Though I have always liked Macadamia nuts, I never really knew much about them. Since Tiny Isle uses lots of macnuts I thought I would do a little research and find out more about them. Here is some of the information I came across in my explorations into the history and nutritional value of macnuts particularly as it relates to Hawaii.
Macadamia nuts are indigenous to Australia. They first came to Hawaii in the early 1880’s brought in by William H Purvis, a young manager of the Pacific Sugar Mill at Kukuihaele on the Big Island, who planted the seeds at Kapulena on the Hamakua coast. By the 1920’s macnut trees were being planted intensively as a commercial crop in Hawaii. In 1922 Erst Van Tassel formed the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Co. In 1931 he set up a macnut processing factory in Honolulu. Throughout the 1940’s and 50’s more macnut farms were established both in Hawaii and Australia as the nut became more popular. Hawaii was the world’s biggest producer of macnuts up until the 1990’s when it was surpassed by Australia. Hawaii and Australia still provide nearly half of all the macadamia nuts commercially produced. The other half come from the combined production of South Africa, Brazil, California, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, Bolivia, New Zealand, Columbia, Guatemala and Malawi.*
A Paleo diet website** I came upon suggested that if you were going to eat any nut then macnuts were your best choice because they are low in Omega 6’s. The article said that most nuts are very high in Omega-6 fats, which can be inflammatory and unhealthy in large amounts But macadamias are much, much lower as you can see in this chart which show the amount of Omega 6 fats found in 100 grams of nuts which is about a handful.
Walnuts: 10.7 grams
Pecans : 3.7 grams
Almonds: 3.4 grams
Cashews: 2.2 grams
Macnuts: 0.36 grams
Some other interesting nutrition facts I came across:***
• Macadamia nuts are rich source of energy. 100 g of nuts provide about 718 kcalories
• 100 g of macadamia also provides 8.6 g or 23% of daily-recommended levels of dietary fiber.
• Macadamia nuts are free from gluten, so are useful ingredients in the preparation of gluten-free foods.
• The nuts are rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty (MUF) like oleic acid (18:1) and palmitoleic acids (16:1). Studies suggest that MUF fats in the diet help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood.
• Macadamias are a source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. 100 g nuts provide 3.6 µg of selenium. Selenium is a cardio-protective micro-mineral and an important anti-oxidant cofactor for glutathione peroxidase enzyme.
• The nuts are also rich in many important B-complex vitamins that are vital for metabolic functions. 100 g of nuts provide 15% of niacin, 21% of pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), 100% of thiamin, and 12% of riboflavin.
• They contain small amounts of vitamin-A, and vitamin E. Both these fat-soluble vitamins possess potent anti-oxidant activities, which serve to protect cell membranes and DNA damage from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
From my own experiences making herbal body products I know that macadamia nut oil is good for your skin. It is an oil that is very stable and that soaks easily into you skin because it is very much like sebum, the oil your body naturally produces. So, you can either eat your jar of original macnut butter or spread it all over your skin. Either way your body benefits!
* History info from wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macadamia
** PaleoLeap website http://paleoleap.com/eat-macadamia-nuts/
***From nutrition and you website http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/macadamia-nut.html