Health Benefits of Coconut Milk and Other Uses

health benefits of coconut milk

Coconut milk has become famous. It’s a flavorful alternative to dairy milk that may still apply for various health benefits. Here are the health benefits of coconut milk and other uses.

What is Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk comes from the flesh of coconuts. People use it in many traditional cuisines around the world. You can derive coconut milk from the flesh of coconuts, which are the fruit of the coconut tree. The extract has a thick texture and a rich surface. However, you can also make coconut flour from the waste material. This material is baked at a low temperature until it is dry. Then the pulp is dried out and ground into the powdery flour.

The southeast Asian cuisines include this milk. It’s still famous in many countries such as India and various South American and Caribbean regions. We should not confuse coconut milk with coconut water, which is inside green coconuts.

However, they blend the coconut flesh with water to produce coconut milk, which is about half water. Where coconut water is about 95% of water. Coconut water involves less fat and is low in calories than coconut milk.

Nutrients Content in Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is very high in calories, about 93% of its calories originate from fat, comprising saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). The milk is likewise a decent wellspring of several vitamins and minerals. One glass 200ml approximately 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 professionals believe coconut milk has unique proteins that may provide benefits. But it requires more research.

Coconut milk contains saturated fat and also high in calories. It comprises many nutrients and provides rapid energy to the body. Many athletes are aware of its benefits, and they consume coconut milk before their workout.

Coconut Milk Effects on Heart Health

Since coconut milk is so high in saturated fat, people may think if it’s not a healthy idea.

One study recommends that it may benefit 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 more than soy milk porridge. Coconut milk porridge raised “good” HDL cholesterol by 18%, linked to only 3% for soy (2).

Most studies of coconut oil discovered the improvement of triglyceride levels in humans.

Although in various studies LDL cholesterol levels increased in response to coconut fat, HDL cholesterol also increased. Triglycerides reduced compared to other fats (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

Lauric acid, the primary fatty acid in coconut fat, may raise LDL cholesterol by dropping the activity of the receptors that clear LDL from the blood (8).

Coconut milk may improve triglyceride and Cholesterol levels.

Coconut Milk Effects on Weight and Metabolism

Half of the coconut oil is Lauric acids. Therefore, they refer to it as both long-chain fatty acid and medium-chain fatty acids. However, its metabolic effects and chain length are transitional between the two (9).

Nevertheless, coconut oil still contains 12% as Capric acid and Caprylic acid. MCTs, go to your liver, where they are used as energy or ketone production. However, it will not store a fat inside the body (10).

Research also recommends that MCTs may help reduce hunger compared with other fats.

MCTs can boost calorie burning during physical activity. A study shows that MCTs in coconut milk has no effect directly on weight loss. It only gives you the potential to burn more calories during HIIT (high-intensity interval exercises).

Two controlled studies in obese peoples and people with coronary disease show that eating coconut oil can reduce belly fat (11).

However, there is no solid evidence that shows coconut milk reduces body weight. No studies have analyzed how coconut milk influences weight loss and digestion.

Coconut milk contains slight amounts of MCTs. Although MCTs may increase digestion and help you lose tummy fat, but coconut milk will not influence weight loss.

Other Health Benefits of Coconut Milk

Coconut milk may also:

Reduce inflammation: Animal studies discovered that coconut extracts may reduce inflammation and swelling in mice.

Decrease 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. (12)

Fight viruses and bacteria: Test-tube studies recommend that lauric acid in coconut oil may reduce the levels of viruses and bacteria that produce diseases.

Keep in mind that not all studies were on the effects of coconut milk.

Animal and test-tube studies recommend that coconut milk may reduce inflammation, decrease ulcer size. Because of its unique components, coconut oil fight viruses and bacteria that cause infections.

Coconut Milk Side Effects

Unless you’re hypersensitive (allergic) to coconuts, the milk is rare to have negative effects. Compared to tree nut and peanut allergies, coconut allergies are rare.

However, some digestive disorder experts confirm that people who have a FODMAP intolerance 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 can linings into food. It links BPA to reproductive issues and cancer in animal and human studies.

Coconut milk is harmless for most people who are not allergic to coconuts. It is best to choose BPA-free cans.

How to Use Coconut milk?

As you can see it is nutritious, but it is also high in calories. Remember, this is when including it to meals.

How to choose the Best Quality 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 coconut milk that uses BPA-free packaging.

Make Your Own Coconut Milk

For the purest, healthiest coconut extract, make your own coconut milk by shredding 2 cups of coconut and put it in 4 cups of hot water (not boiling) for 2 hours. Then blend it on high speed for one minute and strain through a cheesecloth.

We can use coconut milk in a variety of methods. For optimal nourishment, it’s best to choose coconut milk in cartons or prepare your own at home.

The Bottom Line

Coconut milk is a luscious, and nutritious food we can make it at home. It contains essential nutrients like manganese and copper. Including moderate amounts in your diet may boost your heart health and provide other benefits.

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Naeem Durrani BSc
Naeem Durrani is a freelance journalist who specializes in health and wellness innovation. His interests include medical research, nutrition, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices that empower people to positively transform their lives.
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