Pistachios and pecans we’re cool with. The former is the lowest acrylamide nut, while the latter has the highest antioxidant content.
Anyone who is a regular reader of Superfoodly knows we peddle those two all the time.
Then there’s one we rarely talk about… this one.
The nutritional benefits of macadamia nuts are almost non-existent. Among the the varieties of nuts you can buy at the supermarket, this one has the highest calorie and fat content. To add insult to injury, it’s the lowest protein nut.
The good news?
It’s only the 3rd worst for antioxidant content. That’s good for you on a relative basis, right?
Based on a 100g (3.5 oz) serving, here’s how the nutrition facts stack up for it versus almond, cashew, and the rest of the competition.
|ORAC||Calories||Fat||Protein||Carbs||Fiber||% Fat||% Carbs||% Protein|
As Trump would say, it’s a total disaster!
So how on earth could we possibly recommend liquefying the stuff and then drinking it?
You have to dig a little deeper to understand the logic.
The health benefits
Yes they’re rich in fat, but not just any kind. It’s almost entirely monounsaturated fat (MUFA). That’s the same stuff olive oil is praised for having.
The American Heart Association says you should choose this type of fat versus saturated or trans. Their advice is that monounsaturated “can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke” (1).
Guess which nut is up to 85% MUFA?
But just telling people to eat more of that type is too generic.
Sure, you’ve probably heard of one type of MUFA; oleic acid. That’s the most prevalent in your diet. There are a lot of other types too, such as crotonic, myristoleic, palmitoleic, sapienic, elaidic acid, vaccenic, gadoleic, eicosenoic, erucic acid, and nervonic acid.
Both macadamia oil and extra virgin olive oil have around 55% as oleic. That type is nothing to write home about.
In olive oil, there is also an omega 7 known as palmitoleic acid. It’s just 0.3 to 3.5% of the fat (2).
In macadamia fat, palmitoleic is 14 to 22% (3).
Palmitoleic acid is a rare omega 7 fat. Few plants contain high amounts. Aside from cold water fish, animal food sources like meat don’t provide it.
It should not be confused with trans-palmitoleic acid in cow milk and dairy from animals. Research shows that the trans version “is associated with higher LDL cholesterol” (bad cholesterol) (4).
For the type of omega 7 found in this specific nut and sea buckthorn berries, research continues to demonstrate it’s healthy for you. It might be why studies have shown omega 3 + omega 7 (such as eating cold water fish) appears to do more good than plain omega 3 supplements (5).
It might also be why these 4 human clinical trials have found this nut to beneficial:
- A macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women (6).
- Macadamia nut consumption lowers plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic men (7)
- Serum lipid effects of a high-monounsaturated fat diet based on macadamia nuts (8)
- Serum lipid effects of a monounsaturated (palmitoleic) fatty acid-rich diet based on macadamia nuts in healthy, young Japanese women (9).
To be clear, that’s not an excuse for a Costco run to pick up a 50 lb. barrel of chocolate Mauna Loa.
Is macadamia milk good for you?
It might be the most healthy way to consume this nut. When the recipe is done right, it will provide you with adequate amounts of the important omega 7, without going overboard on calories. In short, the milk can give just enough of this beneficial fatty acid.
While there’s nothing stopping you from accomplishing the same by eating them whole, they can be like potato chips. Do you really have the will power to eat just a couple and then put down that Mauna Loa jar?
Probably not (we don’t).
Plus, rather than add more nuts (and calories) to your diet, it’s better to substitute the ones you’re already eating.
There’s a good chance your almond milk is only 2% almonds. That’s why there’s no protein (1g or less) and lots of other junk on the ingredients label. Those cartons are empty calories.
But we drink that here because we all have LDL numbers under 70 and triglycerides under 50 mg/dL. If we had cholesterol which was even slightly elevated, then the health benefits of macadamia milk vs. almond milk or coconut would make a lot more sense for us. Those other two don’t provide palmitoleic acid.
For those with food allergies, this tropical nut comes from the Proteaceae family, which is different than most other tree nuts. You still can be allergic to it, but there’s a possibility you might not be. Check with your doctor before trying.
Where to buy it?
In the not too distant past, you had to learn how to make macadamia milk if you wanted to drink it. No brands were selling a ready-to-drink version.
