Coconut milk has become famous, and it’s a flavorful alternative to dairy milk, which may apply for various health benefits. You should not confuse coconut milk with coconut water, which is inside green coconut kernel. To make coconut milk, blend the coconut flesh and mix it with water, which is about half water. Coconut water involves less fat and is low in calories compared to the coconut milk.
Nutrients in Coconut Milk
The milk of coconut is very high in calories. About 93% of its calories originate from fat, comprising saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). The coconut milk is likewise a decent wellspring of several vitamins and minerals and has tons of health benefits. One glass 200ml approximately contains :
- Calories 500
- Protein 5 grams
- Fat 45 grams,
- Carbs 13 grams,
- Fiber 5 grams,
- Vitamin C 10% of the RDI
- Iron 20% of the RDI
- Folate 10% of the RDI
- Potassium 15% of the RDI
- Magnesium 20% of the RDI
- Copper 30% of the RDI
- Manganese 110% of the RDI
- Selenium 18% of the RDI
Besides that, some people believe coconut milk has unique proteins that may provide beneficial health effects. But we need to study to validate these claims .
Coconut milk is a nutritious drink with a lot of calories. About 93 percent of its calories come from fat, which comprises saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Most studies on the beneficial health effects of coconut milk have used the MCT oil. Some people believe coconut products are unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content. In fact, 87% of coconut fat is saturated fat, which makes it alarming for people with high levels of LDL cholesterol.
Coconut Milk Effects on Heart
Since coconut milk is high in saturated fat, people may think if it’s not a healthy idea. One study recommends that coconut milk may provide benefits to people with both bad or good cholesterol levels. An eight-week study on 60 people discovered that coconut milk porridge brought down “bad” LDL cholesterol compared to the soy milk porridge . Most studies of coconut oil discovered the improvement of triglyceride levels in humans.
Although in various studies, both HDL and LDL cholesterol levels increased in response to coconut fat , , , , . According to some studies , , coconut fat increased LDL cholesterol levels increased, however, it also increased HDL cholesterol. When compared to other fats, coconut fat reduced triglycerides. Lauric acid, the primary fatty acid in coconut fat, may raise LDL cholesterol by dropping the activity of the receptors, which is believed to clear LDL from the blood .
According to one study, coconut milk can be beneficial to people with both good and bad cholesterol levels. If you have high LDL levels, consult with your doctor about adding coconut milk to your diet.
Coconut Milk Effects on Metabolism
Is coconut milk good for weight loss? Half of the coconut oil is Lauric acids . Lauric acid is referred as both long-chain and medium-chain fatty acid. However, its metabolic effects and chain length are transitional between the two. The MCTs in coconut travel to your liver, used in energy or ketone production, and it will not store as fat inside the body . The MCTs in coconut milk may also provide appetite suppressing benefits when compared with other fats , , , .
MCTs can boost calorie burning during physical activity , , . However, MCTs in coconut milk are very less and will not affect metabolism. It may only give you the potential to burn extra calories during HIIT (high-intensity interval exercises). Some controlled studies in obese peoples and people with coronary disease show that eating coconut oil reduced waist size , , .
MCTs from coconut are transported to the liver and used in the processing of energy or ketone bodies. MCTs have been shown to have appetite suppressing effects and may increase calorie burning during physical activity. There is no conclusive proof that coconut will help you lose weight.
Before consuming coconut milk, consult with a certified nutritionist and discuss the effects. This is because coconut milk may affect individuals differently.
Other Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Decreases stomach ulcer size: In one study, coconut milk reduced stomach ulcer size in rats by 54% a result similar to the effect of an anti-ulcer drug .
Coconut milk benefits for skin: Coconut milk contains vitamin C and vitamin E. It exfoliates dead skin cells and makes your skin brighter and smoother. You can also make a natural cream from coconut milk. To reap the skin whitening benefits, apply a thin layer of coconut cream to your face before bed. Continue until you get the results .
Coconut milk exfoliates dead skin cells and brightens and smoothes the skin. According to in vitro studies, the lauric acid in coconut oil can reduce the levels of viruses, bacteria, and inflammation that cause damage. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin C and E.
Coconut Milk Side Effects
Unless you’re hypersensitive (allergic) to coconut, the milk is rare to have negative effects. Compared to tree nut and peanut allergies, coconut allergies are rare . Experts confirm some digestive disorder in people who have a FODMAP intolerance should limit coconut milk to 1/2 cup (100 ml) at a time.
Many canned varieties also contain bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic that can leach form and form linings into food. Both human and animal studies show that BPA is linked to serious health problems, such as cancer , , , , , .
Coconut milk is a delicious drink with many health benefits, but it is also high in calories. Coconut allergies are uncommon. Some people with FODMAP intolerance should limit their intake of coconut milk.
How to choose coconut milk?
Read the label: Take an item that contains just coconut and water with no artificial flavors added.
Always Go For BPA-free cans: Purchase that uses BPA-free packaging.
How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk?
