old. An ounce of nuts is equivalent to two servings of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Macadamia nuts are a good source of the B vitamin thiamin and a very good source of manganese.

Health Benefits 

Many of the health benefits of macadamia nuts come from their monounsaturated fat, but these nuts are also a good source of antioxidants.

Promotes Heart Health

Research shows that a higher intake of MUFAs is associated with better cardiovascular health and less heart disease. A diet high in MUFAs may help to lower cholesterol levels and also blood pressure, both of which benefit the heart.

A 2018 study of over 7000 people between the ages of 55 and 80 at high risk of cardiovascular events (such as heart attack and stroke) found that the incidence of these events was lower among those who ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts than among those who consumed a reduced-fat diet. Another study specifically reviewed research on macadamia nuts and found evidence that consuming these nuts could help lower cholesterol levels.

Improves Glycemic Control

A review of several studies on tree nuts found that higher intake of all types of tree nuts, including macadamia nuts, can help people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugar. Older research, such as a 2009 study published in Diabetes Care, showed improved body weight and glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes consuming a diet high in MUFAs.

Reduces Inflammation

Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant that can reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn helps protect against many chronic diseases. Macadamias contain flavonoids.

Supports Helpful Bacteria

Nuts contain both dietary fiber and certain plant compounds (polyphenols) that are beneficial to the friendly bacteria that colonize the gut. As a result, consuming nuts can support digestive health. 

Allergies

Tree nuts are a common allergen, and macadamias are included in this category. People who are allergic to other tree nuts and/or to peanuts may also react to macadamia. Or, they may just react to macadamia nuts. If you or your child is allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, talk to your doctor about how to manage this condition.

Adverse Effects

While macadamia nuts provide healthy nutrients, it is easy to over-eat them (which means consuming a lot of calories and fat, both healthy and unhealthy types). A single serving of macadamia nuts is just 10 to 12 kernels. To avoid overdoing it, use your hand to control portions. A small handful of nuts is considered a single serving.

Varieties

Macadamia nuts are usually available raw or roasted, with or without oil and salt. Check labels carefully, especially if you are trying to limit your salt intake. Macadamia nuts are also found in some nut mixes. The nuts in these mixes may also be roasted in oil or seasoned with high sodium products.

You can also find products made from macadamia nuts.

  • Flour: Macadamia nuts are ground into a coarse flour that has nutrient levels similar to raw nuts.
  • Milk: Like other nut milks, macadamia milk is low in protein and has fewer calories per serving than cow's milk (if you choose an unsweetened version).
  • Oil: Oil made from macadamia nuts is better used as a salad dressing or other topping, rather than a cooking oil. It is also used topically to treat the hair and skin.

Storage and Food Safety

The best way to store nuts is to keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. They should stay fresh for about three months.

If you keep them in the refrigerator, they should stay fresh for up to six months, and if you freeze them, you can use them for about one year.

How to Prepare

Pack macadamia nuts as a healthy, portable snack, or mix into granola or trail mixes (just be aware of portion size, since nuts are calorie-dense). Macadamia nuts are also used in baking or to top salads, like this citrus, kale, and quinoa salad. They also make a good substitute for the traditional, but hard to find, kukui nuts used in Hawaiian poke bowls.

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