Touted as the highest fat nut on the planet, pili nuts are being promoted by ketogenic and paleo diet followers and vegans who look for natural food sources high in fat and low in carbs. But what about those who like to incorporate nuts as a part of a healthy balanced diet that is not particularly high in fat or low in carbs? Are these nuts still good for you?
Pili nuts, also known as Pacific almonds, are nuts that come from the fruit of the pili tree, native to Northern Australia, the Pacific Island and Southeast Asia. The majority of large scale cultivation is in the Philippines. The nuts are teardrop shaped and protected by a hard shell and an outer coating that sticks to the shell.
Pili nuts are often sold either pre-sprouted or dry roasted and touted as being sustainably sourced. Because the pili trees are very resilient and can withstand harsh conditions and the nuts have an incredibly long shelf life, they can theoretically be an ideal source of nutrition worldwide.
The flavor of pili nuts is delicate in flavor similar to sunflower seeds when eaten raw but after roasting, becomes chewy on the outside with a rich, buttery flavor that is slightly sweet and bitter at the same time.
PILI NUT NUTRITION FACTS
The nutrition profile of pili nuts is similar in many ways to other tree nuts but is higher in fat and calories per serving; vitamin and mineral content is also slightly higher for some key nutrients. Portion control needs to be considered, especially for those mindful about weight management or with weight loss goals.
THE WONDERS OF PILI OIL
With pili as its Tree of Hope, Bicol region also takes pride of its PILI OIL, known for its distinct characteristics and various applications. Indeed, pili oil production is an emerging technology that could uplift not only the Agriculture sector of the region but also a source of livelihood.
Pili pulp oil is clear and may appear greenish yellow. It has 56.7% oleic glycerides, 13.5% linoleicglycerides and 29.3% saturated fatty acids. Based on the analysis done by DOST Region V, the oil has very low free fatty acid (FFA) content of 0.06% and moisture content of only 0.04% which assures longer shelf life.
PROPERTIES AND COMPOSITION
Compared to olive oil, pili pulp oil has more beta carotene, a known source of Vitamin A, caroteneoids, tocopherols, (vitamin E) and phytosterols. These substances are antioxidants that protect cells from oxidation and neutralize unstable free radicals. Pili pulp oil is also a good source of protein, iodine and calcium.
Pili oil can be used in salad dressings, fish canning, baking and in other food preparations. The oil contains natural germicidal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents effective in healing wounds and allergies. It is also suitable for people with delicate skin and helps prevent wrinkles with its anti-aging element. It also prevents acne and pimples. The oil is now used as a main ingredient in bath soaps and massage oil, and as an additive in anti-dandruff shampoo.
Indigenous knowledge gathered attests to its efficacy in treating skin diseases such as scabies and its deworming capability for livestock such as pigs and chicken.
Laboratory animal studies revealed that pili oil is effective in managing cholesterol and weight.