Health Benefits Macadamia Nuts, Nutrition Facts and Culinary Uses

The macadamia nut tree is native to the coastal rain forests of sub-tropical Australia. Plantations have been established in tropical and subtropical areas of Australia, the Hawaiian Islands, Middle America, Brazil and South Africa.

The macadamia tree is a large rainforest species that grows to a height of about 15 m and takes seven years to produce fruit in round nuts that are extremely hard. The edible kernel is yellowish-white and has a smooth buttery appearance.

The nut crunches in the mouth when eaten and has a lovely sweet taste, both fresh and roasted. Many people consider macadamias the world’s finest nut because of their delicate flavor, delightful color and appearance versatile uses and crunchy texture.

This article showcases the health benefits of eating macadamias by listing and discussing nutrition information for raw macadamia nuts (shelled).

It also compares the nutrients in macadamias with those in similar popular nuts: Hazelnuts, Pecans, Brazil nuts, Cashew nuts, Pistachio nuts and Walnuts. It shows that macadamias are highly nutritious, but rich in calories and fat (though mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids).

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Nutrition and Health Benefits of Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts have sweet, rich and buttery taste and they have relatively high fat content and high calories.

About 100 g of nuts provide about 718 calorie per 100 g, which is the highest values for the nuts shown in the table below, and for most other nuts.

The fat content is also higher than the other nuts in the table at 76 g per 100g of nuts. So Macadamia nuts should be eaten in moderation for calorie controlled diets.

However, most of the fats are mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are the best type.

The fat composition is: Monounsaturated fatty acids: 83.5%; Saturated fatty acids: 12.5% and Polyunsaturated fatty acids 4.0%.

Macadamia nuts are so rich in many minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that they one of the best choices for including nuts in your diet

Macadamia nuts are moderately rich in dietary fiber than most other nuts with 100 g of nuts provides 8.6 g.

They have much more fiber than Cashews, Brazil nuts and Walnuts (see the table below).

Macadamia nuts contain no cholesterol they are an excellent good source of phyto-sterols and antioxidants.

The nuts are rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty, such as palmitoleic acids and oleic acid and have similar benefits to olive oil and the Mediterranean diet.

Macadamias are one of the best nuts for minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc.

The nuts are an outstanding source of B-complex vitamins with 100 g of nuts providing 15% of the recommended daily allowance of niacin, 12% of riboflavin, 21% of pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), 100% of thiamine. However the nuts have only moderate levels of most other vitamins.

Culinary Uses of Macadamia Nuts

The shells are extremely hard and are very difficult to crack open with standard nut crackers. The nuts are best purchased as kernels in sealed bags. They will keep for months in the refrigerator.

Macadamia oil is also available as a substitute for olive oil.

You can also buy Macadamia butter, or make your own with a food processor. It is gluten free and is a good substitute for peanut butter.

Macadamia Nut Pesto with Basil and Lemon

  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup raw, shelled Macadamia nuts, rough chopped or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly-packed Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Rinse the basil leaves, remove the stems, and shake dry. Transfer all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until the basil is chopped and the pesto has the consistency of a smooth paste. Note that the lemon juice helps keep the green color in the pesto, so don't omit it, though lemon juice can be substituted if no fresh lemons are available.

Nutrition Data for Macadamia Nuts (100g)

Nutrients in Serving of 100g
Nutrient Value
Percentage of Recommended Daily Allowance
Energy
718 Cal
36%
Carbohydrates
13.82 g
11%
Protein
7.91 g
14%
Total Fat
75.77 g
253%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
8.6 g
23%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
11 mcg
3%
Niacin
2.47 mg
15%
Pantothenic acid
0.76 mg
15%
Pyridoxine
0.27 mg
21%
Riboflavin
0.16 mg
12%
Thiamin
1.19 mg
100%
Vitamin A
 
