A fat that lowers cholesterol? Studies have shown that monounsaturated fats can actually lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and diabetes. While extra-virgin olive oil has long been considered the “gold standard”among monounsaturates, there is a new oil poised to take over top billing.
Macadamia nut oil has been garnering a lot of attention for its rich, slightly buttery flavour and the fact that it contains more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat than any other oil. Macadamia nut oil contains between 80 and 85 percent monounsaturated fats (the more affordable olive oil, by comparison, contains roughly 70 to76 percent). But macadamia nut oil’s best feature may be its nutritionally ideal omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio of 1:1.
Some research suggests that our diets are much healthier when we consume a perfect 1:1 omega-3 and omega-6 balance.
Though research on macadamia nut oil is relatively new, preliminary studies indicate it is as heart-friendly as other monounsaturated fatty acids, with some additional, rather surprising benefits. A study conducted at the University of Newcastle, Australia (published in Journal of Nutrition, April 2003) showed that a relatively high-fat diet featuring macadamia nuts was beneficial for men with high cholesterol. Furthermore, researchers observed that the participants of the study showed significant improvements in markers for oxidative stress, clotting tendency, and inflammation.
Another bonus: Weight loss was also observed in the men, despite an increase in the total amount of fat consumed. How can you eat more fat and lose weight? The answer to that conundrum lies in a component of macadamia nut oil–palmitoleic acid–a mono-unsaturated fatty acid that, according to initial studies, supports cell regeneration and may aid in fat metabolism. While more research is needed, it appears that macadamia nut oil seems to help with weight loss.
The good news doesn’t end there. Macadamia nut oil also boasts a higher smoke point than many oils, which means that its beneficial fatty acids resist degradation during cooking. Macadamia nut oil has a smoke point of 410 F (210 C), making it versatile enough to saut?bake, or use in stir fry. Of course, it is also delicious cold in salad dressings, pasta salads, and other recipes.
However you choose to use macadamia nut oil, make sure you purchase a brand that has been minimally processed and cold pressed to ensure you obtain all the remarkable health benefits this unique oil has to offer.
Essential fatty acids are the building blocks for fats, two of which are as essential to the body as vitamins and minerals. Omega-6 linoleic and omega-3 alpha-linolenic acids are the two essential fatty acids the body cannot manufacture, and these need to be obtained from food or supplements.