Tag Archives: Ingredient Spotlight

Natural Ingredients That Keep Skin Soft, Flexible, and Resilient

Of course, the modern women knows that wit and ingenuity are our greatest weapons, but we also know its not a bad idea to keep a few tricks up our sleeves for when the going gets tough. Like when it comes to the war against aging skin. That’s when it time to call in the coven for a little witch’s brew. How do you think Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon stayed so young looking for the Witches of Eastwick sequel?

When it comes to magic potions for your skin, nature is your best resource. There are plenty of ingredients bestowed by the good grace of Mother Nature that can keep your skin flexible strong, and resilient.

Coconut Oil
1. Coconut Oil
Not just for monkeys! Coconut oil’s many talents include removing dead skin cells, protecting against sunburns and strengthening epidermal tissue. In fact, research shows that coconut oil can even fight chronic skin disease and curb cutaneous inflammation. You can use this miracle of nature on your hair and skin to remove makeup, cleanse, heal wounds and scars, and prevent razor burns. When taken internally, coconut helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells and wash away toxins, making it indispensable for skin health.

2. Tea Tree Oil
Also known as mealeuca alternifolia, tea tree oil has been used in Australia for hundreds of years to fight inflammation, redness, and breakouts. It is also known as a well-tolerated alternative for people who react poorly to harsh acne treatments. and its hydrocarbons contribute to its anti-bacterial properties. Researchers have found more than 100 different chemical components that are aromatic and capable of traveling through the pores of the skin and mucus membranes, which is why tea tree oil is so effective as a home remedy for acne.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This inexpensive skin product can kill pathogens like bacteria, and clear skin problems resulting from gut issues as well as cleanse the skin and prevent acne. It also contains vitamins like magnesium and potassium, which are can be effective detoxifying agents when taken internally because of their ability to improve liver function and balance gut bacteria.

Raw honey
4. Raw Honey
Bring on the sweet stuff for reducing breakouts, healing wounds, fighting allergic rashes, and reducing scars. This unheated, unpasteurized ingredient keep all of its nutrients intact because it is not subject to processing, like other honey. Honey is also an effective antimicrobial and can be used for dressing burns and wounds, and has been used in treatments to heal dandruff, psoriasis, diaper dermatitis and more.

5. Sea Salt
One of the more recent stars of the nutritional world, sea salt is chockfull of calcium, magnesium and potassium that it absorbs from seawater. because these minerals are the same as those found within the skin else in our body, sea salt is an excellent ingredient that can protect, balance and restore skin. Ir contains anti-inflammatory properties to fight breakouts, remove dead cells, balance oil production and help skin retain moisture.

So what potions are you stirring up this week? We would love to know!

Planning A Post Holiday Detox

Does the holiday table remind you of morbid scenes when you ate without a care in the world? Relax, it’s nothing that a little post holiday detox can’t cure. If you were being a careless this holiday season, there are some ways you can redeem yourself in the New Year.

Woman eating surgery foods

Stop the Cycle
If you’ve seen “Seinfeld”, you may be familiar with the episode in which Elaine begins to get so used to eating birthday cake and her office, that she develops a midday craving for sugar. Although experts generally do not give credence to the notion of a sugar addiction, there is research that shows that sugar can have an effect on the part of the brain that responds alcohol and drugs.

Start by eliminating desserts with high sugar and fat content. After at least 3 days, they will taste much better. You will find yourself beginning to reestablish a taste for healthier fare.

Reprogram Your Tummy
While you were putting a healthy diet on the back burner, your stomach’s natural appetite control systems may have, well, lost control. Normally a full belly sends signals to your brain to let it know you’re full. However, overeating for prolonged time periods makes the receptors less sensitive.

You may think the solution relies in cutting down on the amount of food, but this will only send a signal to the brain that you are starving and need food immediately, which is why you sometimes become unexplainably hungry after a night of binging. A better solution is to eat healthy sized portions of high fiber, low calorie foods which will quiet the receptors and keep you feeling satisfied.

