Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
Coconut. It’s been wildly popular for years now. Whether you’re paleo, raw or anything in between, coconut is the go-to favorite for a high-fiber, low-carb, grain-free edible. And the oil is praised for its anti-candida properties, along with the capacity to improve oral, brain and cardiovascular health. Not to mention its ability to reduce stubborn love handles around the midsection.
Even so, sometimes we get into a rut and crave a change. Offering an impressive set of health benefits — accompanied by thoroughly satisfying flavor — macadamia may very well be the next tasty and nutritious stand-in for coconut.
Long shunned by those paranoid about eating too much fat, macadamia is slowing being recognized for what it truly is: an outrageously healthy nut that can benefit everything from cardiovascular health to weight management and brain function.
Here are several reasons to consider macadamia if you would like spruce up your diet:
They’re buttery and creamy and utterly addicting. Unlike coconut, with it’s pronounced flavor, the taste of macadamia isn’t overwhelming, but instead quite mild. The high fat content also adds exceptional “mouth feel” and lends richness to recipes that utilize the whole nut, flour or nut butter. Never underestimate the power pleasure has on your overall health and well-being.
Ounce for ounce, macadamia contains one of the highest levels of monounsaturated fat of any food. This type of fat lowers harmful LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, which, in turn, improves cardiovascular health.
Curbs metabolic disorders.
Research at the University of Toronto (Canada) discovered that tree nuts — macadamia included — demonstrated significant benefits for those who suffer from metabolic syndrome associated with diabetes. Over the course of two months, participants consumed 2 ounces of tree nuts a day for eight weeks. Meta-analysis of the 2,200 test subjects found that triglycerides and fasting blood glucose levels were markedly reduced, leading the researchers to conclude that moderate consumption of tree nuts is beneficial for metabolic syndrome.
A better brain.
Since macadamia nut is high in oleic acid (the same healthy fat in olive oil and avocados), it may help protect against high blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of stroke. What’s more, macadamia is brimming with palmitoleic acid, which is an important component of myelin — the fatty layer that insulates and protects nerve cells in the brain. This is promising news for those who suffer from epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease or other brain disorders. A study published in Cambridge Journals found that overall nut consumption may also improve cognitive performance.
Calm inflammation and fat cells.
Macadamia has one of the lowest levels of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids of any tree nut. To give you an idea of how different varieties compare — pine nuts have the highest amount at 11.6 grams of omega 6 per 1/4 cup, Brazil nuts have 7.2 grams; almonds fall mid-rage at 4.6 grams, while macadamia’s are at a low 0.5 grams.
Macadamia also contains squalene, a naturally occurring antioxidant that’s an important cofactor in the synthesis of vitamin D. Additionally, researchers suspect that the palmitoleic acid content in macadamia aid in fat metabolism, effectively helping to reduce stored body fat.
But aren’t they outrageously expensive?
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. With high quality fats and an impressive nutritional profile, this is one nut that’s worth the splurge. Brimming with several important nutrients like l-arginine, vitamin B1, thiamin, manganese and magnesium, macadamia helps to ease gall stones, vascular issues and oxidative stress.
Moreover, macadamia is richly satisfying so we don’t need many to relieve hunger. If the cost still seems prohibitive, it pays to buy in bulk. You can learn more about the cash saving benefits of joining a buying club here.
Reaping the benefits
It’s easy to benefit from all the health-giving advantages of macadamia as you go about your day. Making your own macadamia nut butter, milk or flour is a straightforward process and simple to integrate into a low-carb, paleo or raw diet. Or toss a handful into your favorite trail mix. Grain-free waffles are another fun way to enjoy the nut.
Macadamia oil is excellent for light cooking — and baking too. It also makes for a wonderful moisturizer.
On the whole, macadamia is such a healthy, versatile and delicious addition to the diet, you just may never go back to coconut again.
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