What are macadamia nuts?

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Macadamia nuts come from Macadamia trees. They are high in fat, calories, and antioxidants. One ounce of macadamia nuts provides 200 calories and 22g Fat (17g from monounsaturated fat, 3g saturated fat).
Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Macadamia nuts, or mac nuts for short, are tasty, crunchy, buttery-flavored nuts roughly the size of a marble when unshelled. Though native to Australia, macadamia nuts are closely associated with Hawaii, and for good reason: Hawaii is the largest exporter of macadamia nuts, providing 95 percent of the world's crop.

Macadamia integrifolia is a fast-growing, regular-shaped, medium-sized tree with heavy, dark green foliage. Leaves develop in whorls of three, paired, or in fours. The leaves are rarely solitary. The leaves are blunt-tipped, oblong, and 1 foot in length or more, edged with fine teeth. The nuts ripen in the fall, in both the spring and fall, or through the year depending upon the climate. The smooth, hard nut shell is encased in a leathery two-valved case that is 1 inch in diameter. The case encloses one spherical nut shell or two hemispherical nut shells.

Due to the labor involved in shelling the nuts and the tropical environment required to grow them, they were traditionally more expensive than other nuts. Prices have dropped dramatically in the past 20 years due to new strains with softer shells and increased production. Since the shell is so difficult to crack (much like that of black walnuts), you'll find them in the market always shelled, either raw or roasted, salted or unsalted.
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Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

Macadamia nuts are named for Dr. John Macadam. Dr. John was an Australian who discovered that these nuts were incredibly delicious. First grown in Australia, the majority now come from Hawaii. Macadamia nuts have a delicate, sweet creamy texture. They contain more calories and fat the any other nuts. They also contain significant amounts of iron, magnesium, and the B vitamin thiamin.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.