Women drinking cocktails

Cut Back on the Cocktails
The problem with sweet alcoholic drinks isn’t just sugar and fat. Alcohol itself has 7 calories per gram and the stomach and brain don’t recognize liquid calories in the same way they do solids. This makes it really easy to continue drinking without accounting for the extra calories.
Try drinking low calorie beverages as a substitute. Tea is always a healthy liquid alternative and is known to actually boost metabolism. You can also get fancy with your water by adding sliced lemons, limes, and even berries to a fresh pitcher.

Let us know all about what you got up to this holiday season and how you’re planning to atone for your sins!

Signs That You’re Using the Wrong Product

We all want the lotion, cream, or serum to be the one that leaves your skin rejuvenated, wrinkle- free and beautiful, but sometimes, you just need to walk away. Here are some signs that the skin product you’re using may not be the right one for you.

Woman looking at skin rash

You’ve Got Rashes
While rashes can be caused by a variety of things, they can sold be symptoms of an allergic reaction to a cosmetic product. Beauty formulas can contain inactive ingredients that can contribute to the look and smell of the product, but these ingredients can be allergenic and cause irritating skin rashes. Dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse says, “Consider getting allergy patch testing at your dermatologist office to determine the offending agent and them you’ll know which ingredients to look out for in the future.”

You’ve Got Hives
If you’ve been noticing red welts popping up on you’re skin, it may be hives, Hives are another sign that you may be having a negative reaction to your beauty products. Certified aesthetician Heather Wilson, explains, “People can be allergic to ingredients in a skin care product, so hives can definitely occur. Unfortunately, this doesn’t means the product wrong for your skin type or concern, but that the reaction is a sign that you should discontinue the product, most likely due to an allergen.”

Woman applying skin product to face

Your Skin Is Oily
If you’re not prone to oily skin, but begin to notice increased excess moisture on your skin, it may be the effect of the product you are using. Harsh cleansers can strip the natural oils from the skin, causing it to go into a repair mode, producing oil to make up for the damage. Wilson recommends decreasing the amount of oil absorbing skin care products within your routine and looking for, “serums and gel cream moisturizers that are infused with hyaluronic acid, which provides hydration without adding oil.”

Your Skin Is Dry and Peeling
Peels and face washes can contain strong acids that are harsh on the skin. New York dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. says, “If your skin is peeling too much, you’re probably using too many acids. Don’t combine alpha-hydroxy acids with salicylic acids and retinol. One acid may be enough.”

You Notice Brown Spots
Brown spots are usually the result of long term sun exposure. If you are using a sunscreen product, but are still noticing brown spots, it may be time to look for a new sunscreen. Dr. Jaliman says, “If you’re getting brown spots on your face and uneven pigment, maybe your sunscreen isn’t giving you broad-spectrum protection, Choose SPF 30 or above with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.”

Your Face Burns
Although some products may cause a tingling sensation, they should not cause a painful burning. Some products can be too strong for sensitive skin. Dr Jaliman cites certain anti aging products which contain strong retinoids with ingredients that can cause a stinging sensation. “If your skin is burning on application of a retinol,” says the doctor, “talk to your dermatologist about changing to a gentler anti aging ingredient like vitamin C or resveratrol.”

Finding the right skin care may be just as challenging as finding someone who is single and good looking. We hope you have found the right one for you. We want to hear all about it. Please write with your experiences and concerns whether they be romantic or cosmetic.

Foods That Provide A Daily Dose of Citric Acid

Fruit
So you go into your favorite froyo place. You go over to the pump machine and you decide on a red velvet vanilla nonfat swirl. Ok, now the toppings! You’re an Oreo girl, but you’re a smart Oreo girl and you know that one generous tablespoon of those will easily compensate for the fat you cleverly avoided in your yogurt, and besides, yogurt and Oreos are not exactly the best combo. You look longingly at the gummy bears, no danger of fat there, but do you really need more processed food? And then, you see it! The kiwi fruit. The green queen of lean. After decorating your dessert with a heaping spoonful, you stop to add some mango and pineapple and blueberries and head over to the counter. You know what your have there? A whole lotta citric acid!

