Health Benefits of Coconut Milk and Other Uses

Coconut milk has become famous, and it’s a flavorful alternative to dairy milk, which may have various health benefits. You should not confuse coconut milk with coconut water, which is found inside the 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 lower in calories compared to coconut milk. Here are the health benefits of coconut milk and its other uses.

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). Coconut milk is also a decent wellspring of several vitamins and minerals and has tons of health benefits. One glass of approximately 200 ml contains [1]:

  • 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 have beneficial health effects. But we need more studies to validate these claims [2].

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).

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Most studies on the beneficial health effects of coconut milk have used MCT oil. Some people believe coconut products are unhealthy because of their 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 wonder if it’s not a healthy idea. One study suggests that coconut milk may provide benefits to people with both bad and good cholesterol levels. An eight-week study on 60 people discovered that coconut milk porridge brought down “bad” LDL cholesterol compared to soy milk porridge [3]. Most studies of coconut oil have discovered an improvement in triglyceride levels in humans.

Although in various studies, both HDL and LDL cholesterol levels increased in response to coconut fat [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. According to some studies [9], [10], coconut fat increased LDL cholesterol levels. However, it also increased HDL cholesterol. When compared to other fats, coconut fat reduces triglycerides. Lauric acid, the primary fatty acid in coconut fat, may raise LDL cholesterol by decreasing the activity of the receptors, which is believed to clear LDL from the blood [11].

According to one study, coconut milk can be beneficial for 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 acid [12]. Lauric acid is referred to as both a long-chain and a medium-chain fatty acid. However, its metabolic effects and chain length are transitional between the two. The MCTs in coconut travel to your liver, where they are used in energy or ketone production, and they will not store fat inside the body [13]. The MCTs in coconut milk may also provide appetite suppressing benefits when compared with other fats [14], [15], [16], [17].

MCTS can boost calorie burning during physical activity [18], [19], [20]. However, MCTs in coconut milk are very low 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 people and people with coronary disease show that eating coconut oil reduced waist size [4], [5], [6].

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

Animal studies discovered coconut extracts may reduce inflammation and swelling in mice [21], [22], [23]. In one study, coconut milk reduced stomach ulcer size in rats by 54%, a result similar to the effect of an anti-ulcer drug [24]. Test-tube studies recommend that lauric acid in coconut oil may reduce the levels of viruses and bacteria that produce diseases [25], [26], [27]. 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 [1].

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 vitamins C and E.

Coconut Milk Side Effects

Unless you’re hypersensitive (allergic) to coconut, the milk is unlikely to have negative effects. Compared to tree nut and peanut allergies, coconut allergies are rare [28]. Experts confirm that some digestive disorders 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 into and form linings in food. Both human and animal studies show that BPA is linked to serious health problems, such as cancer [29], [30], [31], [32], [33], [34].

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 Do You Make Your Own Coconut Milk?

For the purest, healthiest coconut juice, make your own milk by shredding 2 cups of coconut and putting them 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 cheesecloth.

Waste material

You can also make coconut flour from the waste material of coconut milk. The waste material is baked at a very low temperature until it is dry. Then the pulp is dried out and grounded into the powdery flour.

Conclusion

Coconut milk is a luscious and nutritious drink that you can make 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.

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