Nutfruit Magazine

The official voice of the INC

22 July, 2020 Country Product Spotlight

Macadamias and Health

Macadamias and Health

Macadamia nuts are valued for their subtle, buttery flavor, velvety-soft crunch texture and their oil profile, high in monounsaturated fats. Due to their versatility, macadamias are used as snacks or as an ingredient in bakery and confectionery products.

Nutrition Research

Nowadays, consumers are more interested in their health and wellbeing. Therefore, nuts have become one of the most relevant foods for today’s consumer thanks to their nutrient profile. Macadamias, in special, are high in monounsaturated fat, fiber, magnesium, copper, manganese and thiamin, and are a source of vitamin B6, niacin and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, potassium and selenium[1,2]. In addition, there is a body of scientific evidence that supports the following health benefits for macadamia nuts.

Heart Health

Macadamias are a natural source of omega-7 fatty acids, aka palmitoleic acid. Thanks to their content in monounsaturated fats (oleic and palmitoleic acids), macadamias may help to modify favorably the biomarkers of oxidative stress, thrombosis and inflammation, risk factors for coronary artery disease[3].

In addition, macadamia nut consumption may lower plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic men [4,5]. In 2015, a systematic review and meta-analysis around tree nuts and heart health showed that eating tree nuts, including macadamias, every day lowers total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides[6].

Tree nut consumption, including macadamias, was also associated with lower body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, insulin resistance, and HDL “good” cholesterol, compared with no consumption[7].

Macadamias may help lower bad cholesterol which could help your heart health.

Antioxidant Activity

Scientific studies have identified flavonoids in macadamias. Flavonoids are a group of natural substances found in plants with anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory properties[8]. Flavonoids have been detected in all tree nuts, and pecans, macadamias, almonds and pistachios have the highest concentrations[9].

Skin Benefits

Skin health has lately been linked with macadamias, specifically, with macadamia oil, which is used in many cosmetic formulations. Emerging evidence indicates that macadamia oil may be associated with skin health, especially anti-aging effects, by improving the appearance of water content, pore size, melanin and wrinkles[10].

World-First Scientific Research Project for the Global Macadamia Industry

In 2017, the INC launched the Macadamia Health Research Grant on behalf of the macadamia industry. It is the first of its kind in the macadamia industry and the first time that multiple origins have contributed to such a project. It is considered critical to the industry’s ability to continue to market macadamias as a premium product.

Key macadamia-producing countries Australia, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil and Malawi have made a substantial financial investment into the research, and the project has been supported by the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC) and INC World Forum.

The global macadamia health research project will be a large scale, long term randomized cross-over intervention study directed by acclaimed researcher Professor Joan Sabaté from Loma Linda University Medical Centre (USA). The study will compare the effect of a diet enriched in macadamias versus a control diet on insulin resistance and insulin secretion in individuals with insulin resistance. It will assess the effect of macadamia nut consumption on lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides) and other emergent risk factors of cardiovascular disease as well as on central obesity and body composition.

Tomato Toast with Macadamia Spread Recipe

Check out a healthy macadamia recipe! Enjoy this treat to help get you through your day!
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