What are the Benefits of Citric Acid?
Citric acid increases the acidity of bacteria, making it hard for the microbes to survive and reproduce. In the body, it acts as an alkalizing agent and helps flush the system of excess calcium. Citric acid is also found in face packs and skin products and helps skin regenerate to slow the aging process. Its superpowers include the abilities to boost kidney health, fight free radicals and improve mineral absorption.

vine-vera-foods-that-provide-a-daily-dose-of-citiric-acid-citrus Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits top the list when it comes to levels of citric acid. This, along with ascorbic acid and vitamin C, give the fruit their tangy sharp appeal. Citrus fruits include, oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, lemons, limes, kumquat and clementines. Of these, lemons and limes are the heaviest hitters with about 4 grams per 100 grams of fruit.

vine-vera-foods-that-provide-a-daily-dose-of-citiric-acid-berries Berries
Berries may not be as impressive when it comes to percentages of citric acid, but they are a force to be reckoned with. Blueberries, weighing in at 0.6 grams of citric acid per 100 grams of fruit, are the weakest purveyors of citric acid in the berry family. Citric acid also gives strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and kiwi their tart and tangy tastes.

Tropical Fruit Tropical Fruit
Did someone say aloha? Slightly lower then citrus fruits the list of citric acid providers are tropical fruits. Pineapples are considered a high acid tropical fruit, containing about one gram per one hundred grams of fruit. Tamarinds help pineapples round out the tropical fruit list.

Low Acid Fruit
At the bottom of our list are cherries, sweet plums, apples and peaches, mangos, figs, with only about 0.1 grams of citric acid per 100 grams of fruit.

Kiwi Spotlight On Kiwi
Since we feel this fruit doesn’t always get the props it deserves, let’s take a moment to give the kiwi some love. Did you know kiwis are berries? Shocking, but true! Besides providing a whopping 273% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, kiwi is also a great source of citric acid. Just one kilogram of the kiwi’s peel contains 100 grams of citric acid and the fruit has similar citric acid levels. BTW, the peel is totally edible and may be the healthiest part of the fruit. So heap the kiwi on that froyo!

If you love citrus, froyo, kiwi, or all of the above, let us know how you top your yogurt. It might say a lot about the kind of person you are.

Drink Up…It’s National Merlot Day

Merlot wine It all started with the 2004 movie, “Sideways” when the fun loving Jack, played by Thomas Haden Church asks the uptight Miles, played by Paul Giametti to join him for a glass of Merlot. Miles replies by saying, “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving; I am not drinking any effing Merlot.” What followed was what became known as the “Sideways Effect on Merlot.” Following the movies release, grocery store sales of the wine continued to fall at 1.4% a year after 2005, with many producers blaming the movie.

But, hey, what’s wrong with Merlot? So it may not have a complex flavor, but it is still a highly drinkable and appealing wine. What’s wrong with being easy? If Miles thinks he’s too good to drink it, he’s got self esteem problems. November 7 is National Merlot Day, so if you like Merlot, go out and show off how much self esteem you have.

What is Merlot?
Merlot means “Little Blackbird” in French and is second only to Cabernet Sauvignon as America’s most popular choice of grape. Often described as ripe, elegant and soft, Merlots are easy drinking reds that pair well with food and are also great alone. Because of their approachability, these wines are often recommended to the novice wine drinker as their first red.

merlot wine being poured History of Merlot
The grape was first used to make wine in the 1700’s in the Bordeaux region when it was labeled by a French winemaker as an ingredient in his wine blend. Following this, the grape began to gain popularity throughout Bordeaux and was often celebrated for its ability to bring softness to Cabernet Sauvignon, the favorite grape of the Bordeaux region. In fact, the pairing was so well-liked that it became the main component of the famous and coveted Bordeaux blend, celebrated today by so many of the world’s wine connoisseur.

The Spread of Merlot
With the increasing popularity of the Bordeaux wine, came the increasing popularity of Merlot. Upon its arrival in California in the mid 19th century, American winemakers began to leave the Cabernet Sauvignon out of the blend, making wines completely consisting of Merlot. The grape was easy to grow and American enjoyed it for its low levels of tannin. From its California beginnings, the grape has also taken root in Washington State and New York,
The alcohol content of Merlot is usually at least 13.5%, but can be closer to 14.5% if grown in California, Chile or Australia, in which the weather is warmer.

