What we eat affects how we feel, just like the weather or how much exercise we do (or don’t do). After all, who hasn’t regretted a late-night kebab or the second piece of cheesecake? And conversely, who hasn’t felt more alert, productive and positive after a few days of kale and kombucha?
The idea of food for the brain – consuming plants, nuts and healthy fats – as a way to boost mood and increase happiness is increasingly being understood and promoted by health professionals. Along with fruit and veggies, oily fish, and lean meats, nuts fall into the category of foods that are good for your brain function and emotional wellbeing.
Regular nut consumption (a handful every day) is already associated with many health benefits. For lovers of macadamias who consume the nuts regularly, the benefits are enormous. Macadamias are great for heart health – they are rich in monounsaturated fats and regular consumption of macadamias reduces cholesterol levels and reduces inflammation in blood vessels. Macadamias are also rich in antioxidants that protect the body against diseases such as cancer. Macadamias can also play a role in weight loss – they are a high satiety food, so eating them makes you feel fuller for longer.
The good news is eating macadamias and other nuts can also help your brain’s health.
Researchers examining the benefits of the famed Mediterranean diet, that is high in vegetables, fruits and nuts, have found that those on the diet have significantly lower rates of depression and anxiety than those eating other diets. High in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and unsaturated fats, the Mediterranean diet has different components that all work together to aid mental health.
Macadamias can help maintain healthy minds in many ways. Macadamias contain copper, magnesium and manganese that aid in the maintenance of healthy neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that send signals around the brain, communicating what needs to happen. Healthy neurotransmitters are a key component of good mental health.
Another way eating macadamias aids brain health is, oddly enough, related to gut health. Macadamias contain around 7% dietary fibre, that aids digestion and boosts healthy gut flora. Researchers believe that a strong correlation exists between a healthy immune system and a healthy mind, with some even going so far as to suggest that the stomach is the ‘second brain’ of the body.
So if you want to keep your mind sharp and your mood sunny, a handful of macadamias every day is a great place to start.
For references related to this article please refer to;
- Martinez-Gonzalez, M.A. et al. Nut consumption, weight gain and obesity: Epidemiological evidence. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011;21 Suppl 1:S40-5.
- The SMILES Trial, Jacka, Opie et al 2017 PREDIMED: A five year Mediterranean and mixed nuts diet study from Spain https://www.nutsforlife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Nuts_PREDIMED_brochure_2017_single_pages-
- Flores-Mateo G et al Nut intake and adiposity: meta-analysis of clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(6):1346-55
- Nuts and the big fat myth. The positive role for nuts in weight management. Available from URL https://nutsforlife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/pdf/major-reports/Nuts_Weight%20Report_2016_20pp%20low%20res%20FINAL%20APPROVED.pdf
- Pereira, M.A. et al. Dietary fiber and body-weight regulation. Observations and mechanisms. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2001;48(4):969-980.
- Casas-Agustench, P. et al. Nuts, inflammation and insulin resistance. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(1):124-130.
- Mattes, R.D. The energetics of nut consumption. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:337-9
- Griel AE, Cao Y, Bagshaw DD, Cifelli AM, Holub B, Kris-Etherton PM. A macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. J Nutr. 2008;138(4):761-7.
- Del Gobbo LC, Falk MC, Feldman R, Lewis K et al. Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;102(6):1347-56. Available at URL https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26561616
- Griel, A.E., Y. Cao, D.D. Bagshaw, A.M. Cifelli, B. Holub, and P.M. Kris-Etherton, A Macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. Journal of Nutrition, 2008. 138(4): p. 761-767.