Coconut Milk Benefits
With a number of milk substitutes coming up for vegans and lactose intolerant people, a name that keeps cropping up is coconut milk. So, what is coconut milk and what are coconut milk benefits?
Find out in the following sections all about coconut milk preparation and what is coconut milk good for? You will be surprised to find out the amazing health benefits of coconut milk.
What is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is the milky residue that you get upon straining shredded coconut meat. It is not a natural by-product of coconut and has to be prepared manually.
Coconut milk is different from coconut water. Coconut milk is obtained from the coconut meat of an old and mature coconut. Coconut water, on the other hand, is naturally found in old as well as young coconuts.
Coconut milk comes in two varieties; thick coconut milk and thin coconut milk. Here is the preparation method of both the types of coconut milk.
How is Coconut Milk Prepared?
Thick coconut milk is prepared as follows:
- Shred the coconut meat of a mature coconut.
- Blend it with warm water in a mixer.
- Strain the pulp through a thin cloth.
Thin coconut milk is prepared from the remaining pulp that you get after making thick coconut milk. The pulp is again mixed with water and strained. The liquid you get has thinner consistency.
The uses of coconut milk also depend upon the type of coconut milk you use. Thick coconut milk is generally used for preparing sweets and desserts. Thin coconut milk is used for preparing smoothies and soups.
As you can see the preparation method of coconut milk is quite easy and you can prepare it at home too. You can also get coconut milk from shops. Just make sure to read the label of canned coconut milk carefully before buying it.
Canned coconut milk might contain sugar and preservatives. Depending upon the type of coconut milk, canned or home-made, the nutritional content will also change.
Sweetened canned coconut milk will have more calories than the coconut milk you prepare at home.
Nutritional Benefits of Coconut Milk
Here is a nutrition chart of coconut milk.
As you can see coconut milk contains many fats and minerals. The fats that coconut milk contains are saturated fats which are not considered good for the heart and cholesterol. But, it also contains some important minerals. It is a store house of potassium.
So, is coconut milk good or bad for you?
Following sections will help you decide whether to consume coconut milk or not and in how much amount.
Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Coconut Milk is Actually Heart Healthy
The saturated fats in coconut milk are primarily lauric acid. This fat helps to increase cholesterol but the good cholesterol only.
A study was conducted to find the effects of consuming coconut milk on healthy people. It was found that substituting coconut milk with soy milk in porridge actually helped to increase the good cholesterol levels and decreased the bad cholesterol levels in these people.
Benefits of Coconut Milk for Weight Loss
Is coconut milk fattening as it contains fats? Despite the fact that coconut milk contains fats and carbohydrates, it can actually help you to reduce weight. The reason behind this is again the saturated fats. These fats are not the long chain fatty acids that doctors tell to avoid.
Coconut milk contains medium chain fatty acids that help to boost the metabolism rate. These fatty acids also help you to feel full for a long time thereby reducing appetite. All this in turn helps to reduce weight.
Since coconut milk contains fats, consuming it in large quantities can actually be harmful and make you gain weight. Too much of coconut milk can also cause stomach cramps and digestive problem. Hence, always consume coconut milk in moderation.
Coconut Milk is Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal and Anti-Bacterial
Coconut milk helps reduce pain and inflammation. Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties help to fight skin and scalp infections. It is believed to provide relief in case of sun burns too.
Studies have shown that coconut milk also provides relief from ulcers.
Benefits of Coconut Milk on Hair
Coconut milk is a perfect natural conditioner for your hair. Applying coconut milk on your hair regularly will make it soft, shiny and bouncy.
Just apply coconut milk on your hair and scalp and then rinse it with your regular shampoo after 20-25 minutes. Regular use of coconut milk will make your hair thicker and stronger.
Benefits of Coconut Milk on Skin
As said previously, the healing properties of coconut milk help to treat sun burns. Coconut milk also acts as a moisturizer and is good for dry skin. It can also be used as makeup remover.
The many vitamins and minerals found in coconut milk help to nourish the skin and prevent premature aging. The milk also cleans the skin and is a good cure for acne’s.
Coconut Milk Helps Prevent Diseases
Studies have shown that consuming coconut milk can help prevent certain diseases like cancer, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s.
Most of the studies have been conducted on animals. There is still not enough proof that consuming coconut milk actually helps humans fight these diseases.
Coconut Milk Increases Immunity
Coconut milk contains vitamin C and many anti-oxidants that help to boost the immunity. It helps to fight various common infections and keeps you healthy and safe.
Coconut milk is good for many things; it is good for heart, skin, hair and overall health. So how do you make coconut milk a part of your diet? How to use coconut milk in everyday recipes?
Healthy Coconut Milk Recipes
Here are some tips of using coconut in your everyday food:
- Substitute coconut milk for regular milk in tea, coffee and cereals.
- Mix coconut milk in smoothies, juices and soups.
- Make porridge using coconut milk.
- Mix coconut milk in pasta. It will make the pasta creamier and richer.
- Use coconut milk to make custards, puddings and other desserts.
- You can even drink coconut milk as it is. As you have seen there are many benefits of drinking coconut milk.
Wrap Up – Coconut Milk Benefits
Listed above were some of the amazing coconut milk benefits. You can easily include it in your diet by substituting it with cow’s milk. It is also an excellent milk substitute for vegans and lactose intolerant people.
Just remember to use it in small quantities. Consuming coconut milk in large quantities can have some side effects like constipation, weight gain, stomach cramps or even diarrhea.
The best coconut milk is the one prepared at home. If you buy it from a shop remember to check the label for added sugars and preservatives.