You may have never heard of pili nuts, but you should definitely learn about their incredible nutritional value and health benefits, including their ability to balance cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss, reduce inflammation, prevent chronic disease, stimulate cognition, and detoxify the body, among others.
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What are Pili Nuts?
In many parts of Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, you can find a type of evergreen tree commonly called pili, bearing the scientific name of Canarium ovatum. These tall, symmetrical, resinous-wood trees are native to those Eastern tropics and Pacific Island regions, but are perhaps most easily found in the Philippines, where they are heavily cultivated for their nuts. Pili nuts are the fruit of the tree, and range in size from 1-3 inches long and 0.5-1.5 inches across, typically in a teardrop shape. These nuts are protected by a hard shell and a fibrous seed coat that tends to stick to the outside of the shell. These nuts are hardy and can remain edible for long periods of time, which makes them an important source of nutrients in this area of the world. Their unique nutritional composition is also a prime reason why people tend to add pili nuts to their diet. Most of the nuts are composed of fat, but there are also proteins and carbohydrates.
The nutritional profile is impressive, to say the least. The fact that it contains all amino acids and functions as a complete protein is enough of a reason to eat pili nuts, but combine that with the highest magnesium content of any nut, and you have something rare. A single serving can also satisfy the daily requirements for copper and manganese, and will add a healthy dose of beneficial fats to your diet. At more than 650 calories, a single cup of pili nuts can act as a meal replacement, or a very healthy snack, but be careful not to overdo it, as any excess of fat and calories can act negatively on the body.
Health Benefits of Pili Nuts
In moderation, eating pili nuts can deliver a wealth of health benefits to the body, some of which are listed below.
As with many nuts and seeds, pili nuts are excellent for optimizing your digestion and improving gastrointestinal health. The natural fiber found in pili nuts can help stimulate peristaltic motion and prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. This can also help you improve the efficiency of your nutrient uptake, which means maximizing the value of the food you consume!
Pili nuts are natural anti-inflammatory substances because they contain such rich amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants primarily eliminate free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and increase inflammation throughout the body. By adding pili nuts to your diet, you can cut down on inflammatory conditions like arthritis and gout, among many others.
Prevent Chronic Diseases
As mentioned above, antioxidants are excellent for reducing free radical damage and oxidative stress, which often leads to chronic diseases, even cancer. The diverse mix of antioxidants found in pili nuts can keep your body’s systems operating efficiently and neutralize those dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism before they can cause healthy cells to mutate or malfunction.
The impressive amount of fats found in pili nuts may make some people think that they would be bad for your cholesterol levels, but it is important to remember that not all fats are bad. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in good supply within pili nuts, can help to balance your cholesterol levels and eliminate excess omega-6 fatty acids. This can lower your risk for heart conditions, such as atherosclerosis, and prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Promote Weight Loss
In moderation, pili nuts can help you lose weight due to the healthy cholesterol balance and the fiber found in these nuts. Nuts of all kinds are excellent ways to suppress hunger, as fiber makes the body feel that it is full, thus reducing your chances of going to the pantry for yet another midnight snack. The cholesterol-balancing effects can also improve metabolic efficiency, which means your body will begin to burn fat more quickly and efficiently.
Having all eight amino acids contained in pili nuts makes them particularly beneficial for those suffering from diabetes, or those at high risk for developing the condition. These nuts can help balance blood glucose levels, and ensure that the body is releasing insulin at appropriate times and in appropriate amounts. This will prevent the dangerous peaks and plunges of diabetic patients.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to reducing inflammation in neural pathways that can improve concentration and focus. Furthermore, the antioxidants found in pili nuts can eliminate the oxidative stress that can speed up neural degeneration and even lead to conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Adding these nuts can keep your brain firing on all cylinders well into your older years.
Improve Bone Health
The diverse mix of minerals found in pili nuts means that they can be a major help for our bones. Bone mineral density naturally begins to decline as we age, so it is important to increase our mineral intake, or at least ensure that it is in line with daily requirements. Pili nuts provide calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous, many of which are essential to keeping our bones strong, particularly as we age.
The antioxidants mentioned above give our immune system a break by reducing the strain to constantly fight off body-weakening disease and stress. However, these tropical nuts help our immune system in another way as well. The high levels of vitamin E are also directly connected with giving the immune system a boost, and making sure that you stay healthy!
Magnesium is an important component of serotonin and other relaxing hormones that can prevent symptoms of insomnia and sleeplessness. If you find that you rarely get a full, restful night of sleep, then the high levels of magnesium found in pili nuts may be precisely what your body needs to find relief.
It isn’t every day that you come across a food that provides all eight amino acids, but pili nuts are one of them. This ensures that the body can energize itself, produce new tissues, and run all of its organ systems at optimal levels. The mixture of minerals, proteins and carbohydrates also drives energy levels up. Even a handful of these nuts can give you an energetic surge.
Promote Development and Growth
Proteins are the building blocks of life for human beings, and pili nuts contain a sufficient amount to earn it some praise. We need proteins for everything from organ development and muscle growth to healing and metabolic activity. Adding a protein-rich nut to your diet is therefore never a bad idea.
Word of Caution
As with any food, pili nuts should be consumed in moderation. The high fat and calorie content can catch up with you if you eat too many of these nuts, despite all of the health benefits outlined above.