Tag Archives: Coconut Milk

Coconut Five Ways

Coconut is a surprisingly versatile food with many potential benefits and uses. You’re probably familiar with coconut oil, or have at least heard of it, and maybe you’ve even heard of or had some coconut water before, but what about coconut milk, meat, or flour? Each has its uses, and they can all be used in cooking and baking to replace other common ingredients. Let’s discuss how to get the best use out of coconut regardless of the form it comes in.

Coconut oil

Far and away the most well-known form of processed coconut product, coconut oil is a thick, translucent white fat that’s solid at room temperature, and becomes a colorless liquid if heated. It is a saturated fat, meaning you should take care not to over-indulge, but using it to replace vegetable or canola oil in cooking and baking or adding a tablespoon to smoothies, cocoa, or even coffee is perfectly fine, just treat it with the same caution as any other fat, and use in moderation.

Coconut oil does contain some antioxidants, but the amount is negligible and infinitesimal compared to a single glass of red wine or any variety of darker fruits. Coconut oil does also contain the “good” kind of cholesterol that helps clean arteries, but it also contains plenty of the “bad” kind that clogs arteries, and at best, the effect cancels out. In short, coconut oil has advantages over other oils if you’re going to use oil anyway, but don’t eat gobs of it just because it’s marginally more healthy.

That said, outside of its use in cooking, it’s excellent on your hair and skin. Just rub a moderate amount in wet hair or a small amount on your hands, face, and anywhere else that needs some moisturization. It will absorb quickly and leave your skin and hair silky smooth.

Coconut water

Coconut water is often hailed as a health drink due to its high potassium and electrolyte content, low sugar and fat and cholesterol free status. Coconut water is the liquid trapped in the center of the coconut and has a sweet, nutty taste. It is much better than a lot of sugary sports drinks and sodas due to its comparatively low sugar content, but it does contain 60 calories per serving, which can add up. Ultimately, it does have health benefits, but they are often exaggerated greatly.

Coconut meat is high in manganese, iron, phosphorous, and zinc, essential minerals you need to function. It does, however, contain a lot of fat and carbohydrates, so use with caution. Shredded coconut meat can be used as a dessert topper and a breading for fried shrimp or chicken, among other delicious uses.

Not flour in the typical sense, coconut “flour” is a grain-free powder that can be used to replace wheat flour in most recipes, and is naturally gluten-free, a useful trait for those with actual gluten sensitivity, though gluten-free foods have no health benefits for those with no gluten sensitivity. Because it is made from coconut meat, coconut oil is relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, but it also contains a healthy dose of fiber and protein, so use in moderation in place of flower for a nice boost, but, as is becoming the running theme in this article, don’t overdo it.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is made from the firm white meat of the coconut. It is high in calcium and offers a good alternative to dairy milk for anyone who’s lactose intolerant or just doesn’t like dairy milk for one reason or another. Coconut milk itself contains a large amount of coconut oil, and its health benefits—and drawbacks—are almost identical as a result. Have a cut or two a day, no problem, but don’t overdo it.


Ingredient Spotlight: Coconut Milk

The incredible taste and texture of coconut milk certainly make it seem like coconut milk would be bad for you. Plus, many people are aware that coconut milk has saturated fats and contains quite a few calories. However, the saturated fats found in coconut milk are actually highly beneficial to your health and can help fight chronic diseases and prevent cardiovascular disease. Keep reading to find out exactly what coconut milk is and three major health benefits that ingesting coconut milk provides.

Coconut milk

What is Coconut Milk?
The name coconut milk is a bit misleading, but it isn’t actually a “milk” at all in the sense that the word milk is generally used. Coconut milk is a liquid found naturally in the coconut “meat” inside of mature coconuts. Coconut milk has a mild coconut flavor and can be used in many recipes as a dairy substitute. Coconut milk is not to be confused with the liquid that first leaks out when you crack open a coconut – that is coconut water. Coconut water has more sugar and electrolytes, but coconut milk is higher in saturated fatty acids from coconut oil.

One of the fats that coconut milk provides is the medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid. Lauric acid is absorbed easily by the body and is used as a source of energy. Although coconut milk does contain many saturated fats, it is not a threat to your cholesterol levels or to your heart. In fact, experts say that coconut milk can help you lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, because it is high in calories, it is best to consume coconut milk in moderation.

Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Coconut milk has multiple benefits to your health, some of which include:

  • Heart Health – As mentioned above, coconut milk does contain saturated fats, but 50 percent of the fats found in coconut milk is lauric acid. This protective fatty acid has been linked to a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. Coconut milk also helps lower your blood pressure and keeps your blood vessels flexible and free from heart disease-causing plaque.
  • Builds Muscle – The medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut milk increase your energy expenditure and provide enhanced physical performance. Those benefits help you to build muscle and because the fats in coconut milk are good fats, they fill you up and can help curb your cravings for snacks and prevent overeating.
  • Prevents Joint Inflammation – Inflammation is one of your body’s main enemies because it plays a role in so many diseases and uncomfortable conditions, one of which is arthritis. Inflammation also decreases your body’s immune function, but coconut milk can help to reduce inflammation. The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk decrease inflammation, and when used in place of refined sugar, can decrease inflammation even more because refined sugar is pro-inflammatory.

Coconut milk, like its relatives coconut water and coconut oil, is considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. Enjoy coconut milk in place of dairy milk, use it to make curries or use it in your morning smoothies for an added boost of healthy fats.