Pili nuts (pronounced, “peeley”) are a high-fat, extremely healthy nut that should have ultimate superfood status.
While still somewhat obscure, pili nuts are becoming more popular with an increase in high-fat, low-carb diets. An ounce is packed with over 22g of quality fats, and contains only 1.1g of carbohydrates.
In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about pili nuts, including what they are, their benefits, and nutrition information.
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What Are Pili Nuts?
Pili nuts are tear-shaped nuts that come from a tropical tree called Canarium ovatum. The tree is grown in the Philippines. The leading producers of this nut-bearing tree are the provinces of Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon.
The pulp of the fruit contains oil that can be used for manufacturing cosmetics and soaps. In some places, the oil is also be used for lighting, cooking, or healing wounds (as a result of its antiseptic properties).
Notoriously labor-intensive to harvest and prepare for market, every nut is individually knocked off a tree and then collected on the ground by hand.
The pili tree doesn’t produce nuts until about five or six years after it’s planted. The size of the harvest is directly proportional to the size of the tree, meaning that it might be 10+ years before a tree really starts producing.
But it’s worth the wait because these nuts are so healthy for you.
Pili nuts are packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients (probably as a result of growing in incredibly rich lava-based soil in the Philippines).
Nutrition Information For Pili Nuts
One ounce (28g) of pili nuts contains[*]:
Total carbohydrate: 1.1g
Total fat: 22.3g (34%)
Saturated fat: 8.7g (44%)
Monounsaturated fat: 10.4g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.1g
Protein: 3g (6%)
Magnesium: 84.5mg (21%)
Potassium: 142mg (4%)
Calcium: 40.6mg (4%)
Phosphorus: 161mg (16%)
Note: Percent daily values (shown in brackets above) are based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day.
6 Benefits of Pili Nuts
These little guys have an impressive nutrition profile which lends to their amazing health benefits conferred over time when eaten. Here are the six most powerful benefits of pili nuts according to science and research. Drum roll, please...
1. Low Carb Benefits
2. Combats Free Radicals
Pili nuts are an excellent source of antioxidants[*]. That means they help fight baddies called free radicals that can harm your body. Free radicals can cause inflammation and oxidative stress throughout your body[*][*].
3. May Reduce Bad Cholesterol Levels
Pili nuts contain significant amounts of oleic acid (monounsaturated fats) that can help decrease bad cholesterol levels. This can reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease[*][*]. Do you have a predisposition to high cholesterol? Are your numbers creeping up? You might want to see if eating pili nuts can help.
4. Supports Bone Health
Pili nuts contain minerals that support healthy bones. They pack a nutritional punch with phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, and calcium[*]. All important nutrients to help keep bones healthy and strong (especially if you’re getting older). As you age, bone mineral density seems to decline. This, in turn, can increase your risk of broken or fractured bones[*]. Eating pili nuts could be a preventative measure to get those minerals in and slow the rate of bone density loss.
5. Good Source of Vitamin E
Pili nuts are a good source of Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that boosts your immune system and helps your body fight off infection[*]. Since it is an antioxidant, vitamin E also helps protect your cells from damaging free radicals. Researchers also believe that it might help in decreasing the risk of a host of health problems, including cancer and heart disease[*].
6. Excellent Source of Magnesium
Pili nuts are a rich source of magnesium, with 85 milligrams in one-ounce serving[*]. Magnesium is essential for proper nerve and muscle function[*]. But shockingly, a survey conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2016 found that 56% of people in the United States are deficient in magnesium[*].
So chances are you’re also magnesium deficient. And this can lead to all kinds of issues. Some symptoms of being magnesium deficient are hypertension, insomnia, muscle cramps, and spasms.
Not only could you be missing sleep, but many studies have found that magnesium deficiency seems to hasten the process of aging since a lack of magnesium seems to speed cellular senescence and hinder cellular renegeneration[*]. A double-edged sword best avoided!
How to Use Pili Nuts
Pili nuts are a good way to increase your protein intake and make sure you’re getting sufficient micronutrients from whole foods. You can eat these nuts raw or roasted, plain or included with veggies or meats[*].
Eating Pili Nuts for Life
Pili nuts are a delicious and nutritious powerhouse. They're an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium, and other vital nutrients. Pili nuts supply antioxidants to help prevent free-radical damage to cells and reduce oxidative stress.
So, eat pili nuts to help:
- Stay low carb
- Reduce cell damage by free radicals
- Reduce bad cholesterol levels
- Improve your bone health
- Get more Vitamin E
- Get more magnesium