Macadamia Oil Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts

Some Use Macadamia Oil for Hair, Skin, and Body

Macadamia nut oil, annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Macadamia oil—or Macadamia nut oil as it is sometimes called—is produced by extracting oil from the fruit (or nut) of the Australian Macadamia integrifolia tree. Many people use Macadamia oil for hair treatments and to boost skin health. The oil does provide some health and beauty benefits, but not all of them are supported by strong scientific evidence.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one tablespoon of Macadamia oil.

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Fats in Macadamia Oil

Macadamia nut oil contains different types of fat, including saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. More specifically, the oil contains:

  • Oleic acid (approximately 55-67 percent) a monounsaturated fat that can improve cardiovascular health when used in place of saturated fats or refined carbohydrates
  • Palmitoleic acid (approximately 18-25 percent), a monounsaturated fatty acid that may have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity, cholesterol metabolism
  • Palmitic acid (approximately 7-9 percent), a saturated fatty acid that may increase LDL cholesterol and have a negative effect on heart health
  • Stearic acid (approximately 2-5 percent) a saturated fatty acid that can decrease LDL cholesterol (although not as effectively as unsaturated fats)
  • Linoleic acid (approximately 1-4 percent) or omega-6 fatty acids, these polyunsaturated fats are sometimes associated with weight loss, although evidence is lacking

According to USDA data, most of the fat in Macadamia oil is monounsaturated. Experts at the  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend that you choose foods with monounsaturated fat instead of saturated fat when possible and consume 15-20 percent of your caloric intake from monounsaturated fat.

You'll also consume some polyunsaturated fat with consumption of Macadamia nut oil. Research has shown that these essential fatty acids can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. Nutrition experts recommend that you get 3-10 percent of your daily calories from polyunsaturated fat.

The saturated fat in Macadamia nut oil (stearic acid) may have a beneficial effect on heart health, but in general, health experts recommend that we decrease our intake of saturated fat and consume mono- and polyunsaturated fats instead.

There is no carbohydrate or protein in Macadamia oil.

Health Benefits

According to fans of the product, Macadamia oil benefits the skin and hair and can provide anti-aging advantages to people who use it. Specifically, the oil is used topically to:

  • Soften and moisturize aging skin
  • Heal mild wounds
  • Provide anti-oxidant benefits
  • Soften hair and produce a shinier appearance 

Some of these applications are supported by scientific evidence, but very few studies have been conducted on the cosmetic uses of Macadamia oil. However, a recent review of related literature found that the fatty acid composition of Macadamia oil has potential in the cosmetic industry.

Macadamia nut oil can also be used for cooking. Replacing saturated fat, such as lard or butter with an unsaturated fat such as Macadamia nut oil, may boost heart health.

Common Questions

What is the best way to store Macadamia oil?

To store Macadamia oil, keep it in a cool cupboard, away from direct sunlight. Refrigeration is sometimes recommended after opening.

How long does Macadamia oil last?

If you refrigerate the product, bring it to room temperature before you use it. When stored properly, the oil can last for up to two years.

Cooking Tips

Macadamia nut oil should be used at the end of cooking, rather than for frying or heating foods. Many cooks drizzle it on fish, shellfish, or vegetables. You can also use it as a base for salad dressing.

According to Macadamia nut sellers, the fragrant oil pairs well with citrus flavors, coconut, and even chocolate.

Allergies and Interactions

According to information published by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology,  "Tree nut and peanut oils may pose a threat to patients with allergy, depending on the method of manufacture and processing." So those with a nut allergy should be cautious when using or consuming Macadamia nut oil.

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