What are Pili Nuts?

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Isabel Aestelle received her B.A in Communication from Far Eastern University Manila in the Philippines. She fell in love with words when she first started writing poetries and short stories at the age of 10. Her passion in health and wellness are pretty much seen in almost everything she does.

Pili nuts in spoon

Bicol is one of the famous tourist destinations in the Philippines. It is the home of the perfect cone-shaped volcano—Mayon, and the “uragons” or feisty people. A tourist destination would not be complete without the food delicacies from that place and Bicol has that.

Bicolanos or the people from Bicol love spicy food; that is why most of their delicacies are spicy. One famous food from Bicol is the Bicol express—it is a spicy meal composed of pork and coconut milk. There is also a chili ice cream from Bicol. Just imagine how spicy that is because it’s made of red chili.

No matter how people from Bicol love spicy food, there are still other foods from Bicol that you might like if you are not fond of spicy foods. Just like the pili nuts.

Pili Nuts

If you are not familiar with pili nuts, let me describe it to you. It is a type of nut that can be found in tropical countries such as South East Asian countries and Papua New Guinea. It has a hard shell and when I say hard, it’s really hard—hard that you might need a hammer to open it.

I remember when my cousin came home from Bicol and brought home a box of pili nuts which are still inside the shell. It was my first time seeing a pili nut in a shell, so was my mother. I actually thought that it’s an almond because they have the same color. When my mom tried opening it, it was really difficult because the shell was hard. We didn’t have a nutcracker so she tried using a knife, but it still won’t open! I tried it because I thought that my mom was just not really doing her best. Then I found out that it’s really difficult. She, later on, used a hammer then was able to successfully open it. The “hard work” that we had to open it was paid off because it tastes good.

Peeled pili nuts are like almonds, in terms of color and shape. However, pili nuts in its shell somehow look like macadamia nuts but elongated. In terms of taste, it tastes like in between pine nuts and Brazil nuts. A 280 grams glazed pili nuts cost around 250 to 300 pesos in the Philippines (around 5-6 USD).

Is Pili Nut Healthy?

Pili nut is a good go-to snack because it is light weight and has a lot of health benefits.

The table shows the vitamins and nutrients that we can get from a100 gram pili nut according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Calcium145 mg
Energy719 kcal
Iron3.52 mg
Magnesium302 mg
Potassium507 mg
Protein10.8 g
Vitamin B60.12 mg
Vitamin C0.6 mg
Water2.77 g

Due to these vitamins and nutrients, pili nuts are considered as a healthy snack. It is also beneficial to a person’s health.


Pili nuts are rich in antioxidants that help to flush out or reduce the toxins in our body. Those are the natural anti-inflammatory substance of a pili nut that treats inflammation.

Pili nuts help in cutting down inflammatory conditions: arthritis and gout.

Balances Cholesterol

Aside from the aforementioned nutrients from pili nuts, it is also rich in fats. I know what you are thinking: “if it is rich in fat, why is it good for the cholesterol?” Remember that not all fats are bad; there are other types of fat needed by our body just like omega-3 fatty acids.

Pili nuts are also rich in the said fat that helps in eliminating omega-6 fatty acids. Too much omega-6 fatty acids lead to higher cholesterol level and heart diseases.

Weight Loss

Do you feel hungry most of the time? Like you just ate your meal and craving for another one? Or do you like to go back and forth to the kitchen just to check if there are any more food to eat? Maybe your body lacks fiber.

Pili nuts are also rich in fiber that helps digestion. Aside from its aid in digestion, it also helps a person to not feel hungry often. That is why people who aim to lose weight tend to add fiber-rich food in their diet.

Pili nuts also help the body to burn fat quickly and efficiently due to its aid in the balance of the cholesterol that helps the body to improve metabolism.

Improves Alertness

Do you have an upcoming exam and need to stay awake to review? Or need to stay awake to finish a report or project? Don’t worry, pili nuts got covered.

Omega-3 fatty acids are not only good for heart health and cholesterol balance. It also helps a person to stay alert and have better cognition.

Next time that you need to stay awake for a projector review for an exam, buy a pack of pili nuts and have it as your snacks.

Boosts Immune System

Do you easily catch a cold or flu? Maybe your immune system is weak and needs a boost.

Vitamin C and other antioxidants are good to boost the immune system of a person. Pili nut has what you need because it has vitamin C and other antioxidants.

If you are a person who catches a cold or flu often, try adding pili nuts in your meal.

Sleep Inducing

Are you someone who toss and turn around the bed for countless times before falling asleep? Maybe you are stressed out and your mind is occupied with thoughts.

Pili nuts are rich in magnesium which is important to develop relaxing hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin. If your body will be able to produce these, it will be easier to get a good night sleep and wake up with a better mood.

If you are someone who has a hard time falling asleep, try eating pili nuts and see the improvement.

Haven’t tried pili nuts yet? Try it and I am sure that you will not regret it.

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