When we think about good health, we sometimes forget the vital organ that drives our body: the brain.
There are a number of ways that eating macadamias can support our brain and mental health.
Food for thought
Macadamia nuts contain copper, magnesium and manganese that aid in the maintenance of healthy neurotransmitters in the brain. These are chemicals that send signals around the brain, communicating what needs to happen. Healthy neurotransmitters are a key component of good brain and mental health.
Macadamia nuts also contain a monounsaturated fatty acid called palmitoleic acid, which is an important component of the myelin sheath. This fatty layer insulates and protects nerve cells to allow electrical impulses to transmit efficiently around the whole body, including in the brain.19
Studies have shown that nuts may help protect the brain from the effects of ageing and improve memory function. One long term study of the Mediterranean diet showed women who ate 30g of nuts a day as part of this diet had sharper cognition than those who didn’t.20 A study for men also showed better cognitive function with those who ate nuts twice a week or more, than those who didn’t eat nuts regularly.21
Healthy heart = healthy brain
Having a healthy heart is linked to brain health23 and so the monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, antioxidants and other compounds in macadamia nuts that are good for our heart will help support our brain function too. Blood vessel health is essential for good brain health because the brain needs a good blood supply. Macadamia nuts contain oleic acid (omega 9) which is a monounsaturated fat that helps keep blood pressure low, which could reduce the risk of stroke.
Brain health includes mental health. We are becoming more aware of the effect of mental health on our wellbeing and the role diet can play in good mental health. In fact, one recent research trial showed that people who ate nuts regularly had a lower risk of depression.29