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Hazelnut vs Macadamia - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Hazelnut
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Macadamia

Introduction 

In this article, you can find a detailed guide about the differences between macadamia nuts and hazelnuts. Hazelnut and Macadamia nuts are very common and used in daily life. They are used in baking and desserts, and  combination with chocolate, but here their similarities end. 

Varieties

Hazelnuts known as filberts or cobnuts, are the fruit of the hazel and therefore include any nuts of genus Corylus, especially the nuts of the species Corylus avellana. Hazelnuts are nutty, with slight notes of musty and earthy. Macadamia nuts belong to the Macadamia genus. Macadamia nuts are native to Australia. It was first commercially produced on a wide scale in Hawaii. Macadamia nuts taste like solid and creamy butter.

Uses

Hazelnuts are used in baking and desserts and used in combination with chocolate for chocolate truffles. The most popular products are chocolate bars, hazelnut cocoa spread such as Nutella, and Frangelico liqueur. The flavored hazelnut oil is used as a cooking oil. Macadamia nuts are also used in baking or breading for fish or chicken. The wood is used decoratively for small items [1] [2]. 

Nutrition

Although these nuts have a similar appearance, nutritionally they are different. We created the nutrition infographic to better understand the difference and explore the nutritional aspects of these nuts. Have a look below. 

Calories

Macadamia nuts contain more calories, than hazelnuts. Each macadamia nut has about 718 calories per 100 g, while each hazelnut contains 628 calories per 100 g [3]. 

Vitamins 

Hazelnuts significantly have a higher amount of vitamins, than macadamia nuts. Hazelnuts are richer in Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, and the amount of Vitamin E is 27 times higher than in macadamia nuts. Hazelnuts are also rich in Folate. Conversely, some vitamins in macadamia have a higher level than in hazelnuts: Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, and Vitamin B3. Macadamia nuts lack Vitamin K and Vitamin A. Both of them contain no Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D [4].

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral, which may help to reduce the risk of kidney stones, also it helps muscles to contact and nerve cells to respond. Hazelnut contains 2 times more potassium than macadamia nuts. It contains 680 mg potassium per 100 g, while macadamia nuts contain 368 mg per 100g [5].

Minerals

Overall, hazelnuts are richer in minerals, than macadamia nuts. The levels of copper, potassium, and phosphorus are almost 3 times higher in hazelnuts than in macadamia nuts. This nut also contains more iron, calcium, and magnesium. On the other hand, macadamia nuts contain more sodium, than hazelnuts. This means macadamia nuts are not a great choice for those who have high blood pressure [6] [7]. 

Glycemic Index

The relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods that affect blood sugar levels is called the Glycemic Index. The estimated glycemic index of hazelnuts is 15. Macadamia nuts have a very low glycemic index10. According to studies, both nuts fall under the category of having a low GI value [6] [7].

HEALTH BENEFITS

Weight Loss 

Hazelnuts contain a low level of calories and fats, they are better in case of low calories and low fats diets [8].

Despite that macadamia nuts contain more calories, more fat, than hazelnuts, they also can help you in case of diets. Raw macadamia nuts are the healthiest ones. Macadamia nuts contain monounsaturated fat, which is important for weight loss. Nevertheless, in the case of low carbs diets, such as the Keto diet, macadamia nuts are better choices [9]. 

Cardiovascular Health

According to researchers, eating nuts may be good for your heart [10]. Hazelnuts are rich in potassium, which is required to keep your heart beating by keeping electricity flowing throughout your body. Besides, hazelnuts are also high in antioxidants, which may lower cholesterol levels in the blood [11]. Macadamia nuts contain monounsaturated fat, which is good for your heart. According to a study in 2007, males who ate macadamia nuts for 4 weeks had lower risk factors for coronary artery disease [12].

Cancer

Hazelnuts are rich in tocopherols, especially Vitamin E, which are excellent dietary sources of natural antioxidants. In this case, antioxidants can help with fighting cancer. Similarly, hazelnuts contain Vitamin B6, which also can help to fight several types of cancer [13]. According to studies, some neolignans (cedrusin and balanophonin, and gallic acid) can inhibit the growth of human cancer cells [14]. Macadamia nuts also contain plant compounds called flavonoids, which by destroying damaging free radicals in the body can fight cancer [15].

