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The Health Benefits of Macadamia Nut Oil

Dr. Kristie Leong

Choosing a cooking oil can be confusing with so many choices available. First there's the question of taste and, even more important, the issue of health. While extra virgin olive oil is an excellent choice for salad dressings and low temperature applications, it has a low smoke point which limits its use for high temperature cooking.... What are the benefits of macadamia nut oil in the kitchen?

Benefits of Macadamia Nut Oil: What Is It?

As might be expected, macadamia nut oil is oil that's derived from the macadamia nut. The macadamia nut is renowned for its high concentration of monounsaturated fats, fats that are considered to be "good fats" when it comes to the risk of heart disease. Unlike saturated fats which raise LDL cholesterol levels, monounsaturated fats such as those found in the macadamia nut have the opposite effect. Studies have shown that eating macadamia nuts can lower cholesterol as well as the overall risk of getting heart disease.

Is the Oil as Healthy as the Nut?

It shouldn't be surprising that the oil derived from the macadamia nut would be heart healthy. Macadamia nut oil contains up to 85% monounsaturated fats. It's also a good source of oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fat in olive oil, and the component that gives olive oil its heart healthy benefits. The oleic acid found in macadamia nut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties which may help to reduce the risk of other chronic diseases. It contains linolenic acid, an omega-3, and linoleic acid, an omega-6, as well as palmitoleic acid, another monounsaturated fatty acid. Macadamia nuts are also a good source of antioxidants which help to fight disease causing free radicals. It's unclear whether the antioxidants are preserved when the oil is made from the nut.

Benefits of Macadamia Nut Oil: It's Versatile

Another important benefit of macadamia nut oil is its versatility. Because of its high smoke point (around 425 degrees Fahrenheit) it can be used in frying, whereas olive oil can't. When oils that have a low smoke point are taken to high temperatures, unhealthy breakdown products can form which can raise the risk of heart disease. This makes macadamia nut oil a versatile addition to the kitchen cabinet for those occasions where olive oil won't do. Macadamia nut oil also has an unusually long shelf life and can be stored for one to two years.

Benefits of Macadamia Nut Oil: The Bottom Line?

Add a bottle of macadamia nut oil to the cabinet to use when olive oil isn't an option. It's more expensive, but it's healthy and, chances are, you'll love its nutty taste.


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