Coconut milk is a white, milky substance extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts.
The milk has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture.
Southeast Asian cuisines commonly include this milk. It’s also popular in Hawaii, India and certain South American and Caribbean countries.
Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which is found naturally in immature green coconuts.
Coconut milk is classified as either thick or thin based on consistency and how much it’s processed.
Thick: Solid coconut flesh is finely grated and either boiled or simmered in water. The mixture is then strained through cheesecloth to produce thick coconut milk.
Thin: After making thick coconut milk, the grated coconut remaining in the cheesecloth is simmered in water. The straining process is then repeated to produce thin milk.
Most canned coconut milk contains a combination of thin and thick milk. It’s also very easy to make your own coconut milk at home, adjusting the thickness to your liking.
Nutrition in Coconut Milk
The milk is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. One cup (240 grams) contains:
- Calories: 552
- Fat: 57 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Vitamin C: 2.30 mg
- Folate: 10% of the RDI
- Iron: 7.46 mg
- Magnesium: 104 mg
- Potassium: 497 mg
- Copper: 32% of the RDI
- Manganese: 110% of the RDI
- Selenium: 21% of the RDI
Coconut milk is a high-calorie food. About 93% of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides.
Coconut Milk Health Benefits
Here are 8 health benefits of coconut milk:
1. Coconut Milk For Weight Loss
Coconut milk is filled with good fats and fiber. This helps you lose weight by accelerating your metabolism and making you feel satisfied.
Coconut milk contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which researchers have linked with weight loss. MCTs stimulate energy through a process called thermogenesis, or heat production.
Some studies indicate that MCTs work to reduce body weight and waist size. They may also balance out unstable gut microbiota. A lack of this stability may play a role in developing obesity.
2. Boots Immune System
Coconut milk contains certain vitamins, minerals and acids that can help prevent numerous diseases, including fungal, bacterial and viral infections.
Coconuts contain a lipid called lauric acid, and many researchers believe that lauric acid can support the immune system.
Some findings indicate that lauric acid has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Heart Disease Prevention
The good fats that are found in coconut milk can improve your heart condition by increasing good-cholesterol levels, and reducing the plaque formation in the arteries, thus decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke.
An eight-week study in 60 men found that coconut milk porridge lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol more than soy milk porridge. Coconut milk porridge also raised “good” HDL cholesterol by 18%, compared to only 3% for soy.
4. Coconut Milk For Healthy Skin
It has been proved that coconut oil also has antiseptic property, thus helping fight several skin diseases and conditions in a natural and chemical-free way.
5. Fatigue Relief
Sometimes fatigue is related to dehydration or vitamin, mineral or electrolyte deficiency.
As coconut milk is full of electrolytes, it can be used to deal with fatigue caused by electrolyte loss.
6. Coconut Milk For Digestion
The healthy fatty acids and fiber in coconut milk can help improve the digestion process, and prevent constipation by maintaining a healthy intestine movement and providing adequate water content for the digestive system.
7. Arthritis and Joint Inflammation Prevention
Coconut milk has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, thus reducing the chance of getting certain diseases such as arthritis and helping reduce inflammation.
The fatty acids and minerals can also help maintain good joint, bone and muscular health.
8. Increased Stamina
Coconut milk is rich in calories and electrolytes, which can improve stamina and reduce fatigue. Coconut milk also helps build muscle.
Coconut Milk Side Effects
In moderation, coconut milk can have health benefits, but consuming too much can cause problems.
Coconut milk contains high levels of calories and fats. Consuming too much of the milk and eating a carbohydrate-rich diet can result in weight gain.
Coconut milk also contains fermentable carbohydrates. These can cause digestive issues, such as diarrhea or constipation, in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Coconut allergies are very rare. Anyone allergic to coconuts should not consume coconut milk.
The symptoms of a coconut allergy are similar to those of other food allergies. A person may experience: abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, itching or irritation of the mouth, throat, eyes, or skin.