Are Macadamia Nuts Paleo?


Paleo is simple. Eat plants, animals, nuts, and seeds, in that order. Nuts are great, but it’s easy to overindulge when eating them. A good rule of thumb is to eat no more than one handful of nuts per day.

Paleo and Polyunsaturated Fats

Macadamia nuts are no exception, although they are a better option than most nuts. A lot of nuts (such as almonds and walnuts) are very high in Omega-6 fats, a type of polyunsaturated fat that is inflammatory and very unstable at high temperatures. There is nothing inherently wrong with Omega-6s, but the Standard American Diet (SAD) currently consists of way more Omega-6s than we have ever consumed in the history of our species. To maintain health, we need to be sure to moderate our intake of Omega-6s and to consume enough Omega-3s (another type of polyunsaturated fat that has anti-inflammatory properties) to balance out the effects of the Omega-6s that we eat.

Macadamia nuts are among the fattiest nuts, consisting of about 75% fat. They are highest in monounsaturated fat, followed by saturated fat, and only a small amount of polyunsaturated fats. They also contain a significant amount of protein.

Macadamia nuts contain only nominal amounts of vitamins, but they are extremely high in trace metals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc.

Paleo and Phytic Acid

Nuts also tend to contain a fair amount of phytic acid, an anti-nutrient which binds to minerals in the seed and prevents our body from absorbing those nutrients. In some cases, phytic acid can lead to digestive issues and nutrient deficiencies. This doesn’t mean that nuts are off the menu, it’s just another reason to limit the amount of nuts you do eat.

Mark Sisson has a whole post on why we should limit our consumption of phytic acid (and, as a result, nuts).