Macadamias Australia is a family owned and operated
grower and wordwide exporter of quality Australian macadamias

Macadamias Australia
 

Health and Nutrition

Nutrients in macadamias

A handful of macadamias delivers essential nutrients as well as an indulgent eating experience.

Vitamins and minerals

Macadamias like other plant foods contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – see the table below. Just a handful (30g) of macadamias (15 whole or 30 halves) provides you with:

  • 1/3 of your daily thiamine (vitamin B1), an important vitamin for releasing the energy from food, and necessary for normal functioning of the heart and nervous system.
  • ¼ of your daily manganese, a trace element important for antioxidant defences, bone health and normal metabolism.
  • 12% of your daily magnesium for electrolyte balance, nerve and muscle function and bone strength.
  • 9% of your daily iron for healthy blood and energy levels
  • 8% of your daily niacin for a healthy nervous system, releasing energy from food and good skin structure and function
  • 8% of your daily copper for antioxidant protection, immune system function and healthy looking skin and hair.

Macadamias pack a serious punch when it comes to essential nutrients.

Vitamins and minerals in macadamia versus daily recommendations

Raw, unsalted macadamias Per 30g serve Per 100g Daily Recommended Percent of recommended per serve
Sodium (mg) 0.5 1.4 1600mg (SDT) 0%
Potassium (mg) 135 410 4700mg (SDT) 3%
Magnesium (mg) 39 130 320mg (RDI) 12%
Calcium (mg) 25.5f 85.0 800mg (RDI) 5%
Iron (mg) 1.1 3.7 12mg (RDI) 9%
Zinc (mg) 0.4 1.3 12mg (RDI) 3%
Thiamin, B1 (mg) 0.4 1.2 1.1mg (RDI) 33%
Riboflavin, B2 (mg) 0.05 0.16 1.7mg (RDI) 3%
Niacin (mg) 0.8 2.5 10mg (RDI) 8%
Folate (µg) 3.3 11 200ug (RDI) 2%
Pantothenic acid (mg) 0.2 0.76 5mg (RDI) 4%
Vitamin B61 (mg) 0.08 0.28 1.6mg (RDI) 5%
Vitamin E1 (mg) 0.15 0.5 10mg (RDI) 1.5%
Copper (mg)2 0.23 0.76 3mg (RDI) 8%
Manganese 1 (mg)2 1.2 4.13 5mg (RDI) 25%
Selenium 1 (µg)2 1.1 3.6 70mg (RDI) 1.6%
Arginine 1 (g) 0.4 1.40 N/A N/A
Plant sterols (mg) 35 116 N/A N/A
Antioxidant Capacity (ORAC- umol TE)2 559 1695 N/A N/A

DATA SOURCES: NUTTAB, except for

  1. USDA Standard Release No. 23, 2010
  2. USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2

NOTES

%DI is Percentage daily intakes, based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ. Your daily intakes may be higher or lower depending upon your energy needs.

RDI for vitamins are based on the FSANZ RDI: Recommended Dietary Intake (where available); OR
Australian Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) including Suggested Dietary Target (SDT).

Antioxidants

As a whole plant food straight from nature, macadamias naturally contain beneficial phytochemicals including antioxidants. Antioxidants are mother nature’s way of keeping macadamias fresh. Phytochemicals have a number of helpful roles in maintaining your health, which include helping to counter the effects of harmful free-radicals thought to contribute to chronic disease and premature ageing. Macadamias also contain the antioxidant minerals manganese, magnesium and copper. All these helpful substances act as your own private internal army working to maintain your wellbeing.

Fibre

Fibre helps maintain good digestive health and regularity, and it also helps improve blood cholesterol levels. Macadamias contain around 2g fibre per 30g serve which is similar to the amount in a slice of wholemeal bread.

Plant sterols

Macadamias naturally contain plant sterols. Plant sterols help reduce cholesterol absorption in the body. Plant sterols combined with monounsaturated oils, fibre and phytochemicals all add up to make macadamias are super-food for your heart.

