10 Amazing Benefits of Pili Nuts

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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.

What are Pili Nuts?

Pili nuts are the fruit of the pili tree and they 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. Pili is a type of evergreen tree bearing the scientific name Canarium ovatum. These tall, symmetrical, resinous-wood trees are native to Southeast Asia, Nothern Australia, and Papua New Guinea. They are most easily found in the Philippines, where they are heavily cultivated for their nuts. 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. [1]

A rustic scoop of roasted pili nuts on a table

Pili nuts are a rich buttery tasting nut grown in the Philippine peninsula. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Nuts, pilinuts, dried
Serving Size :
Water [g]2.77
Energy 719
Energy [kJ]3008
Protein [g]10.8
Total lipid (fat) [g]79.55
Ash [g]2.91
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]3.98
Calcium, Ca [mg]145
Iron, Fe [mg]3.53
Magnesium, Mg [mg]302
Phosphorus, P [mg]575
Potassium, K [mg]507
Sodium, Na [mg]3
Zinc, Zn [mg]2.97
Copper, Cu [mg]0.96
Manganese, Mn [mg]2.31
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]0.6
Thiamin [mg]0.91
Riboflavin [mg]0.09
Niacin [mg]0.52
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.48
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.12
Folate, total [µg]60
Folate, food [µg]60
Folate, DFE [µg]60
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]2
Vitamin A, IU [IU]41
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]31.18
16:0 [g]22.04
18:0 [g]9.15
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]37.23
18:1 [g]37.23
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]7.61
18:2 [g]7.61
Tryptophan [g]0.19
Threonine [g]0.41
Isoleucine [g]0.48
Leucine [g]0.89
Lysine [g]0.37
Methionine [g]0.4
Cystine [g]0.19
Phenylalanine [g]0.5
Tyrosine [g]0.38
Valine [g]0.7
Arginine [g]1.52
Histidine [g]0.26
Alanine [g]0.51
Aspartic acid [g]1.22
Glutamic acid [g]2.39
Glycine [g]0.65
Proline [g]0.47
Serine [g]0.6
Sources include : USDA [2]

Pili Nuts Nutrition

The nutritional profile of pili nuts is impressive, to say the least. Their unique nutritional composition is 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 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. [3]

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 an 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, the best of which are listed below.

Aid in Digestion

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!

Reduce Inflammation

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. [4]

Prevent Chronic Diseases

As mentioned above, antioxidants are excellent for reducing free radical damage and oxidative stress, which often leads to chronic diseases. 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. [5]

Balance Cholesterol

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 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. [6]

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. [7]

Increase Cognition

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 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.

Boost Immunity

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! [8]

Aid in Sleep

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. [9] [10]

Increase Energy

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. [11]

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. [12]

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.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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