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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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