FDA: Macadamia Nuts Good for Heart Health

Go ahead. Go nuts. That's what the recent announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sounded like to macadamia nut growers in Hawaii.

The federal approval recognizes macadamia nuts as a heart-healthy food that can help prevent heart disease. That's good news for macadamia nut growers, but it's also good news for people who enjoy nuts and want to follow a heart-healthy diet.

"Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of macadamia nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease," U.S. Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling Director Douglas Balentine wrote in response to a petition by Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc.

The FDA approval recognizing macadamia nuts as a heart-healthy food included a review of about 80 studies on nut consumption and risk factors for heart disease.

"…the current evidence supports a qualified health claim for macadamia nuts – including whole or chopped macadamia nuts that are raw, blanched, roasted, salted or unsalted, and/or lightly coated and/or flavored – concerning the relationship between macadamia nuts and a reduced risk of CHD [coronary heart disease]," wrote Balentine.

Great news for nut lovers. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, were already on the list. Now they'll be joined by macadamia nuts. They're packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, and other nutrients your body needs for good health.

Research shows that macadamia nuts, and other nuts can help:

  • Lower the risk of heart disease
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • Reduce triglyceride levels
  • Control hunger
  • Strengthen bones
  • Reduce the risk for certain types of cancer

Go Nuts, But Not Too Much

Go ahead and enjoy some macadamia nuts. But don't eat the whole container. A small handful, about 1.5 ounces, of nuts per day is plenty. A daily serving of nuts is good for your heart, but they are high in calories. One service of macadamia nuts has about 250 calories.

If you’re looking for other ways to keep your heart healthy, following a Low-Sodium diet can help, too.