Macadamias: Australia’s heart-healthy nut

When you think of famous Australian exports, what springs to mind? People like Chris Hemsworth or Kylie Minogue? Inventions like the Hills Hoist and the Wine Cask? (genius). What about macadamias? 

While the humble macadamia may not be a Marvel superhero, in my view they have superpowers all of their own. It could well be one of our healthiest exports, from Indigenous Australian origins, to being cultivated and enjoyed the world over. 

Macadamias remind me of summertime and Christmas desserts. I love macadamias for the buttery-soft flavour they add to many dishes. Chopped in salads, adored on cookies, honey-roasted or natural. The options are endless. In a mixed nuts bowl, I have memories of attempting to crack the outer shell with the fancy macadamia nutcracker. Or more realistically giving up because they’re impossible! Still, a shelled macadamia is worth it, both in nutrition and versatility.

Macadamias are native to Australia and are steeped in Indigenous Australian culture. Macadamias were a staple bush food among Indigenous diets and grown around the northeastern New South Wales and central and southeastern Queensland regions.

Legend is that an aboriginal elder in the 1860’s known as King Jacky, was the first known macadamia entrepreneur. He and his tribe frequently collected and traded macadamias with early settlers.

Macadamias were first discovered in Australia by European explorers in 1828. Macadamias themselves are a genus of four different species, three of which are commercially grown and eaten. The plant itself grows between 2-12m tall, with long, slender flowers of white or purple. In some local Aboriginal languages, macadamias are known as bauple or jindilli, depending on the region they are from.

Close up shot of macadamia nuts

Macadamias: Keto Friendly & Heart Healthy

Macadamias are full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and minerals. Notable nutrients are vitamin B1 and manganese, which help with energy, antioxidant support and detoxification. 

Macadamias boast:

  • 75% fat
  • 8% protein
  • 14% carbohydrates
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc

Macadamias are also in the top 3 ketogenic nuts, alongside Brazil nuts and pecans. For more on my thoughts on everything keto, click here. For me the only way to improve macadamias, is to enjoy them in macadamia nut butter. A wickedly creamy and healthy alternative to your usual peanut butter or other nut butters

Bowl of macadamia nuts in a bowl on a wooden table

An interesting study from 2020 revealed that a diet enriched with macadamias, naturally high in monounsaturated fats, improved cholesterol markers and overall heart attack risk factors when compared with a control diet.

Another study published in the journal Lipids examined the effects of consuming macadamia nuts in a group of men with high cholesterol. Specifically, biomarkers of oxidative stress, coagulation and inflammation were measured. Here, macadamia nuts were administered (between 40-90g per day) for 4 weeks. Inflammatory markers including leukotrienes were significantly lower over the course of the four-week study. The authors concluded that from these results, short-term macadamia nut consumption alters cellular stress responses, coagulation and inflammation, which improves several cardiovascular risk factors. 

A low-carb decadent chocolate brownie? Say no more! Pass me the tray and a knife. Or a summery and all Aussie Christmas salad, featuring mango and avocado. I think Hemsworth would agree, macadamias are a top-shelf Aussie favourite for a reason!


Chocolate & Macadamia Brownies


  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 100g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or rapadura
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla stevia


  1. In a food processor pulse macadamia nuts, salt, and baking soda until the texture of gravel
  2. Pulse in chocolate and coconut oil until smooth
  3. Pulse in erythritol, eggs, and stevia
  4. Transfer mixture to a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  5. Bake at 350°F for 22-27 minutes, batter will set up when cooled
  6. Cool in tray for 30 mins before slicing and serving

Mango, Avocado & Macadamia Salad


  • 2 baby cos lettuce, leaves separated
  • 2 small mangoes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 rashers nitrate-free rindless bacon, fried until crisp, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup toasted macadamias, roughly chopped
  • Shaved parmesan and basil leaves, to serve


  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Combine lettuce, mango and avocado in a serving dish. Scatter over bacon, red onion and macadamias.
  2. To make dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a small jug. Season to taste.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad just before serving. Toss gently. Scatter with shaved parmesan and basil leaves to serve.

Article References

Bolling, B. W., Chen, C. Y., McKay, D. L., & Blumberg, J. B. (2011). Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Nutrition research reviews, 24(2), 244–275.

Curb, J. D., Wergowske, G., Dobbs, J. C., Abbott, R. D., & Huang, B. (2000). Serum lipid effects of a high-monounsaturated fat diet based on macadamia nuts. Archives of internal medicine, 160(8), 1154–1158.

Garg, M. L., Blake, R. J., Wills, R. B., & Clayton, E. H. (2007). Macadamia nut consumption modulates favourably risk factors for coronary artery disease in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Lipids, 42(6), 583–587.

Griel, A. E., Cao, Y., Bagshaw, D. D., Cifelli, A. M., Holub, B., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2008). A macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. The Journal of nutrition, 138(4), 761–767.

Theodore, L. E., Kellow, N. J., McNeil, E. A., Close, E. O., Coad, E. G., & Cardoso, B. R. (2021). Nut Consumption for Cognitive Performance: A Systematic Review. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 12(3), 777–792.

Wikipedia Contributors. (2021, October 14). Macadamia. Retrieved from Wikipedia website:, viewed October 14 2021.