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Locally grown macadamia nuts have more health benefits than those grown overseas

New research shows macadamia nuts grown in the Eastern Bay of Plenty hold their own internationally.

Plant & Food Research looked into the nutritional value of six varieties grown by Torere Macadamias.

A preliminary analysis, funded by the High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, found the nuts have a higher concentration of vitamin C, B6 and selenium than macadamias grown overseas.

And it showed the vitamin B6 found in the macadamias reached the concentration known to be good for a range of health benefits, including combating tiredness and maintaining a healthy metabolism.

Torere Macadamias’ general manager Vanessa Hayes said the findings validate 35 years of work she has done to figure out the best six varieties to grow in New Zealand.

“Torere Macadamias nuts are reputably the biggest and best tasting in the world, and knowing more about them is useful for both consumers looking for healthy choices and for growers looking to potentially incorporate macadamias into their own orchards,” she said.

“This analysis of six of our best performing varieties, based on thirty years of research trials, provides validation for these varieties being the base of New Zealand’s macadamia industry’s future growth, with an aim of 1000 hectares by 2029.”

The analysis also found the macadamias had concentrations of several micro-nutrients that have been shown to have positive health benefits, including manganese, magnesium and dietary fibre.

Torere Macadamias nuts were also found to be low in sodium and cholesterol, and free from trans fatty acids.

Hayes put the nutritional value of the nuts down to a few factors.

“Because we grow organically, I don’t know of any other country that can do it as easily as New Zealand, and our soils and environment and our high UV levels intensify the flavour of our food, not just macadamias, but all food that we grow.”

Torere Macadamias’ orchard spans nine hectares, with a 50,000 plant nursery over another two hectares.

Dr Carolyn Lister from Plant & Food Research said the information was useful for customers.

“Knowing what nutrients are at dietary significant quantities in foods allows consumers to choose a diet personalised to meet the criteria of importance to them,” she said.

“Having high concentrations of nutrients known to be good for health also allows companies to highlight these nutrients in the marketing of their products, giving them way to stand out against competitors.”

Director of the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge Joanne Todd said it was important for the group to fund the research and support the emerging macadamia industry.

“The research has the potential to give New Zealand-grown macadamia a competitive advantage,” she said.

Original article: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/479640/locally-grown-macadamia-nuts-have-more-health-benefits-than-those-grown-overseas