Nutrition Table

Raw, unsalted macadamias Per 30g serve Per 100g
Energy (kJ) 1016 3080
Protein (g) 3 9.2
Fat Total (g) 24.4 74
Fat Saturated (g) 3.3 10
Fat Monounsaturated (g) 19.7 59.8
Fat Polyunsaturated (g) 1.3 3.8
Fat Omega 3 as ALA (mg) 32.7 99
Trans Fats (g)1 0 0
Carbohydrate Total (g) 2.6 7.9
Carbohydrate Sugars (g) 1.4 4.6
Dietary Fibre (g) 2.1 6.4

DATA SOURCES: NUTTAB, except for

  1. RMIT fatty acids database (Australia)

Healthy eating tip

To add more macadamia goodness to your day, add them whole to your breakfast cereal or muesli, toss chopped macadamias through salads or stir-frys, or crush them with breadcrumbs to make a crunchy coating for fish or chicken.

NOTES

%DI is Percentage daily intakes, based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ. Your daily intakes may be higher or lower depending upon your energy needs.

RDI for vitamins are based on the FSANZ RDI: Recommended Dietary Intake (where available); OR
Australian Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) including Adequate Intake (AI) and Suggested Dietary Target (SDT).

- See more at: http://www.australian-macadamias.org/consumer/en/health/nutrients#sthash.gw4yNhUO.dpuf

Macadamias look after your heart

Macadamias contain a healthy combination of nutrients known to protect the heart, so every handful is doing you good. Firstly, the oil in macadamias is the good unsaturated kind, and unsaturated fats help maintain ideal cholesterol levels. Macadamias also contain fibre and small amounts of natural plant sterols and these help keep your cholesterol in check.

They also contain an amino acid called arginine (amino acids are building blocks of protein), which helps to keep blood vessels relaxed and flexible. Macadamias Also contain protective phytochemicals, including antioxidants that also benefit the heart. It is no wonder macadamias have earned the right to use the ‘Heart Foundations Tick’. For more information on the Tick program, please visit the Heart Foundation (Australia).

Macadamias are great for kids

Teaching children to eat well is the best gift you can give. The eating habits, knowledge and attitudes they learn as children generally continue in adulthood. Healthy snacking is particularly important as children need to eat smaller amounts more often than adults.

Nutritious snacks really matter and you can’t beat macadamias for health value. Their combination of healthy oil, fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, great taste and convenience make them the ideal snack for fuelling active children. For example, macadamias are great for after school, or when children are out and about on weekends.

Macadamias protect the body

As a plant food straight from nature, macadamias naturally contain phytochemicals including antioxidants. In addition, many of the vitamins and minerals in macadamias also have antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants are part of your body’s natural defence system and they work by de-activating potentially harmful substances called free radicals that damage cells and are thought to contribute to the development of chronic disease. The damage is known as ‘oxidative stress’ and eating macadamias daily has been shown to reduce oxidative stress when measured under scientific conditions.

Macadamias maintain better blood glucose levels

Too many refined carbohydrate foods and high glycemic index (GI) foods, such as fluffy white bread, puffed cereals, puffed savoury snacks and confectionery upset the metabolic applecart and can lead to high blood glucose levels, especially in those already at risk, because they carry excess weight or have a family history.

Nuts are perfect for taking the load off. When added to meals or snacks they actually reduce blood glucose levels due to their healthy unsaturated oils, protein and fibre. For example, fluffy white bread has a high GI, but spreading the same fluffy white bread with nut butter reduces the GI. Better still, eating a handful of macadamias instead of the fluffy white bread doesn’t increase blood glucose levels at all. For many people whose insulin is not working as it should (a condition called insulin resistance), nuts are an ideal snack and a healthy addition to meals.

Macadamias boost digestive health

While many people rely on laxatives, a natural approach is a more enjoyable solution to digestive regularity especially when it includes macadamias. Macadamias contain around 2g fibre per 30g serve which is similar to the amount in a slice of wholemeal bread. Eating plenty of fibre rich foods such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, combined with drinking enough fluids is the ideal recipe to keep you regular. But that isn’t all fibre does, it also maintains good bowel health and helps maintain ideal blood cholesterol levels.