Merlot with meat pairing Food Pairings
When it comes to foods that complement Merlot, the options are many. Cabernet- like Merlots are similar to Cabernet Sauvignon in that they both of well with charred and grilled meat. Fruitier Merlots with higher acidity are closer to Pinot Noir and will make a good accompaniment for mushroom-based dishes, salmon, radicchio and chards. The lighter bodied Merlots will pair well with shellfish, such as scallops of prawns, especially when dropped in protein-rich foods like prosciutto or bacon. Strong and blue veined cheeses are poor choices when drinking Merlot, as they tend to overwhelm the wine’s natural fruit flavor, while spicy food can bring out the perception of alcohol and make the Merlot taste more bitter and tannic.

Bottom Line? Real men (and women) drink Merlot! So if you love Merlot, go out and indulge this November 7th and get back to us when you feel somewhat human again and let us know how it went! We love to get your input and comments. (Always drink responsibly!)

Understanding Food Intolerance

Woman reading product label
Trudy’s McCulloch’s digestive problems began at birth. As a baby, she suffered from bouts of diarrhea and gas, but managed to have a relatively healthy childhood. However, by the time she hit puberty, she started suffering symptoms that caused her eyes to seal shut with crust and her sinuses and head to throb with pain, but, as she says, “The worst part was the fatigue.” None of the doctors she consulted could understand why she was so tired. “I began to think it was in my head.” When she hit her 20’s chronic chest and stomach pain kicked in to the point where she thought she was “having a heart attack. My left arm was numb and I was short of breath.”

It wasn’t until 2004 when Trudy was in her 30’s that she and her family finally discovered the source of all of his. Trudy had multiple food intolerances which caused GERD ( gastroesphogeal reflux disease) and brought on the intolerable chest pain and sinus problems. Food intolerance is often misdiagnosed and can go untreated for several years, causing undue pain, misery, and frustration to the sufferer and his or her loved ones.

What does food intolerance look like?
Food intolerance can appear:

  1. On the skin, in the form of eczema, acne or skin rashes
  2. In the digestive tract as cramping, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, bloating, or constipation
  3. In the respiratory tract as sneezing, coughing nasal congestion, or asthma
  4. In cognitive ability and emotions, such as brain fog, headache, anxiety, insomnia or depression
  5. As an ear infection or as arthritis

How do you figure out which food is affecting you?
If you have a food intolerance, what is healthy for most Americans may not be healthy for you. Intolerance can be brought on by an immune response to a certain food, often caused by a protein or from deficient digestive enzymes.

Dairy products
Lactose Intolerance

The three macronutrients in the food we eat are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Dairy products contain all three. Lactose is the sugar found in milk. If you are lactose intolerant, the enzyme you need to break down lactose is missing and your gut will not be a be able to absorb the sugar. The sugar molecule, not having been broken down by the proper enzymes, then moves through the gut allowing gut bacteria to feast upon it. This leads to gas, cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. If you believe you are lactose intolerant, drink raw dairy to help with digestion, supplement with enzymes, and eat fermented dairy which contains almost no lactose, examples include yogurt and kefir.

Gluten products
Gluten Sensitivity
Food intolerance can occur at a very early age. It can appear when babies do not develop an immune response against certain foods. This often happens if the baby is fed on formula and does not receive the good bacteria and immune signals found in breast milk. In these cases, the immune system will react to almost any food as an invader, or “antigen” and will react every time it is found in the body.

When the intolerance is related to an immune response cross -reactivity may occur. This is when the immune system comes across a protein that is similar to a different food and reacts to this food as if it were the original antigen. This often happens to those with a gluten sensitivity. People who are sensitive to the proteins in gluten will also respond adversely to coffee and milk protein. Unfortunately, if you are cross-reactive, the treatment of gluten sensitivity may not be effective, and you should seek appropriate testing.