Pregnancy

The essential fatty acid may help the body fight cellular inflammation. Macadamia nuts are a great source of omega-3s, which is important during pregnancy. Overall, macadamia nuts have a high amount of monounsaturated fats, are low in carbs and sugar, and have a moderate fiber content. If you are not allergic to macadamia nuts, then you can enjoy their many nutritional benefits such as vitamins, minerals, and a low glycemic index. Macadamia oil is also a great oil for a baby massage [16].

Improving Hair Health 

Zinc is an important nutrient for human health. Zinc helps promote the formation of collagen to make hair healthy growth. Hazelnuts are a good source of this mineral. Hazelnut oil is a great product for maintaining good hair growth and perfect for scalp massages to stimulate the hair follicles and nourish them [17]. 

Calcium is also an element playing a significant role in keeping hair in proper state and women in particular in the perimenopause period are exposed to its deficiency [18]. 

Improving Skin Health

Overall, hazelnuts are a rich and inexpensive source of natural and effective phenolic antioxidants, which can decrease oxidative stress and keep skin healthy [19].

Besides, hazelnuts are a great source of Vitamin E, which can help to keep your skin looking young and vibrant.

Diabetes

Research shows that oleic acid in hazelnuts has beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity. Results show that the incorporation of hazelnuts into the diet can prevent the reduction of HDL-C concentrations in patients with type 2 diabetes [20]. 

On the other hand, macadamia nuts are a good source of dietary fiber and plant protein and contain antioxidants and flavonoids. These nutritional components have beneficial effects on diabetes. Another study shows that macadamia nuts can help improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes [21].

Brain Protection

According to the study, the tocotrienol-rich supplement may help to protect brain cells from conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Research shows that macadamia nuts may Increase the production of neurotransmitters, and the monounsaturated fats in these nuts can protect the brain from oxidative stress [22] [23]. 

DOWNSIDES AND RISKS 

Although nuts have hugely beneficial effects on human health and can be a part of a healthful diet, however, they have some possible drawbacks.

Depending on the context, try to avoid macadamia nuts if you are on a low-fat diet. [24]. 

Allergy

Allergy to hazelnuts is often found in patients with tree pollen allergy. The symptoms usually include itching, swelling, burning in the mouth and throat after the ingestion of hazelnuts or hazelnut-containing products.

Allergy to macadamias is rare, estimated to cause less than 5% of all tree nut allergies. In severe cases, the allergic reaction can cause anaphylaxis [25].

Summary

Hazelnuts contain more vitamins, minerals, protein, fewer sugars, and sodium than macadamias. On the other hand, macadamias are lower in price, have a lower glycemic index, and low level of carbs. Hazelnuts contain 27 times more Vitamin E and 2 times more potassium than macadamias. 

Reference 

  1. http://www.fao.org/3/x4484e/x4484e03.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4125148/
  3. https://sci-hub.se/10.1017/S095442241100014X
  4. http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/SERVER/APJCN/17/s1/329.pdf
  5. https://sci-hub.se/10.1017/BJN20061862
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969702006113
  7. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Laura-Mereles/publication/322447059_Chemical_composition_of_Macadamia_integrifolia_Maiden_and_Betche_nuts_from_Paraguay/links/5fc54fa7299bf1a422c71e7c/Chemical-composition-of-Macadamia-integrifolia-Maiden-and-Betche-nuts-from-Paraguay.pdf
  8.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15466943/- 
  9.  https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/138/4/761/4665045?login=true
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24398275/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27897978
  12. https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1007/s11745-007-3042-8
  13. https://sci-hub.se/10.17660/ActaHortic.1997.445.39
  14. https://sci-hub.se/10.3390/ijms18020392
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127821/
  16. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/415741
  17. http://bergenhelse.no/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/A-potential-medicinal-importance-of-zinc-in-human-health-and-chronic-disease.pdf
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/
  19. https://sci-hub.se/10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.02.060 
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793377/
  21. https://sci-hub.se/10.1007/s11892-005-0097-x 
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1790869/
  23.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4333972 
  24. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1051227619303565
  25. https://sci-hub.se/10.1017/BJN20061869
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Profession: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: March 13, 2021

