Coconut Milk- Everything You Need To Know

Coconut milk has recently become very popular. It’s a tasty alternative to cow’s milk that may also provide a number of health benefits. Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts, which are the fruit of the coconut tree. The milk has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture.Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines commonly include this milk. It’s also popular in Hawaii, India and certain South American and Caribbean countries. Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut which is found naturally in immature green coconuts. Unlike coconut water, the milk does not occur naturally in liquid form. The solid flesh is mixed with water to make coconut milk, which is about 50% water. By contrast, coconut water is about 94% water. It contains much less fat and fewer nutrients than coconut milk.

The Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) belongs to the Palm family (Arecaceae). Grown in abundance in Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia, Spanish explorers named the cocos – meaning ‘grinning face’, because of the three little eyes on the base which they thought resembled a monkey

How Is Coconut Milk Made?

Coconut milk is classified as either thick or thin, based on consistency and how much it’s processed.

  • Thick: Solid coconut flesh is finely grated and either boiled or simmered in water. The mixture is then strained through cheesecloth to produce thick coconut milk.
  • Thin: After making thick coconut milk, the grated coconut remaining in the cheesecloth is simmered in water. The straining process is then repeated to produce thin milk.

In traditional cuisines, thick coconut milk is used in desserts and thick sauces. Thin milk is used in soups and thin sauces. Most canned coconut milk contains a combination of thin and thick milk. It’s also very easy to make your own coconut milk at home, adjusting the thickness to your liking.

NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk is a high-calorie food.

About 93% of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

The milk is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. One cup (240 grams) contains:

  • Calories: 552.
  • Fat: 57 grams.
  • Protein: 5 grams.
  • Carbs: 13 grams.
  • Fiber: 5 grams.
  • Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI.
  • Folate: 10% of the RDI.
  • Copper: 32% of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 110% of the RDI.
  • Selenium: 21% of the RDI.
  • Iron: 22% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 22% of the RDI.
  • Potassium: 18% of the RDI.

BENEFITS OF COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk helps in maintaining a healthy heart, aids digestion, and strengthens the immune and nervous systems. Keep reading for more details about its benefits.

1. Keeps The Heart Healthy

Benefits Of Coconut Milk

Did you ever imagine that consuming something rich in fat can help promote a healthy heart?

Well, expect the unexpected from coconut milk. This mighty fruit contains a rich amount of lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has been proved to have a positive effect on serum lipid and cholesterol levels in men and women.

A study was conducted on 60 healthy people for 8 weeks. For 5 days a week, they were fed coconut milk porridge, and their cholesterol levels were tested. The researchers found that the “bad cholesterol” (LDL) levels of the participants considerably decreased and “good cholesterol” (HDL) levels increased. The study concluded that coconut milk is not fatal for our lipid profiles. In fact, it is very healthy for our heart.

2. Aids Weight Loss

Coconuts contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are known to burn fat and induce satiety, which eventually prevents overeating. This quality of coconuts helps in long-term weight loss.

A study was done in 2003 to prove the same point – 24 overweight individuals were given diets rich in MCT and long-chain fatty acids (LCT) for 4 weeks. Their body composition was tested at the end of the time frame. It was noticed that consuming MCTs resulted in decreased levels of adipose tissue as compared to LCTs.

The study further stated that MCTs could be considered as agents that help in the prevention of obesity. 

3. Boosts The Immune System

Coconut milk contains a good amount of vitamin C, a nutrient that helps to boost our immunity.

Hence, regular consumption of coconut milk can help ward off infections and fight cold and cough.

4. Improves Digestion and Relieves Constipation

Feeling constipated? Having trouble with digestion? Coconut milk can help.

This milk contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, which provide the necessary electrolytes and good fats that help move the food along the intestinal tract and leave the body at regular intervals.

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5. Strengthens The Bones

Benefits Of Coconut Milk

Coconut milk provides a good amount of calcium and phosphorus – nutrients that help to maintain healthy and strong bones.

There are no research articles to prove this claim, but many people all over the world testify that drinking coconut milk on a regular basis gives them stronger bones and lowers their risk of arthritis, osteoporosis, joint inflammation, and fractures.

6. Controls Diabetes

The virgin coconut oil that is prepared from coconut milk affects the blood glucose levels positively. It contains antioxidant properties that improve the insulin secretion in the body.

Another paper researched in Thailand talked about the benefits of coconut oil for diabetes. It suggested that virgin coconut oil increases the efficiency of cellular response to insulin, reduces blood sugar levels, stimulates metabolism, and decreases the glycemic index of food, thereby controlling diabetes.

7. Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease

We already know that coconut milk contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

These MCTs are easily absorbed by the liver and get converted to ketones.

Ketones are identified as an alternative source of energy for the brain and are known to be highly beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease or are still in its initial phases.