For the purest, healthiest coconut juice, make your own milk by shredding 2 cups of coconut and put it in 4 cups of boiling water for 2 hours. After 2 hours, put the shredded coconut and water in a high-speed blender for one minute and strain it through a cheesecloth.
Coconut milk waste material
You can also make coconut flour from the coconut milk waste material. The waste material is baked at a very low temperature until it is dry. Then the pulp is dried out and grounded in the powdery flour.
Coconut milk is a luscious and nutritious drink, which you can make it readily at home. It contains essential nutrients like manganese and copper. Coconut milk may provide health benefits such as improved heart and brain function. Always speak to your doctor before adding coconut products to your diet.
- D’Amato A, Fasoli E, Righetti PG. Harry Belafonte and the secret proteome of coconut milk. J Proteomics. 2012 Jan 4;75(3):914-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2011.10.009. Epub 2011 Oct 20. PMID: 22037231.
- Ekanayaka RA, Ekanayaka NK, Perera B, De Silva PG. Impact of a traditional dietary supplement with coconut milk and soya milk on the lipid profile in normal free living subjects. J Nutr Metab. 2013;2013:481068. doi: 10.1155/2013/481068. Epub 2013 Oct 24. PMID: 24282632; PMCID: PMC3824402.
- Liau KM, Lee YY, Chen CK, Rasool AH. An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity. ISRN Pharmacol. 2011;2011:949686. doi: 10.5402/2011/949686. Epub 2011 Mar 15. PMID: 22164340; PMCID: PMC3226242.
- Assunção ML, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM. Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601. doi: 10.1007/s11745-009-3306-6. Epub 2009 May 13. PMID: 19437058.
- Cardoso DA, Moreira AS, de Oliveira GM, Raggio Luiz R, Rosa G. A COCONUT EXTRA VIRGIN OIL-RICH DIET INCREASES HDL CHOLESTEROL AND DECREASES WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE AND BODY MASS IN CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE PATIENTS. Nutr Hosp. 2015 Nov 1;32(5):2144-52. doi: 10.3305/nh.2015.32.5.9642. PMID: 26545671.
- Cox C, Mann J, Sutherland W, Chisholm A, Skeaff M. Effects of coconut oil, butter, and safflower oil on lipids and lipoproteins in persons with moderately elevated cholesterol levels. J Lipid Res. 1995 Aug;36(8):1787-95. PMID: 7595099.
- Trinidad TP, Loyola AS, Mallillin AC, Valdez DH, Askali FC, Castillo JC, Resaba RL, Masa DB. The cholesterol-lowering effect of coconut flakes in humans with moderately raised serum cholesterol. J Med Food. 2004 Summer;7(2):136-40. doi: 10.1089/1096620041224148. PMID: 15298758.
- Reiser R, Probstfield JL, Silvers A, Scott LW, Shorney ML, Wood RD, O’Brien BC, Gotto AM Jr, Insull W Jr. Plasma lipid and lipoprotein response of humans to beef fat, coconut oil and safflower oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Aug;42(2):190-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/42.2.190. Erratum in: Am J Clin Nutr 1986 Jun;43(6):978. PMID: 4025191.
- Müller H, Lindman AS, Brantsaeter AL, Pedersen JI. The serum LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio is influenced more favorably by exchanging saturated with unsaturated fat than by reducing saturated fat in the diet of women. J Nutr. 2003 Jan;133(1):78-83. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.1.78. PMID: 12514271.
- Tsai YH, Park S, Kovacic J, Snook JT. Mechanisms mediating lipoprotein responses to diets with medium-chain triglyceride and lauric acid. Lipids. 1999 Sep;34(9):895-905. doi: 10.1007/s11745-999-0438-9. PMID: 10574653.
- Sigalet DL, Martin G. Lymphatic absorption of glucose and fatty acids as determined by direct measurement. J Pediatr Surg. 1999 Jan;34(1):39-43. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(99)90225-7. PMID: 10022140.
- Dayrit, F.M. The Properties of Lauric Acid and Their Significance in Coconut Oil. J Am Oil Chem Soc 92, 1–15 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11746-014-2562-7
- Han JR, Deng B, Sun J, Chen CG, Corkey BE, Kirkland JL, Ma J, Guo W. Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects. Metabolism. 2007 Jul;56(7):985-91. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2007.03.005. PMID: 17570262.
- Stubbs RJ, Harbron CG. Covert manipulation of the ratio of medium- to long-chain triglycerides in isoenergetically dense diets: effect on food intake in ad libitum feeding men. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 May;20(5):435-44. PMID: 8696422.
- Van Wymelbeke V, Himaya A, Louis-Sylvestre J, Fantino M. Influence of medium-chain and long-chain triacylglycerols on the control of food intake in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Aug;68(2):226-34. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/68.2.226. PMID: 9701177.
- St-Onge MP, Mayrsohn B, O’Keeffe M, Kissileff HR, Choudhury AR, Laferrère B. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Oct;68(10):1134-40. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.145. Epub 2014 Jul 30. PMID: 25074387; PMCID: PMC4192077.
