I love nuts! (Jokes ensue….go ahead, are you thinking “That’s what she said?”) Anyways, I do love them because they are chock full of protein, full of healthy fats and they taste delicious! The other day I made a delicious banana-macadamia nut bar that was out of this world. I also buy those little packs of “Nutrition” single serve nut snack packs, made by Planters, and the South Beach variety includes macadamia nuts.
Did you know that the oil in macadamia nuts is 80% monounsaturated? That is high than any other nut, even olive oil is only 75% monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fat is the main fat in the Mediterranean diet, which has received so much publicity lately for being associated with lower levels of heart disease and cancer, along with longer life spans. One study showed that diets with a high intake of monounsaturated fat experienced three times the reduction in risk for heart disease and a 45% lower risk of death overall! Need more convincing that monounsaturated is actually good for you? Check out these benefits:
- Decreased risk for breast cancer. A study of women in Sweden found that those with diets higher in monounsaturated fats (as opposed to polyunsaturated fats) resulted in less frequent incidence of breast cancer.
- Reduced cholesterol levels.
- Lower risk for heart disease and stroke. Diets with monounsaturated fats correlate with healthy hearts and fewer strokes.
- Weight loss. Studies have found that switching to monounsaturated fat from diets with trans fats and polyunsaturated fats results in weight loss.
- Less severe pain and stiffness for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Diet plays a role in improving the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis.
- Reduced belly fat. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that diets with monounsaturated fat could improve the loss of belly fat better than high carbohydrate diets.
Macadamia nuts also have calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. They also have selenium, which has anti-cancer properties, phytoserols, which lower cholesterol and promote prostate health. Now here is the downside…..macadamia nuts are very high in calories. They have a staggering 204 calories per ounce. So, if you are trying to lose weight, make sure to monitor your portion size. This doesn’t mean you can’t have them, just watch how many you have.
Try out this Pineapple Macadamia Nut Chicken recipe, which incorporates both macadamia nuts and yesterdays top healthy food – apricots!
Pineapple Macadamia Chicken
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Caribbean jerk seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking spray
- 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
- 1 tablespoon apricot preserves, warmed
- Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine the nuts, seasoned salt, jerk seasoning, onion powder and pepper. Place egg in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in egg; coat with nut mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- In a skillet, cook chicken in oil or cooking spray for 3-4 minutes on each side or until chicken juices run clear. In a small bowl, combine pineapple and apricot preserves. Top the chicken with the pineapple and apricot mixture.
Do you like macadamia nuts? Do you think they are worth the calories? How do you manage portion control with nuts?