Medical News Today: The health benefits of macadamia oil

By | January 24, 2019
Macadamia oil is a clear, light-yellow liquid that comes from pressed macadamia nuts. It is a healthful oil that people use for cooking, and there may also be health benefits of using pure oil to moisturize the skin and condition the hair.

Macadamia nuts grow on macadamia trees, which are native to Australia. Similarly to olive oil, macadamia oil is a liquid at room temperature. People use this oil in cooking and health and beauty applications.

Macadamia oil is rich in nutrients, including healthful fatty acids and potassium. For this reason, many people believe that macadamia oil has a range of health benefits.

In this article, we discuss three uses of macadamia oil and their potential health benefits.

1. Cooking and eating

macadamia oil
Macadamia oil can substitute for other oils in many dishes.

A person can use macadamia oil as a substitute for other oils in many dishes.

With a higher smoke point than some other oils, such as olive oil, it is perfect for sautéing, roasting, and grilling.

Its mild flavor also makes macadamia oil a good choice for baked goods or as an appropriate base for salad dressings and marinades.

Benefits

Macadamia oil offers several potential health benefits when a person uses it in cooking and as part of a balanced and healthful diet. These include:

Heart health

Consuming macadamia oil may support heart health. It has high levels of monounsaturated fat. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), monounsaturated fats can lower levels of bad cholesterol, which, in turn, can reduce a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

Antioxidants

Macadamia oil is a source of antioxidants. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, free radicals in the body can cause oxidative stress.

This may play a role in aging and the development of a number of diseases, including cancer. Consuming antioxidants, however, may help counter these free radicals.

Macadamia oil is also rich in oleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid that has antioxidant properties. A 2016 study in rats suggests that taking oleic acid supplements may help protect against the effects of oxidative stress.

Other studies indicate that oleic acid consumption may have a beneficial effect on cancer and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings.

Vitamin E

Macadamia oil also contains substances called tocotrienols, which are part of the vitamin E family.

Research indicates that vitamin E and tocotrienols are potent antioxidants that may protect against cancer and a variety of other health conditions, including cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

2. Topical skin application

Macadamia oil is an ingredient in many skin care products, but can a person also apply the pure oil directly to the skin.

It is important to test the oil on a small area of the skin first. Although macadamia oil is generally safe, some people may develop a rash after applying it directly to the skin.

People with tree nut allergies should avoid using macadamia oil.

Benefits

macadamia oil skin cream
Macadamia oil is a common ingredient in skin care products.

Some people claim that there are health benefits to applying macadamia oil to the skin. These benefits include moisturization and the prevention of wrinkles and skin damage.

However, the evidence for these benefits is largely anecdotal or indirect.

The vitamin E present in macadamia oil has many properties that may benefit a person’s skin. For example, it absorbs easily, making it a good moisturizer for very dry skin.

However, be aware that applying macadamia oil directly to the skin may clog pores and lead to breakouts of acne.

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage the DNA in a person’s skin. Test tube studies suggest that applying vitamin E to the skin may protect against this damage.

3. Natural hair conditioner

Many people use pure macadamia oil to strengthen and condition their hair.

Similarly to using olive oil, a person can take a small amount of the oil and rub it directly into their hair. It is generally best to let the oil soak into the hair for a short amount of time before rinsing out the excess.

Benefits

People who use macadamia oil as a hair conditioner claim that it can help:

  • strengthen hair
  • smooth hair
  • add shine
  • make hair more manageable

Again, the evidence for these benefits is largely anecdotal.

Summary

People often overlook macadamia oil for cooking, but it is a healthful source of unsaturated fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants.

Macadamia oil also has a higher smoke point than many other fats and oils, including olive oil. This makes it a good choice for sautéing, roasting, and grilling.

Some people also use pure macadamia oil as a skin moisturizer and hair conditioner, claiming that topical application has a number of health benefits. However, most of the evidence for these benefits is largely anecdotal or indirect.

Macadamia oil is generally safe to use in both cooking and on the hair and skin. However, people with nut allergies should avoid using macadamia oil.

A range of pure macadamia oil and macadamia oil-containing products are available to buy online.

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