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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Getting Nutty (Hawaiian Treasures Continued)


Of all the foods that whisper Hawaii, the most decadent may be macadamia nuts (fun fact: they’re originally from Australia and were introduced to Hawaii in 1881 but are also grown in California). Visitors to the Rainbow State can get nutty from sun up to sun down munching on macadamia nut pancakes, muffins, shortbread cookies, pies, macadamia encrusted fish, and of course chocolate covered versions of these tropical gems! Personally, I prefer them the old fashioned way – plain old dry roasted (yum, yum!).

But of course this blog is about nutrition and guess what? You got it - they’re good for you too (if you can stop yourself from eating a pound at a time that is). While macs are high in calories (200 per ounce, the size of a golf ball, about a tenth of a day’s worth of cals on average) and fat (22 g per oz, about a third of a day’s worth), they’re low in saturated fat. Just 3 of those 22 grams come from saturated fat (sat fat is the gooky fat that clogs up our arteries and ups our blood cholesterol).

In fact, most of the fat macs provide (17 of the 22 grams) is called monounsaturated, the same heart healthy fat olive oil is famous for. So, if you can stick to golf ball sized portions, consider adding macs to your nut repertoire. You can find them right here on the mainland (tip: purchase a sealable container meant for condiments that holds just 1 ounce – fill it up and think of it as your “allotment” for the day). Just don’t feed them to Fido (mac nuts are toxic to our canine companions). And for more info on healthy vs. not so healthy fats, check out these 2 links:

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4582

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12672919

P.S. Did you know that macadamias are the hardest nuts in the world to crack? Breaking the shell requires 300 pounds per square inch of pressure! Oh, and I just couldn’t resist including this great pic of the beautiful (and endangered) sea turtles at Punalu'u Beach since they live in shells too!
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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