A handful of nuts each day can be beneficial to your health, and macadamia nuts and pistachios are two varieties you should consider. Their nutritional information differs, but each type supplies a good amount of key nutrients that help protect you from illnesses and diseases. They're readily available at supermarkets and health-food stores and can be used in many tasty ways.
Calories and Fat
An ounce of macadamia nuts contains 203 calories, while an ounce of pistachios has 160 calories. A 1-ounce serving of macadamia nuts has 21.57 grams of fat, of which 3.4 grams are saturated. In comparison, an ounce of pistachios contains 12.7 grams of fat, of which 1.5 grams are saturated. Because saturated fats increase your risk of heart disease, the pistachios might be the better bet if you're following a heart-healthy diet.
Fiber and Protein
An ounce of macadamia nuts supplies 2.3 grams of fiber, which is slightly less than the 2.8 grams you get in an ounce of pistachios. Fiber reduces your risk of heart disease by regulating your cholesterol levels. A 1-ounce serving of macadamia nuts contains 2.21 grams of protein, a nutrient that fuels your body and plays a role in the function of each of your cells. The same serving of pistachios has about 6 grams of protein, which is 13 percent of the 46 grams of protein women need each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An ounce of macadamia nuts supplies an impressive 3 milligrams of niacin. That's 21 percent of the 14 milligrams women should have daily. Niacin supports the health of your nerves and skin and promotes healthy digestion, as well. Pistachios contain about 0.4 milligrams of niacin per ounce. Pistachios have far more vitamin E than macadamia nuts, however. An ounce of pistachios delivers 0.69 milligrams of vitamin E, which is about 5 percent of the 15 milligrams you need on a daily basis. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage. An ounce of macadamia nuts contains 0.16 milligrams of vitamin E, which is about 1 percent of your daily needs. Both macadamia nuts and pistachios provide small amounts of folate and vitamin C, as well.
Macadamia nuts and pistachios each contain iron, a mineral that's essential for your red blood cells. An ounce of pistachios supplies 1.14 milligrams of iron compared to the 0.75 milligram in the same amount of macadamia nuts. Pistachios also supply more potassium. One ounce of pistachios delivers 285 milligrams of potassium, or 6 percent of the 4,700 milligrams you need each day. Potassium keeps your heart and muscles working correctly and your blood pressure normal. The same amount of macadamia nuts contains 103 milligrams of potassium. You also get a good amount of zinc for wound healing and phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth from a serving of macadamia nuts or pistachios.
Opt for reduced-sodium or no-salt-added macadamia nuts and pistachios. Nuts roasted with salt can contain between 100 and 120 milligrams of sodium, which is about 4 to 5 percent of your daily 2,300-milligram limit. Too much sodium can put the health of your heart at risk and lead to kidney damage. Aside from eating macadamia nuts and pistachios plain, there are numerous ways to incorporate these healthy nuts into your diet. Sprinkle chopped macadamias or pistachios into a leafy green or pasta salad. Cut an apple or pear into chunks, drizzle it with honey and garnish it with chopped nuts. Roll soft cheese, such as goat or cream cheese, in chopped macadamias and pistachios and serve it with whole-wheat crackers and fresh vegetables for a tasty appetizer.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Nuts, Macadamia Nuts, Dry rRasted, With Salt Added
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Nuts, Pistachio Nuts, Dry Roasted, With Salt Added
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fats: Know Which Types to Choose
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium
- MedlinePlus: Niacin
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E
- MayoClinic.com: Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit Now
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.