8. Helps Prevent Anemia

Anemia, one of the most common diseases caused due to nutrient deficiencies, is a lack of iron in the body.

This can be overcome by drinking a glass of coconut milk regularly. It is said to provide our bodies with almost one-fourth of our daily recommended dose of iron per day. It is also useful for preventing fatigue related to anemia.

9. Has Antibacterial, Antiviral, And Anti-fungal Properties

Several studies have been conducted on coconut and its various forms to test their abilities on inflammation and microbes.

Virgin coconut oil, the pure form of oil extracted from coconut milk, is rich in MCTs and lauric acid. Due to this, virgin coconut oil has excellent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.

Another study performed in Chiang Mai, Thailand, investigated the pharmacological effects of virgin coconut oil. The results suggested that the oil possessed anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic properties.

10. Ensures Proper Blood Circulation

Coconut milk is known to provide elasticity and flexibility to your skin and blood vessels. It contains a good amount of copper and vitamin C, both of which are claimed to provide rigidity and elasticity to the collagen fibers.

This property of coconut milk ensures a proper flow of blood in the blood vessels and minimize fluctuations in blood pressure.

11. Calms The Nerve Cells

Keep calm and drink coconut milk. Yes,

you read that right. A glass of coconut milk contains about 89 mg of magnesium, a nutrient that is known to calm the nerves and ease muscle cramps and tension, leaving you feeling relaxed.

12. Prevents Ulcers

Benefits Of Coconut Milk - Prevents Ulcers

If you are suffering from stomach ulcers, drinking coconut milk can help in significantly reducing and preventing ulcers altogether.

Coconut milk contains anti-ulcer and antibacterial properties that fight the bacteria causing the ulcers.

Drinking a glass of coconut milk at least once a week can give positive results in no time.

A study was carried out in Chennai, India, to test the efficacy of a poly-herbal cream, containing coconut milk as one of its main ingredients, on diabetic patients with foot ulcers.

The study suggested that due to the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of coconut milk and some other ingredients, this cream was highly effective in healing the ulcers.

13. Promotes The Health Of Prostate Glands

Coconut milk is a great source of a lot of vitamins and minerals. Among those nutrients is zinc, an element that helps to maintain the health of the prostate gland and reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The prostate gland already contains a high amount of zinc in its soft tissues, but drinking coconut milk regularly makes sure that the zinc levels in the body are replenished.

These were the health benefits of coconut milk, and now…

Sure You Want To Know The Benefits Of Coconut Milk For Skin?

Coconut milk is extremely healthy for the skin as well. It imparts a nourishing glow to the skin on regular use and also treats several skin conditions.

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1. Moisturizes The Skin

People have been indulging in milk baths for centuries. Whether it is for infants or brides, it is a commonly known fact that milk moisturizes our skin and makes it soft and supple.

Maybe it is time to switch to coconut milk now. Applying coconut milk to your skin does more than just moisturizing it. Coconut milk combats dryness, itchiness, swelling, and redness, soothes the skin, and promotes a healthy, glowing skin.

Add 1 cup of coconut milk, ½ cup of rose water, and 1 cup of rose petals to warm water and bathe with it. Do this often, and you will be amazed by the results.

2. Treats Sunburns

Benefits Of Coconut Milk

Applying coconut milk on sunburns can effectively heal the skin in no time due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

The fats in this milk reduce pain, redness, and swelling on the skin. You can apply a thin layer of coconut milk on the affected area at night before you go to bed and rinse it in the morning for best results.

3. Prevents Premature Aging

Want to feel and look young? Use coconut milk!

This milk is packed with vitamin C and copper, which help to maintain the elasticity and flexibility of the skin while improving its appearance and health.

Make a paste of a few drops of coconut milk mixed with 6-7 peeled almonds and apply this as a face mask for about 15 minutes. Wash it off with cold water. Doing this 2-3 times a week will improve your skin health and reduce the signs of aging significantly.

4. Treats Skin Ailments

Using coconut milk on the skin can help reduce and prevent acne.

The antimicrobial properties of the milk prevent breakouts, and its fats prevent the skin pores from clogging.

5. Is A Good Makeup Remover

Why use expensive makeup removers on your skin when you can use something so healthy and natural?

Mix 2 measures of olive oil and 1 measure of coconut milk and gently rub on your skin with a cotton ball. This will not only remove your makeup but also deeply nourish your skin.

6. Exfoliates Your Skin

Coconut milk is one of the best and most natural ways to exfoliate your skin.

can make a paste of oatmeal powder with coconut milk and use it on your face as a scrub one to two times a week to achieve the best results.

Now that we learnt about the benefits of coconut milk for the skin, here is the next obvious question…

Are There Any Benefits Of Coconut Milk For The Hair?