The most important thing to be aware of is the need to understand why some food irritate us so we can know which foods to stay away from. If you are battling or have battled food intolerance, please let us know. Awareness can be a very powerful tool.

The Benefits of Eliminating Soda From Your Diet

Woman drinking soda
If you’re trying to decrease your soda intake, these new touch screen soda machines are not helping things. If you have never seen one of these, the home screen displays icons from almost every brand of drink you can think of: Fanta, Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Hi C, Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke, the list goes on and may include some brands most of us have never heard of. If that’s not too overwhelming, when you press on one of these icons, you get a menu of available flavors of each drink. For example, if its Coke Zero you prefer, you can get it in vanilla, cherry vanilla, raspberry, orange, lemon and lime. You can get Hi C in grape or raspberry lime! You can get Powerade ION4 Fruit Punch! You can even get Vault Red Blitz! There are 127 flavors on this thing!

Of course this technological mind-blower also offers healthier alternatives like Peach Dasani Sensations, but the temptation to try every flavor is extremely hard to resist! While the mayor of New York tries to make 64oz. soda illegal, there’s this.

But the truth is, as attractive as this all may be, abstinence is really the best route. There are loads of benefits to cutting the fizzy drink out of your diet.

The Truth About Diet Soda
You may think that diet soda is a gift from heaven. After all, it allows us to indulge in the taste and carbonation of regular soda without the weight gain. However, according to Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN of Isabel Smith Nutrition, “Our bodies are developed to expect a large amount of calories when we take in something exceedingly sweet, and artificial sweeteners are from 400 to 8,000 times sweeter than sugar. ” Smith says that this causes stomach muscles to relax and hormones to be released in preparation to the in food. “It can actually send some people searching for more food, out of lack of satisfaction.”

Quitting Soda Leads to Weight Loss
Although it has no calories, diet soda causes insulin release in your gut which can prevent weight loss. Miriam Jacobson, RD, CDN, says, “Insulin is your body’s primary fat storage hormone, so it will have the body hold on to any extra fat.” Diet coke may, in fact, be more harmful than the regular version because of all the added chemicals.

Quitting Soda Improves The Immune System
The acidity in soda spells bad results for your tooth enamel and digestive system and it is no help if you are suffering from acid reflux. Diet sodas are the worst culprits because artificial sweeteners affect gut bacteria which can interfere with weight management and blood sugar levels and cause disease.

Quitting Soda Improves Bone Health
The coloring in soda contains an artificial phosphorous. As a naturally occurring chemical, phosphorous is found in foods like grains and beans, but the kind found in dark soda can affect bone health. Smith explains, “Basically, you’re taking something that exists in nature but making this hyper-absorbable form of it, Your body doesn’t have the choice whether to absorb it or excrete it, so it can cause calcium to leach out of bones.”

woman with energy
Quitting Soda Gives You More Energy
While caffeine can provide an initial lift drinking too much can overstimulate your nervous system. Smith says, “There is way more energy for our bodies in real food than in processed foods. When people cut back on processed items, they often look for more fresh foods and make better choices.

If you have been seeing more of these soda bearing technologies, let us know what you think of them. Are they the next big thing or the next big controversy? We’d love to have you join the conversation.

A Cautionary Tale of Caffeine

Woman drinking coffee

Everyone seems to have their “mother’s little helper.”  Their little vice that perks them up on those days when their ordinary emotional hygiene practices are just not working.  For some its alcohol, for others prescription drugs,  maybe  marijuana, for some stronger drugs.  Considering all that is available, it would seem that caffeine sort of pales in comparison. It’s legal, requires no prescription and in fact, it is available all over the place and its accessibility is growing.  We can’t walk five blocks without passing a Starbucks, or some other similar gormandizer, and if we don’t, we can always find some Red Bull or Rock Star at the convenience or grocery store. Indeed the ways we get out caffeine are getting more creative by the day; there is talk of a caffeine patch, caffeine gum and caffeine mixed with alcohol.  In the midst of all this madness, it becomes almost impossible for us to imagine that a product with so much hype may also be bad for us, but listen to this:

How Does Caffeine Work?
Caffeine usually begins to take affect 15-45 minutes after ingestion and peaks after 30-60 minutes.  The immediate effects are increased heartbeat, respiration, metabolic rate, production of stomach acid and urine.  It also relaxes muscles, especially the bronchial muscle.  This brings about a “lift”  which causes the user to feel awake and confident mentally and physically.

