Macadamia nuts get a bad rap for having “too much” monosaturated fat, or so says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the same big brother who says BPA in food packaging is safe for kids and that ketchup could be considered a vegetable. Apparently these tree nuts, along with Brazil nuts and cashews, are on the naughty nosh list because they exceed the cut-off point of 4 grams of saturated fat per 50 grams of nuts – macadamias have 6 grams of saturated fat.
But, if you love this buttery nut that hails from Hawaii and Australia, don’t fret! A recent study found that eating a heart-healthy diet that included 1.5 ounces of macadamia nuts per day versus eating the ‘regular American diet’ could possibly reduce total cholesterol by up to 9-percent along with additional reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Both diets in the study provided equal amounts of fat consumption and researchers observed that the reduction in LDL or bad cholesterol was more significant than would be predicted by just the healthy fats in the nuts alone, an indication that macadamias contain some other unknown property that helps lower cholesterol.
In plain English, all this science talk simply means that macadamia nuts are much more than the FDA has cracked them up to be. Used in moderation, as part of a heart-healthy diet, this nut may actually be doing your body good – but not chocolate covered! If you’re looking for your daily dose of macadamia nuts, here’s a great healthy recipe I developed that was published in Taste of Home:
Macadamia Crusted Tilapia
- 2 eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-3/4 cups macadamia nuts, finely chopped
- 4 tilapia fillets (6 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
- 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs and cayenne. Place flour and macadamia nuts in separate shallow bowls. Coat tilapia with flour, then dip in egg mixture and coat with nuts.
Place on a greased baking sheet; drizzle with butter. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a small serving bowl, combine the pineapple, red pepper, onions, sugar, jalapeno, lime juice and ginger; sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with fish. Yield: 4 servings (1-1/2 cups salsa).
Nutritional Facts1 serving (1 each) equals 681 calories, 51 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 135 mg cholesterol, 233 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 19 g protein.