Health Benefits of Coconut Milk

Nov 06, 2015

Coconut milk can be a delicious, slightly sweet and creamy addition to anyone’s diet. Some people call it the “miracle liquid” because of the nutrients and benefits it contains. The coconuts’ milk, water and oil are considered some of the world’s healthiest foods because of its immune building defense properties and disease prevention.

What’s the difference between coconut water and milk?

Coconut milk isn’t actually milk at all, or in the sense that we usually think of milk. It is made by blending up the “meat” part of the coconut. When a mature coconut is cracked, the milk is the liquid found in the white “meat”. It is blended and then strained creating a thick and creamy milk-like substance. 

Coconut water is generally made from younger coconuts, about 5 to 7 months, and is higher in sugar and electrolytes. As coconuts mature, the water inside is replaced with coconut meat and then turned into milk that contains a higher amount of healthy saturated fatty acids and calories.

Coconut Milk Nutrients:

Coconut milk contains a beneficial fat called lauric acid. This acid is easily absorbed into they body and used for energy. The other saturated fats that are found in coconuts can help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure and help protect against heart attacks and strokes.

Coconut milk is higher in calories so it’s better to have a smaller glass than you would with regular milk or even coconut water.  Coconut milk is completely dairy free, lactose and soy free, and contains no nuts or grains. It is also great for vegans and plant-based eaters.

Health Benefits of Coconut Milk:

1. Healthy Heart

The lauric acid that is found in coconut milk contains antibacterial and antiviral properties which can improve cholesterol and hearth health.  Other minerals, like magnesium, in coconuts can help lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension and improve circulation.

2. Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Coconuts also contain an ingredient called medium- chain triglycerides or MCT. These are a type of fatty acids that increase energy; an important aspect for those looking to improve physical performance.  Drinking coconut milk after a workout provides the body with needed electrolytes, like magnesium and potassium, to help repair your body.

Another benefit of coconut milk is that because of its fatty acid content drinking it fill you up more and likely help prevent over eating and too much snacking. Portion control is important when drinking coconut milk though.  It can be used as part of a healthy diet when used in small portions considering the high calorie count it contains.  In addition, hydrating with coconut milk can help with liver and kidney functions; two important organs which help metabolize fats and remove waste from the body.

3. Manages Blood Sugar

With the high fat content found in coconut milk it helps slow the releasing of sugar into the blood stream. This can help prevent sugar highs, spikes in insulin levels and prevent against diabetes. Properties like this make coconut milk a great ingredient substitute to regular milk when baking or making smoothies.

Although coconut milk isn’t particularly high in iron it is a good source of plant based iron, which can help prevent anemia. 

What is the best kind of coconut milk to buy?

The best and most beneficial premade coconut milk is one that is organic, no added sugars, no preservatives and that isn’t pasteurized. Pasteurized milk can actually destroy the nutrients found in the milk. Finding coconut milk that is “cold pressured” is best. This means that the milk has only been exposed to light heat, used to remove bacteria, but not heated enough to rid the vitamins and minerals.

Choose coconut milk and water that only has coconut milk and water listed as the ingredient. Sometimes there is guar gum added, which is a natural ingredient that will stabilize the texture. Avoid the coconut milk and coconut water that is flavored, has colors and sweeteners as it only adds extra calories and extra sugar.

The excellent health benefits provided from coconut milk make it a great addition to any diet. Its healing and preventative properties make it great for drinking after a workout, adding to a smoothie or adding a few drops to your morning cup of coffee.

For more information on healthy tips, nutrition and overall health contact your chiropractor in Plymouth, MN Dr. Reese Shanahan.  Our chiropractic office will help you reach your optimal health. Call us at (763) 432-2736 or visit us online at www.plymouthspine.com

 


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