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How Delicious Coconut Milk Can Improve Your Health

How Delicious Coconut Milk Can Improve Your Health

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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