- White MD, Papamandjaris AA, Jones PJ. Enhanced postprandial energy expenditure with medium-chain fatty acid feeding is attenuated after 14 d in premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):883-9. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/69.5.883. PMID: 10232626.
- Papamandjaris AA, White MD, Raeini-Sarjaz M, Jones PJ. Endogenous fat oxidation during medium chain versus long chain triglyceride feeding in healthy women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Sep;24(9):1158-66. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801350. PMID: 11033985.
- Papamandjaris AA, White MD, Jones PJ. Components of total energy expenditure in healthy young women are not affected after 14 days of feeding with medium-versus long-chain triglycerides. Obes Res. 1999 May;7(3):273-80. doi: 10.1002/j.1550-8528.1999.tb00406.x. PMID: 10348498.
- Silva RR, Oliveira e Silva D, Fontes HR, Alviano CS, Fernandes PD, Alviano DS. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities of Cocos nucifera var. typica. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 May 16;13:107. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-107. PMID: 23680079; PMCID: PMC3680169.
- Naskar S, Mazumder UK, Pramanik G, Saha P, Haldar PK, Gupta M. Evaluation of antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity of hydromethanol extract of Cocos nucifera L. Inflammopharmacology. 2013 Feb;21(1):31-5. doi: 10.1007/s10787-012-0135-7. Epub 2012 Apr 17. PMID: 22527352.
- Intahphuak S, Khonsung P, Panthong A. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharm Biol. 2010 Feb;48(2):151-7. doi: 10.3109/13880200903062614. PMID: 20645831.
- Nneli RO, Woyike OA. Antiulcerogenic effects of coconut (Cocos nucifera) extract in rats. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):970-2. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2318. PMID: 18521965.
- Kabara JJ, Swieczkowski DM, Conley AJ, Truant JP. Fatty acids and derivatives as antimicrobial agents. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1972 Jul;2(1):23-8. doi: 10.1128/AAC.2.1.23. PMID: 4670656; PMCID: PMC444260.
- Huang CB, Alimova Y, Myers TM, Ebersole JL. Short- and medium-chain fatty acids exhibit antimicrobial activity for oral microorganisms. Arch Oral Biol. 2011 Jul;56(7):650-4. doi: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.01.011. Epub 2011 Feb 17. PMID: 21333271; PMCID: PMC3119748.
- Hornung B, Amtmann E, Sauer G. Lauric acid inhibits the maturation of vesicular stomatitis virus. J Gen Virol. 1994 Feb;75 ( Pt 2):353-61. doi: 10.1099/0022-1317-75-2-353. PMID: 8113756.
- Stutius LM, Sheehan WJ, Rangsithienchai P, Bharmanee A, Scott JE, Young MC, Dioun AF, Schneider LC, Phipatanakul W. Characterizing the relationship between sesame, coconut, and nut allergy in children. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2010 Dec;21(8):1114-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2010.00997.x. PMID: 21073539; PMCID: PMC2987573.
- Schecter A, Malik N, Haffner D, Smith S, Harris TR, Paepke O, Birnbaum L. Bisphenol A (BPA) in U.S. food. Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Dec 15;44(24):9425-30. doi: 10.1021/es102785d. Epub 2010 Nov 1. PMID: 21038926.
- Hunt PA, Lawson C, Gieske M, Murdoch B, Smith H, Marre A, Hassold T, VandeVoort CA. Bisphenol A alters early oogenesis and follicle formation in the fetal ovary of the rhesus monkey. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 23;109(43):17525-30. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1207854109. Epub 2012 Sep 24. PMID: 23012422; PMCID: PMC3491481.
- Prins GS, Tang WY, Belmonte J, Ho SM. Developmental exposure to bisphenol A increases prostate cancer susceptibility in adult rats: epigenetic mode of action is implicated. Fertil Steril. 2008 Feb;89(2 Suppl):e41. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.12.023. PMID: 18308059; PMCID: PMC2531072.
- Mok-Lin E, Ehrlich S, Williams PL, Petrozza J, Wright DL, Calafat AM, Ye X, Hauser R. Urinary bisphenol A concentrations and ovarian response among women undergoing IVF. Int J Androl. 2010 Apr;33(2):385-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2009.01014.x. Epub 2009 Nov 30. PMID: 20002217; PMCID: PMC3089904.
- Li DK, Zhou Z, Miao M, He Y, Wang J, Ferber J, Herrinton LJ, Gao E, Yuan W. Urine bisphenol-A (BPA) level in relation to semen quality. Fertil Steril. 2011 Feb;95(2):625-30.e1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.09.026. Epub 2010 Oct 29. PMID: 21035116.
- Kandaraki E, Chatzigeorgiou A, Livadas S, Palioura E, Economou F, Koutsilieris M, Palimeri S, Panidis D, Diamanti-Kandarakis E. Endocrine disruptors and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): elevated serum levels of bisphenol A in women with PCOS. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Mar;96(3):E480-4. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-1658. Epub 2010 Dec 30. PMID: 21193545.