In the United States, very few grocery stores carry it. Trader Joe’s and Kroger are a no-go. Whole Foods in Los Angeles doesn’t have it, yet. We only saw it for sale at the absurdly overpriced Erewhon Market in Los Angeles.
It’s a different story in Australia. There it’s already beginning to elbow out almond milk, soy milk and other non-dairy drinks for market share. You can head over to a supermarket like Woolworths and buy the following macadamia nut milk brands:
- Suncoast Gold, made by Patons, who is a well-known chocolate macadamia confectionery.
- Australia’s own, an organic brand.
In the United Kingdom:
- Provamel, a major manufacturer of soy milk and other dairy free alternatives.
- Amandin macadamia drink can be found in Ontario and other major cities.
Back here in the US, the Royal Hawaiian macadamia milk is a product that no stores seem to have for sale. Even online, we only see it listed at Vitacost.
The main player in America right now is Milkadamia. This brand is owned by Jindilli Beverages. They’re family-owned and control the nut from tree to table. They own their own farms along the eastern coast of Australia.
DIY homemade vs. premade brands
You can order Milkadamia on Amazon or you can try making your own.
If you want raw macadamia milk, you will have to make it. Regardless of whether it’s using raw or roasted, you will still reap the benefit of the omega 7 fat content.
For a DIY recipe, you will need a high-end blender like this one from Vitamix to liquefy the nuts. If you have one like that, or a food processer like Thermomix, then you can whip this up in your kitchen.
The Easiest Macadamia Milk Recipe
This dairy free delight can be made with just water and 3 ingredients.
190 calories and 20 grams of fat per 8 oz serving.
- 1 cup raw macadamia nuts
- 4 cups water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Monk fruit or sweetener of choice
- Place nuts in a bowl with water and soak in fridge overnight.
- Drain and rinse the nuts.
- Add 4½ cups of fresh water, vanilla extract, monk fruit, and drained nuts to blender.
- Blend 2 to 3 minutes or until liquefied.
- Pour contents of blender through a nut milk bag and into your storage container.
For thicker and creamier consistency, use your hands to squeeze more liquid out of the bag.
How many calories there are in this macadamia milk is assuming the following:
- You use 1 cup of whole or halves, which is 962 calories according to the USDA (10).
- You lose 20% of content, which are collected in the bag.
- You lose ½ cup of water in the bag.
Even if your weight isn’t a problem, it might quickly become one if you’re chugging down nearly 200 calories per cup, right?
And mind you, that’s for this recipe which uses zero calorie monk fruit. If you use maple syrup, dates, or another form of sugar, how many calories there are in the milk will likely approach 230 to 250 per cup!
Unless you’re using tiny amounts as a coffee creamer, the nutrition of homemade macadamia milk is just too naughty for everyday use.
Have no fear, there is a solution.
The milk brands which are ready-to-drink have low calorie counts, if you buy the right ones.
How they accomplish this is by using less nuts and emulsifying them in a way that still makes an insanely creamy macadamia milk. Trying to accomplish the same on your own will be multi-stage science experiment, requiring lots of trial and error.
That’s why we recommend to just buy it premade. Because this is one nut where you only want a little bit per day.
Here are the nutrition facts for the unsweetened Milkadamia from Jindilli.
What does macadamia milk taste like?
We can’t vouch for other brands, but this one is surprisingly creamy for being only 50 calories. It doesn’t have a watery texture like almond drinks of a comparable calorie count.
The tropical sweetness of the nut fools your tongue into thinking there’s at least some sugar added. There’s isn’t. The fact that it has zero grams of sugar and no added sweeteners is hard to believe, but it’s the truth.
And yes, it’s vegan and non-GMO. No comment on being paleo, because that diet means different things to different people.
The best recipes for using it are desserts and other treats, where you want that sweet fatty flavor on your tongue. One of us here made this quinoa porridge with macadamia nut milk as a Sunday breakfast.
If you use milk versus water for your oatmeal, it could work for that too. We haven’t seen macadamia yogurt for sale yet, but it seems like a tasty idea.
As with the other plant-based milks, they seem to stay good for a long time. While your experience may differ, the expiration date on this carton purchased was a full 12 months out.
Once you open them though, you will need to refrigerate and consume within 7 to 10 days.
Aside from the independent market in West LA we got this at, where can I buy macadamia milk? Being new, we can’t tell you major retailers in the US who carry it yet though you can get a 6 pack on Amazon which is where we would recommend.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.