Saturday, July 24, 2021

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia integrifolia Maiden & Betche (Proteaceae) is one of the major tree crops of the world. In addition to its nutritional value, macadamia also contains a number of phytochemicals that are responsible for a variety of bioactivities.

Macadamias contain numerous health-promoting nutrients and a suite of bioactive non-nutritive components; they are high in protein and unsaturated fats, fiber, plant sterols, minerals (calcium, potassium, magnesium), vitamins (B groups vitamins and vitamin E) and polyphenol antioxidants.

Macadamia nut is the kernel obtained from the two species of Macadamia integrifolia and M. tetraphylla is a dark green spreading semi-hard wood and can grow up to 20 meters.

The Macadamia kernel is the edible part of Macadamia. It can be eaten raw or fried, or roasted and salted. It is also used for dessert and snacks and as an ingredient in various confectioneries such as biscuits, ice cream and chocolates.

Nuts also contain significant amounts of polyphenolic compounds, which have many beneficial health functions, including high antioxidant capacity, and roasted nuts contain Maillard reaction products, which contribute to flavor, color, and antioxidant capacity.

The most notable feature of M. integrifolia nuts is its high lipid content. However, the oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids (FA), mainly monounsaturated MUFA, vitamin E and sterols.

Oil is also extracted from the kernel and used for salads. Macadamia integrifolia oil is similar in composition to olive oil and is made up of 58.2% monounsaturated fatty acids and is therefore considered as a healthy food product as it contains no cholesterol. Research has shown that diets high in monounsaturated fats have benefits for heart health and diabetes management.

While having only small amounts (99mg/100g), macadamias are one of the few plant foods which contain this important short chain omega-3 fatty acids – α-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA has important heart health benefits.

Macadamia is an excellent source of thiamin – also known as vitamin B1. This water-soluble vitamin is particularly important for the production of energy from food. A handful of macadamias provides around 30% of daily requirements of thiamin.
Macadamia nuts

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