The macadamia oil is an oil obtained from the macadamia nut, also known as the Queensland nut. Each nut holds a large amount of oil in it – you can crush a macadamia nut and watch the oil ooze out from the residue. It is a lightweight but dense oil, packed with all sorts of fats and minerals. It has a light-brown colour in its pure form, with a faint nutty odour but is completely transparent after it is processed. Unlike other oils, the oil has a relatively high boiling point and is therefore not volatile. It is highly resistant to oxidation and will not turn rancid even in high temperatures, giving it high commercial value.
The macadamia oil is largely made up of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which means it has a low amount of bad cholesterol and can help protect against cardiovascular diseases by raising levels of LDLs, something discussed here. This unique composition makes it suitable as a healthy cooking oil and is especially popular in Australia where it is widely used to deep-fry food.
Macadamia oil also contains an unusually high amount of antioxidants and omega-7 palmitoleic acid, both vital substances to our health. The antioxidants are made up of various tocopherols and tocotrienols and it is these antioxidants that make the macadamia oil so shelf-stable. The brain is particularly prone to oxidative damage and taking in large amounts of antioxidants has been proven to help prevent various neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. On the other hand, omega-7 palmitoleic acid helps with weight loss and is believed to prevent weight-related diseases like obesity.
Many cosmetic companies prefer to use macadamia oil in their products because of its concentrated nature which can deliver and enrich the skin with components important for a healthy skin. Its high resistivity to oxidation also means that it lasts long in cosmetic products without ever going rancid.
Macadamia oil can be either ingested or applied directly in its pure (but diluted) form. When ingested, it has a light buttery taste similar to that of margarine. Macadamia oil makes a great alternative to other heavier oils such as the coconut oil and is perfect if you want a low-fat, healthy cooking oil for a change.