Of course, there are! Coconut milk can be used regularly on the hair to give shiny and smooth tresses. It also provides the following benefits:

7. Promotes Hair Growth

Benefits Of Coconut Milk

Coconut milk contains a wide range of essential nutrients that nourish the hair follicles and boost hair growth.

All you need to do is massage coconut milk into your hair and leave it on for about 20 to 30 minutes before shampooing as usual.

8. Restores Dry, Damaged Hair

Just like how coconut milk provides moisture and nourishment to the skin, it works similarly on the hair too.

Coconut milk, when used regularly on dry and damaged hair, helps to restore its shine. It also helps to soothe and treat itchiness and dandruff on the scalp.

Place unsweetened coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight to harden it a little. In the morning, apply the milk from roots of the hair to the tips, section by section. Leave it on for about 20 to 30 minutes and shampoo as you normally would.

Try this treatment once or twice a week, and you will start noticing a change in a month’s time.

9. Is A Hair Detangler And Natural Conditioner

Coconut milk acts as a brilliant hair conditioner to provide softer, thicker, and longer hair. Not only that, it also helps to detangle your hair.

Just apply a little milk to your hair and comb out the tangles in a jiffy. You can also use it as a leave-in conditioner to add volume to your hair.

Now that you have read about all the amazing benefits of coconut, you must be curious to know how you can make this milk at home.

Does Coconut Milk Have Any Side Effect?

All good things do come with their share of side effects. Let’s find out if coconut milk has any.

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The truth is that, there can be harmful effects when you consume coconut milk in excess quantities. Some of its side effects are:

1. High Blood Pressure: It can cause high blood pressure. Since coconut milk is high in fats, it can elevate the cholesterol levels in the body, which can lead to cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure. A cup of coconut milk contains about 55 to 60 grams of fat, most of which is saturated.

2. Allergies: It may lead to allergies. If you are allergic tree nuts, experts suggest that you avoid drinking coconut milk since it may lead to a life-threatening situation.

3. Weight Gain: Coconut milk is high in fat, so if you are following a restricted diet and trying to lose weight, it may not be for you.

4. Constipation: Drinking large amounts of coconut milk every day may cause digestion troubles and constipation.

How to Select the Best Coconut Milk

Here are a few tips for selecting the best coconut milk:

  • Read the label: When possible, choose a product that contains only coconut and water. Avoid questionable ingredients such as carrageenan.
  • Choose BPA-free cans: Purchase coconut milk from companies that use BPA-free cans, such as Native Forest and Natural Value.
  • Use cartons: Unsweetened coconut milk in cartons usually contains less fat and fewer calories than canned options. Look for brands without carageenan, such as So Delicious and Silk.
  • Go light: For a lower-calorie option, select light canned coconut milk. It’s thinner and contains about 125 calories per half cup (120 grams).
  • Avoid Added Sugars: Always buy unsweetened coconut milk that does not have added flavors or sweeteners.

How To Make Coconut Milk At Home?

Making this delicious milk takes just about 10 minutes. It is an inexpensive and healthier substitute for regular milk. The process is as described below.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut

STEPS

  1. Heat the water, but make sure it does not boil.
  2. Blend the coconut in a blender.
  3. Add water and blend again for a few minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy.
  4. Strain the mixture through a mesh to obtain the liquid. If needed, you can squeeze the remaining pulp through a muslin cloth or a thin towel to get the remaining liquid.
  5. The collected liquid is the coconut milk.
  6. Drink immediately or store it in the refrigerator for a while.

Let’s now understand how you can use this milk.

How To Use Coconut Milk

There are plenty of creative ways you can use coconut milk in your daily cooking and beauty regimens. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Coconut milk can be use as an alternative to regular milk in your breakfast porridge.
  2. Toss your cooked pasta or spaghetti in a little coconut milk to make the dish saucier and tastier.
  3. You can use coconut milk or coconut cream in certain puddings to make them creamier.
  4. Use coconut milk in soups to add a rich nutty flavor and a dash of healthy fat to it.
  5. Use it as part of your beauty routine on your body and face to nourish your skin and make it glow.
  6. Use coconut milk on your hair to boost hair health and prevent grays, hair fall, and dandruff.
  7. Drink coconut milk as it is.

HOW TO STORE

If you absolutely need to store coconut milk, we recommend that you pour it in a glass jar, cover it tightly and refrigerate it until you use it again. Shake the jar thoroughly before your next use.You can also freeze a large portion of the milk. This way, it will stay fresher longer.

Mumedibbles Tips

Coconut milk is a tasty, nutritious and versatile food that is widely available. It can also be made easily at home. Including moderate amounts of coconut milk in your diet may pay off in better health.

Why not make your own coconut milk or get some at the shop today since you know why we cant stop talking about it. We know that using coconut milk has its ups and downs, but if the ups outshine the downs, it is definitely worth a try, right?

Comment on the post below and let us know about your experience in making coconut milk and how you used it in your cooking.

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