Macadamia Nuts in the Diet Lower Cholesterol

How many times have you said, "nuts to the diet." Well now perhaps it should be "nuts in the diet." It seems that macadamia nuts may be a good addition to the daily diet, particularly if you want to reduce blood cholesterol levels.


Nuts are generally high in fat which is usually bad. But it all depends on the type of fat. Like olives, macadamia nuts contain high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown in many studies to reduce levels of blood cholesterol. Attention was directed towards monounsaturated fatty acids when it was observed that people eating a "Mediterranean diet" had lower than expected rates of cardio-vascular disease.

Macadamia nuts like all non-animal foods contain no cholesterol. But they are remarkable in the fact that their fat contains over 86% monounsaturated fatty acids. The average macadamia nut will also add about 18 calories to your diet. Oil from the macadamia nut is used in the cosmetic industry because of similarities between the nut oil and human skin. Macadamia nuts grow best on volcanic soil in tropical climates and problems related to the harvest of the nuts affects their cost.

A team at Hawaii University reported that subjects that had added macadamia nuts to their diet for only one month had total cholesterol levels of 191 mg/dL compared to others who were consuming the American Heart Association Step 1 Diet (193 mg/dL) or those eating the typical American diet (201 mg/dL). The greatest effect of the diet change was on the low density lipoprotein (LDL) fraction of the blood total cholesterol. For the macadamia group, crushed unsalted macadamia nuts were added to sauces, casseroles and other recipes. Because of the high calorie content of the nuts, the researchers warned that the macadamia nuts should be used as a substitute for sources of saturated fats in the diet. Simply eating macadamia nuts on top of a normal diet would only add extra calories and probably negate any benefits.

Eating healthy does not mean eating boring, low fat tasteless food. A perfect example of that is found in these healthy gift baskets Careful planning, knowing what is in the food we eat and how these nutrients affect our metabolism allow us to eat and enjoy even exotic nuts like macadamia nuts.

Table 1:
Macadamia Nut Facts
Botanical Name :Macadamia spp. Proteaceae
Common Names:Macadamia, Australian nut, Queensland Nut
Origin :native to southeastern Queensland, Australia
World Supplier:Hawaii is the largest producer of Macadamia nuts
Cultivation :full sun, but in hot climates partial shade, rich soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5; will not tolerate soil or water with high salt concentrations; brittle branches can be damaged by wind, especially when laden with a heavy crop of nuts
Harvest:it is difficult to tell when the nut is mature; nets are often placed beneath trees to catch ripe nuts
  1. Reference
  2. Curb, J.D., Wergowske, G., Dobbs, J.C., Abbott, R.D., Huang, B. 2000. Serum lipid effects of a high-monounsaturated fat diet based on macadamia nuts.Arch. Intern. Med.160:1154-81
  3. Macadamia cultivation2
  4. Australian Macadamia Society3

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