It's In The Name, 'Nut-rition'!

20/07/2016 11:39 | Updated 21 July 2016

Everyday life dictates how much time we get to spend on ourselves; our health, wellbeing and diet. What if I told you that you could get a whole heap of daily goodness in just a few grams?

Nuts are a great "all-rounder" providing protein, healthy fats and lots of different minerals. Eating a variety of nuts is essential as part of a healthy diet - they are packed full of nutrition, it's in the name - 'Nut-rition'! This week, let's look at macadamia nuts.

Nutritional Content
Macadamias are an excellent source of minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese , selenium and zinc.

Macadamias are also rich in B-complex vitamins that are vital for metabolic functions.

100g of macadamias provide 15% of Vitamin B-3 (niacin), 21% of Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), 100% of Vitamin B-1 (thiamin), and 12% of Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin).

A recommended serving a day would be 40g which is around 15 -18 nuts.

Health Benefits
A rich source of healthy fats, macadamias have the highest content of healthy monounsaturated fat (81% of total fat). Research has shown that diets high in monounsaturated fats have benefits for heart health and diabetes management.

Improves blood cholesterol 40-90g of macadamias per day has been shown to reduce levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol and increase 'good' HDL cholesterol, and reduce heart disease risk.

Reduces heart disease risk, particularly in men. A study showed eating 40g-90g of macadamias each day for 4 weeks improved markers of inflammation and blood clotting in men with high cholesterol.

Macadamias contain plant omega-3 fats, although in small amounts, they are one of the few nuts that do contain this important short chain omega-3 fatty acids, alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALA has important heart health benefits.

A handful of macadamias provides nearly 25% of RDA for manganese a mineral which is an essential element involved in bone formation as well as the breakdown of carbohydrate, cholesterol and amino acids. Manganese is also required for several antioxidant enzyme systems.

Also a handful of macadamias provides around 30% of daily requirements of thiamin, important for the production of energy from food.

A source of plant iron, particularly for vegetarians and those wanting to reduce their animal protein intake. A 30g serve of macadamias provides around 14% of the daily requirement of iron for men and 6% for women.

Macadamia Nut Recipe Ideas
There are some great ways of incorporating macadamias (or indeed, any nuts) into your diet, with little or no effort at all. Here's a few:

Gluten free couscous alternative- blend until coarse in texture.

Add raw macadamias to your morning granola.

Make macadamia nut butter. All the nuts into a food processor or high speed and keep running until the oils in the nut breakdown and turn into nut butter. This can take between 5-15 minutes.

Macadamias make a delicious creamy addition to soups, just blend all ingredients together at the end.

Also macadamias and pumpkins pair very well together.

Nuts can be refrigerated for up to four months and frozen for up to six months particularly in an airtight container.

Return nuts to room temperature before eating to restore flavour and aroma.