ORIGIN: Macadamia nuts are the fruits of the macadamia tree (Macadamia integrifolia), native to Australia and originally found in natural forests, capable of reaching heights of up to 15 meters. It belongs to the family of plants Proteaceae, and its nut is considered the most flavorful among the nuts sold worldwide. It has elliptical leaves and extremely hard and woody nuts.
VITAMINS: In addition to being extremely delicious, macadamia nuts contain important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, iron, folic acid, manganese, proteins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folates. They also contain moderate amounts of zinc, copper, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, healthy fats, and powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols, amino acids, flavones, and selenium.
APPLICATION: Besides being used for food, macadamia is also utilized in other industries, particularly in cosmetics, for the production of soaps, fragrances, incense, and moisturizers. Macadamia oil, extracted from the nuts, is also used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
CURIOUS FACTS: The fruits naturally fall from the trees when they are ripe, at which point they have an approximate moisture content of 25% on a dry basis. After harvesting, the fruits are taken to a post-harvest unit for removal of the carpel (which is a second outer shell), selection, and storage of the nuts in the shell. This is one of the most critical moments for the quality of the nut, as a low moisture content contributes to its better quality.
This is also a critical moment for the quality of the macadamia, as the high moisture content of the macadamia in the shell accelerates germination, and when not handled properly, significantly increases the percentage of moldy kernels.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MACADAMIA: The abundance of fiber and other minerals such as magnesium and potassium present in macadamia assists in various treatments, such as heart health, cholesterol reduction, and blood pressure control. The flavonoids present in macadamia act as antioxidants, which can also aid in the treatment of diabetes and contribute to skin and hair rejuvenation. Macadamia nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which can make platelets less sticky and less likely to form clots in blood vessels, thus helping to prevent heart attacks or strokes.
Macadamia also contains oleic acid, which keeps blood pressure low and helps prevent stroke, thereby contributing to the preservation of brain health. It also contains palmitoleic acid, an important component of myelin (a fatty layer that protects brain nerve cells). The omega-9 present in this nut helps improve mood and is important in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
As macadamia is a natural product, its nutritional composition may vary depending on climate, variety, and cultural practices. Below is a table with average nutritional values for 50g (one tablespoon) of raw macadamia nuts.