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Macadamia Nuts

Macadamias can be described as a functional food as the physiologically active constituents present provide health benefits greater than the base nutrients. They are full of important nutrients including monounsaturated fats, proteins, dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals.

Macadamias contain potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, selenium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc as well as the vitamins: E, B1 [thiamin], B5 [pantothenic acid], B6, B2 [riboflavin], Niacin and Folate [folic acid].

The macadamia nut is one of the few foods that contain palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. In a recent study, indicators suggest the palmitoleic acid may actually aid in fat metabolism, possibly reducing stored body fat. They increase longevity and a reduce degenerative diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers and related disease, hypertension as well as promoting well being and food satisfaction.

They reduce oxidative stress, clotting tendency and inflammation. Persons with elevated cholesterol levels showed an improvement in cholesterol and blood fats. These people also had a slight weight reduction despite an increase in the total amount of fat consumed.

Macadamia consumption reduces total blood serum cholesterol, total blood triglycerides, the undesirable low density cholesterol and has little or no effect on the desirable high density cholesterol. These are all recognized indicators for the risk of heart disease. A range of tree nuts including macadamias have been shown to reduce high blood pressure.

The oil in macadamias is largely monounsaturated which is often described as the “good oil", similar to olive oil in its composition and use. The Mediterranean Health Pyramid diet has 40% of the food energy coming from fat.

Macadamias contain significant levels of protein comprising essential and non essential amino acids. Macadamias contain all the essential amino acids, with most present at optimum levels.

Dietary fibre promotes satiety, provides roughage, slows digestion and reduces hunger and may assist in reducing constipation, reduce hemorrhoids, bowel cancers and irritable bowel syndrome. It functions in conjunction with other constituents of macadamias and plays a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes.

The main class present in macadamias are antioxidants. Antioxidants are scavengers of free radicals and play a significant role in protecting living systems from oxidation and damage. They may minimize degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and others.

Macadamias contain a range of antioxidants including Vitamin E.

A dietary trial at Harvard University compared a low fat, low calorie diet with a low calorie diet containing ample fat from nuts and olive oil. Over 12 months both groups lost an average of 4.5 kgs with the diet containing nuts more successful in keeping weight off after a further 6 months and the participants showed no change in blood pressure. The summary concluded that healthy fats can be part of a weight loss program as long as total calories are controlled. When adding fat calories to a reducing diet it is essential to choose foods such as nuts that are rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytochemicals.

<>Macadamia nuts are normally used as an ingredient in the following Healthelicious products:

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