 
Vitamin C
1.2 mg
2%
Vitamin E
0.24 mg
2%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
5 mg
0%
Potassium
368 mg
8%
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
85 mg
9%
Copper
0.76 mg
84%
Iron
3.69 mg
46%
Magnesium
130 mg
33%
Manganese
4.131 mg
180%
Phosphorus
188 mg
27%
Selenium
3.6 mcg
7%
Zinc
1.30 mg
11%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Phyto-sterols
116 mcg
--
beta-sitosterol
108 mcg
--

Comparison of the Nutrients in Macadamia Nuts with Other Common Nuts (100g)

Serving 100g Raw Nuts
Macadamia nuts
Hazelnuts
Pecans
Brazil nuts
Cashew nuts
Pistachio nuts
Walnuts, black
Calories (Cal)
720
628
691
656
554
561
617
Dietary Fiber (g)
8.47
9.52
9.52
7.41
3.17
10.23
6.7
Protein (g)
7.9
14.96
9.17
14.32
18.24
20.28
24.06
Sugar (g)
4.59
4.34
3.99
2.33
5.93
7.65
1.09
Total Carbs (g)
13.83
16.68
13.86
12.28
30.19
27.51
9.91
Total Fat (g)
75.77
60.74
71.96
66.42
43.84
45.4
59.01
Vitamins
 
0
 
 
 
 
 
Folate (mcg)
10.58
112.87
21.16
21.16
24.69
49.38
31.75
Niacin (mg)
2.47
1.8
1.17
0.3
1.06
1.3
0.47
Pantothenic Acid (mg)
0.76
0.92
0.86
0.18
0.86
0.52
1.66
Riboflavin (mg)
0.16
0.11
0.13
0.04
0.06
0.16
0.13
Thiamin (mg)
1.2
0.64
0.66
0.62
0.42
0.87
0.06
Vitamin A (IU)
0
21.16
56.44
0
0
416.23
38.8
Vitamin B12 (mcg)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Vitamin B6 (mg)
0.28
0.56
0.21
0.1
0.42
1.7
0.58
Vitamin C (mg)
1.06
6.35
1.06
0.71
0.35
5.64
1.76
Vitamin E (mg)
0.53
15.03
1.41
5.71
0.92
2.29
1.8
Vitamin K (mcg)
 
14.11
3.53
0
34.22
 
2.82
Minerals
 
0
 
 
 
 
 
Calcium (mg)
84.66
112.87
70.55
158.73
35.27
105.82
59.96
Copper (mg)
0.75
1.72
1.2
1.74
2.19
1.3
1.36
Iron (mg)
3.7
4.69
2.54
2.43
6.67
3.92
3.1
Magnesium (mg)
130.51
162.26
119.93
377.43
292.77
119.93
201.06
Manganese (mg)
4.13
6.18
4.5
1.22
1.65
1.2
3.9
Phosphorus (mg)
186.95
289.24
278.66
726.63
592.59
490.3
511.46
Potassium (mg)
366.84
680.78
409.17
659.61
659.61
1026.46
522.05
Selenium (mcg)
3.53
2.47
3.88
1917.11
19.75
7.05
16.93
Sodium (mg)
3.53
0
0
3.53
10.58
0
3.53
Zinc (mg)
1.31
2.43
4.51
4.06
5.78
2.19
3.39
Fatty Acids
 
0
 
 
 
 
 
Saturated Fat (g)
12.06
4.47
6.18
15.14
7.78
5.56
3.37
Monounsat. Fat (g)
58.88
45.65
40.8
24.55
23.8
23.82
15.01
Polyunsat. Fat (g)
1.5
7.92
21.62
20.58
7.84
13.74
35.08

© 2012 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 3 comments

Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

That is quite a bit of information to swallow. Pun intended. -_^


mecheshier profile image

mecheshier 4 years ago

Fabulous Hub. Great info and attention to detail. Oh, how I love macadamias. I love all nuts, but they are one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing and giving me insight into the many medicinal uses. Voted up for useful and awesome.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Thanks for writing this hub. I learn many things about Macadamia Nuts related with health, nutrition facts, and culinary uses. Voted up!

Prasetio

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