To add more delicious macadamias and the fibre they contain into your day: add a handful of macadamias to your morning muesli or wholegrain cereal, toss chopped macadamias through a salad (such as roasted vegetable or couscous salad), crush macadamias with breadcrumbs to make a crunchy coating for fish or chicken, or simply snack on macadamias and dried fruit.

Myth busting

Contrary to popular belief, nuts are not especially fattening. In fact studies have shown including nuts in a healthy kilojoule-controlled eating plan can actually help with weight loss. This is probably because nuts are satisfying and don’t increase blood glucose and insulin levels that can trigger hunger.

The idea that nuts are fattening, came from the mistaken idea that foods with naturally high oil content cause weight gain. We now know it is not as simple as that, and weight is determined by how many kilojoules you eat and how much exercise you do, not how much oil you eat – especially when it’s inside naturally nutritious whole foods like nuts. High-fat fast food and buttery cakes and pastries are a different story! Even if you want to lose weight, you can still include a handful of macadamias a day, and ideally in place of less nutritious snacks like cakes, biscuits, potato crisps or crackers. Your whole diet will be better for it. We have more on Weight at our Health Professionals page.

A study of more than 13,000 people in the USA found the people who ate tree nuts (such as macadamias) had a better diet overall and higher nutrient intakes. The authors concluded healthy eating recommendations should include specific advice to eat nuts.

Weight loss in a nutshell

In order to lose weight, you need to eat fewer kilojoules (or calories) and ideally burn more kilojoules through physical activity and exercise. Weight loss is all about controlling how many kilojoules you consume, while optimal health is about eating nutrient-rich foods. Combining these two principles is the best recipe for a slimmer, healthier and happier you.

The healthiest way to lose weight is to eat fewer nutrient-poor foods and focus on eating just enough nutritious core foods to meet your needs, for example whole grains, vegetables, legumes, lean meats and fish, low-fat dairy foods, fruit, nuts such as macadamias, seeds and healthy oils. And of course, be more physically active.

Macadamias are nutritious core foods that deliver great nutritional value – you could say they deliver a good bang for your kilojoule buck! And because they taste so wonderful, you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Forget about fat-free, tasteless and boring diets, eating to achieve and maintain a healthy weight should be enjoyable so you can stick with it.

Where do macadamias fit in?

Healthy eating guides around the world divide foods into food groups and recommended we eat foods from all the food groups every day. For people wishing to lose weight, the amounts are smaller but eating foods from every group is still necessary for a nutritionally adequate and heart-friendly diet. In the case of macadamias and other nuts, they are considered part of the meat and alternative groups (ideal for meals without meat). Macadamias are considered a meat alternative (ideal for vegetarian meals) but they can also be considered part of the healthy oils group.

The food groups

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods mostly wholegrain, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
  • Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives

Health can be defined as a complete state of physical, psychological and social wellbeing. The food you eat is important for your brain function and mood, just as it is important for physical health. Good oils for the brain – just as the right oils in your diet – help look after your heart, these same oils can help maintain a healthy brain. Macadamias contain healthy unsaturated oils, fibre and small amounts of plant sterols. These nutrients help maintain good cholesterol levels, healthy blood vessels and optimal blood supply throughout the whole body, including the brain. Choose macadamias over other unhealthy snacks like pastries and fried fast foods because these foods often contain nasty trans-fats that have been linked to the development of depression. Macadamias are naturally free of trans-fats and contain B1 for the brain. Your brain is the command centre for your entire nervous system that helps you think, remember, feel and move. Macadamias are a good source of vitamin B1 (thiamine) and this B-group vitamin is important for getting the energy out of food but it is also essential for the proper functioning of your nervous system.

Phytochemical protection Being a whole plant food, macadamias are naturally endowed with helpful phytochemicals including antioxidants (plus the antioxidant minerals manganese, magnesium and copper). These nutrients are thought to help protect the brain from the damage that can occur from troublemaker substances called free radicals. An antioxidant-rich diet may help prevent age-related decline in brain function.