When Caffeine Turns Dark
After consuming caffeine for a while, users develop a tolerance which means they will need higher doses to get the same effect.  If they do not receive the higher dose, they may experience caffeine withdrawal.  They may develop a throbbing headache, drowsiness, irritability, nervousness to depression.

The Caffeine Overdose
If someone drinks about 7 cups of coffee (250-750 mgs of caffeine) they may become restless, nauseous, experience irregular heart beat, and sleep disturbances.  Anything over that can cause symptoms similar to an anxiety attack, with delirium, ringing ears and diarrhea.  Long-term drinking of coffee can result in heartburn, ulcers, heart problems and fibrocystic breast disease.

A Scary Story
Since caffeine is known to increase metabolism, act as a diuretic, and suppress hunger, it is often  found in weight loss supplements.  Much of the time, caffeine will not be listed as an ingredient in the supplement, instead, it will appear under the guise of an herbal dietary substance, such as guarana.   A 38- year old woman was taking a dietary supplement known as Zantrax 3 a “power packed pill”  featuring niacin, caffeine, and various herbs.  After taking the pill for three months, the woman began to experience blurry vision and suffered a seizure. The MRI showed a possible atrophy in the right frontal lobe of her brain.  After discontinuing Zantrex-3, the patient experienced no more seizures.

Note that reactions to caffeine can vary, and many people swear by it, but it is important that we are aware of when we are consuming it and the variety of foods and pharmaceuticals that contain it.

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

natural tea tree oil
The pharmaceutical industry is growing rapidly with new advances constantly emerging. But with side effects and chemicals in question, it’s nice to know that there is one ingredient that is all natural, can be found in many kitchen cabinets and in many skin care products, and can help with illnesses and other unpleasant conditions. That ingredient is tea tree oil.

Acne
Tea  tree oil is considered one of the most effective remedies for acne. One study found it to be just as potent as benzoyl peroxide without negative side effects such as peeling and redness.

Hair
Tea tree oil can also be beneficial for the hair and scalp. It is effective on dandruff and can even be used to remove lice. To make a shampoo, mix several drops of the oil with coconut milk, aloe vera gel and essential oils like lavender oil.

Tea tree oil Cleaning
Tea tree oil also makes a great household cleaner. It has antimicrobial properties that can kill bacteria. Mix the oils with water, vinegar and lemon juice and use it to clean your bathroom and kitchen areas.

Psoriasis and Eczema
Because tea tree oil can reduce inflammation, it can also be effective in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema.

Toenail Fungus and Ringworm
Because tea tree oil is effective against parasites and fungal infections, it’s useful in the treatment of toenail fungus, athlete’s foot and ringworm. Put the undiluted oil directly on the effected area with a clean cotton swab.

Mold
Mold grows in many homes, often without the owners being aware of it. You can buy a diffuser and diffuse tea tree oil in the air around your home to kill mold and other bad bacteria. You can also spray tea tree oil cleaner onto your shower curtains, laundry machine, dishwasher or toilet to kill mold.

Deodorant
Tea tree oil can eliminate body odor. Its antimicrobial properties destroy the bacteria that causes odor. Make a homemade deodorant by mixing tea tree oil with coconut oil and baking soda.

Cuts and Infections
Tea tree oil mixed with lavender essential oil can help treat wounds. Make sure to clean the cut with water and hydrogen peroxide if necessary. Then apply tea tree oil and cover the cut with a bandage.

Oral Health
Because tea tree oil kills bacteria and reduces inflammation, it’s a great ingredient for a toothpaste or mouthwash. It can reduce bleeding gums and tooth decay. Mix tea tree oil with coconut oil and baking soda for a great homemade toothpaste.

 

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.