Have you tried coconut milk yet? No?
Well, if you’ve been using it for awhile, you’ll be happy to see why you should keep doing so. If it’s new for you, you’ll definitely want to get on board.
What Is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk is different from coconut water, as the milk comes from the grated meat of the brown coconut. The water is what you drink out of a young green coconut with a straw on a Copacabana beach while wearing a speedo.
The grated meat is then mixed with water and the grating process can be done by hand or by modern grating machines. We are mostly going to find it in canned form, which combines thick and thin milk together.
The rich flavor and creaminess of coconut milk comes from the high oil content — a large component of the milk is saturated fat. This fat is one of the healthy fats that should be part of your diet.
So, what are the health benefits that can come from consuming coconut milk? I’m glad you asked!
1. Its Fat Comes From Beneficial Short- And Medium-Chain Fatty Acids
If you’re concerned about the saturated fat issue, these are the types of short-chain fats that are digested in a different way in the body than the long-chain ones. The medium-chain fatty acids are absorbed and transported directly to the liver, where they are burned for energy. They are not stored as fat and can actually have a fat-burning effect, called thermogenesis.
2. It Is High In Lauric Acid
Lauric acid makes up a large part of the fat in coconut milk. Lauric acid has some interesting health benefits, including anti-bacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Lauric acid has a disease-fighting ability, as well as being able to boost the immune system.
Lauric acid can also have the effect of making the blood vessels more elastic and help keep them clean. This is important for lowering the risk of things like heart disease and atherosclerosis.
3. It Can Help Lower Cholesterol
If you eat a lot of packaged or fast food, you can be pretty sure you are consuming some pretty awful trans fats. These types of fats are used in manufactured foods in order to give the “foods” an improved texture, firmness, and mouthfeel. They also increase shelf life, which is likely the main reason why these things went into the products in the first place. It’s like a deadly preservative.
People who switched to foods containing lauric acid, like found in coconut milk, showed a favorable improvement in blood lipid profiles.
4. It Is Good For The Hair And Skin
The fats and vitamin E in coconut milk is what helps in making it effective at moisturizing the hair. Fresh coconut milk can help nourish the hair and promote hair growth. It also has the ability to help clean out your pours by removing dirt. It keeps the skin well hydrated and moisturized, and even has a slight exfoliating effect by being able to remove dead skin cells.
And you even get to smell like a pina colada all day, without having to hear Jimmy Buffett sing.
5. It Is High In Fiber
The common high fiber choices are usually centered around grains like wheat bran, oat bran, and psyllium husk. Coconut milk can be included in here as it contains 2.2 grams of dietary fiber in a 100-gram serving. Soluble fiber can help promote healthy cholesterol levels, as well as combat heart disease. The other key thing is that the high fiber content helps promote feelings of fullness for longer, which can help in avoiding overeating.
Wrapping It Up
Coconut milk is something that’s very easy to use and really elevates dishes like soups and curries. It adds a creaminess and unique flavor to anything it’s added to and is great for those who need to avoid lactose. So, give it a whirl and feel free to share any ways you love to use it in the comments below!
Featured photo credit: Pedro Cardoso via flickr.com