Macadamia Nut Trivia

Did you know ...

The Macadamia is the youngest of the edible tree nuts, with its commercial cultivation dating from 1858. The trees were first grown for ornamental reasons until the great-tasting nut was discovered! The Macadamia nut is native to Australia and named after the Scottish-born chemist who first cultivated it, John McAdam.


The macadamia tree takes 7 years to bear its fruit and the Australian tree will live for over 60 years. A mature tree will produce 27 kg to 68 kg (60 to 150 pounds) of nuts a year.


The macadamia was introduced to Hawaii in 1882, and is one of the main production areas, together with Australia and New Zealand.


While all nuts are relatively high in fat, most of the fat is unsaturated. It's important to look at not only the amount of fat you eat, but also the type of fat. Saturated fat has been shown to raise blood cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Unsaturated fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, can actually lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or the "bad" cholesterol) levels.


All three types of fats are found in varying amounts in foods:

  • Monounsaturated fats are often liquid at room temperature and come mostly from plant foods. Examples of foods rich in monounsaturated fats include avocado, olive oil and nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans and pistachios.

  • Polyunsaturated fats are often liquid at room temperature and come mostly from plant foods. Examples of foods rich in polyunsaturated fats include walnuts, and safflower, corn and sunflower oils.

  • Saturated fats are often solid at room temperature and are found mostly in animal foods like lard, butter, the fat on meat and skin on chicken.


More on monounsaturated fats ...


Numerous studies have looked at the effect of monounsaturated fats on LDL cholesterol. It appears that a diet high in monounsaturated fats can reduce the level of artery-damaging LDL cholesterol without lowering HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol). In one particular study, people who had been following a low fat diet (30 percent calories from fat) were asked to increase their fat intake to 37 percent of calories. The additional dietary fat came from almonds and was primarily monounsaturated. Even with a higher fat intake, the study participants saw a reduction in their LDL cholesterol.


Eating Nuts may help reduce the risk for heart disease. Recent studies have indicated that nuts may play an important role in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease. In one study, researchers found that although the benefits were greatest for frequent nut eaters, those who ate nuts even once a week had 25% less heart disease than those who avoided nuts completely. While more research is needed, this effect may be due, in part, to the fat profile of nuts.