Infographic

Hazelnut vs Macadamia infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Iron +27.4%
Contains more Calcium +34.1%
Contains more Potassium +84.8%
Contains more Magnesium +25.4%
Contains more Copper +128.2%
Contains more Zinc +88.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +54.3%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 177% 35% 60% 117% 575% 67% 125% 0%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 139% 26% 33% 93% 252% 36% 81% 1%
Contains more Iron +27.4%
Contains more Calcium +34.1%
Contains more Potassium +84.8%
Contains more Magnesium +25.4%
Contains more Copper +128.2%
Contains more Zinc +88.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +54.3%
Contains less Sodium -100%

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin C +425%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +2683.3%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +21.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +104.7%
Contains more Folate +927.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +85.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +43.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +37.4%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 21% 2% 301% 0% 161% 27% 34% 56% 130% 0% 36% 85%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 4% 0% 11% 0% 299% 38% 47% 46% 64% 0% 0% 9%
Contains more Vitamin C +425%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +2683.3%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +21.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +104.7%
Contains more Folate +927.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +85.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +43.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +37.4%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
71
Hazelnut
43
Macadamia
Mineral Summary Score
144
Hazelnut
82
Macadamia

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
90%
Hazelnut
47%
Macadamia
Carbohydrates
17%
Hazelnut
14%
Macadamia
Fats
280%
Hazelnut
350%
Macadamia

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Hazelnut Macadamia
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Hazelnut Macadamia
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Macadamia
Macadamia is lower in glycemic index (difference - 5)
Which food is cheaper?
Macadamia
Macadamia is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.23g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut contains less Sodium (difference - 5mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 7.597g)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Hazelnut Macadamia Opinion
Calories 628 718 Macadamia
Protein 14.95 7.91 Hazelnut
Fats 60.75 75.77 Macadamia
Vitamin C 6.3 1.2 Hazelnut
Carbs 16.7 13.82 Hazelnut
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 4.7 3.69 Hazelnut
Calcium 114 85 Hazelnut
Potassium 680 368 Hazelnut
Magnesium 163 130 Hazelnut
Sugar 4.34 4.57 Hazelnut
Fiber 9.7 8.6 Hazelnut
Copper 1.725 0.756 Hazelnut
Zinc 2.45 1.3 Hazelnut
Starch 0.48 1.05 Macadamia
Phosphorus 290 188 Hazelnut
Sodium 0 5 Hazelnut
Vitamin A 20 0 Hazelnut
Vitamin E 15.03 0.54 Hazelnut
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.643 1.195 Macadamia
Vitamin B2 0.113 0.162 Macadamia
Vitamin B3 1.8 2.473 Macadamia
Vitamin B5 0.918 0.758 Hazelnut
Vitamin B6 0.563 0.275 Hazelnut
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 14.2 Hazelnut
Folate 113 11 Hazelnut
Trans Fat
Saturated Fat 4.464 12.061 Hazelnut
Monounsaturated Fat 45.652 58.877 Macadamia
Polyunsaturated fat 7.92 1.502 Hazelnut
Tryptophan 0.193 0.067 Hazelnut
Threonine 0.497 0.37 Hazelnut
Isoleucine 0.545 0.314 Hazelnut
Leucine 1.063 0.602 Hazelnut
Lysine 0.42 0.018 Hazelnut
Methionine 0.221 0.023 Hazelnut
Phenylalanine 0.663 0.665 Macadamia
Valine 0.701 0.363 Hazelnut
Histidine 0.432 0.195 Hazelnut
Fructose 0.07 0.07

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Hazelnut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170581/nutrients
  2. Macadamia - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170178/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.