HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT MILK

HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT MILK-min

Coconut milk is usually obtained from the flesh or meat of mature coconut fruit. This white substance can benefit its consumers in several ways, including weight loss.

Coconut milk has gained popularity, and with its purported benefits on health, it has literally swept the nation. It has become evident that coconut milk can perfectly replace cow’s milk. For that reason, it is a good food alternative for vegans and vegetarians. Those who are also allergic to dairy milk can also use it comfortably. By including coconut oil in your routine diet, you will, without a doubt, benefit greatly health-wise. This article explains the benefits you can get from coconut milk.

What is Coconut Milk and How is Made?

Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water. The last is obtained from an immature coconut fruit of about 6-7 months and is typically a clear fluid containing 94% water. On the other hand, coconut milk is obtained from coconut meat, which is the solid white flesh in a mature coconut fruit and is about 50% water. Unlike dairy milk, coconut milk has a thick consistency which basically depends on the degree of processing and has a creamy texture. Different countries have embraced the use of coconut milk in most of their cuisines, including Hawaii, Thailand, South East Asia, South America, and the Caribbean.

Depending on how it’s made, coconut milk can either be thick or thin. Thick coconut oil is made from coconut flesh, which is grated into finer granules and boiled in water or simmered. The solution is then squeezed through a cheesecloth giving out coconut milk. Thin coconut milk is produced by simmering the remains of thick coconut milk in water and then squeezed through a cheesecloth.

Health Benefits of Coconut Milk

Pack Beneficial Nutrients

Coconut milk is highly rich in calories. Up to 93% of coconut milk’s calories come from fat. The main type of fat in coconut milk is medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Additionally, coconut milk provides several vitamins and minerals. It comes with little surprise that just 240 ml of coconut milk provides 552 calories, 57 g of fat, 5 g of protein, 13 g of carbs, 5 g of fiber, 11% of the recommended daily value (RDV) for vitamin C, 10% of the RDV for folate, 22% of the RDV for iron, 22% of the RDV for magnesium, 18% of the RDV for potassium, 32% of the RDV for copper, 110% of the RDV for manganese, and 21% of the RDV for selenium.

May Help with Weight Loss and Improve Metabolism

Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides. There is evidence that these fats can help one lose weight healthily, improve metabolism, and improve body makeup. Coconut milk also contains lauric acid, which is categorized as both medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides. This is because it produces metabolic effects and the length of its chains fits in between the two. What’s more, there are other medium-chain fatty acids like capric and caprylic acid in coconut milk.

Medium-chain fatty acids promote weight loss more effectively than long-chain fatty acids. This is because right from the liver, they are utilized by the brain and other body parts as energy or ketones. In very rare cases do they get stored in the body. Furthermore, medium-chain triglycerides may also reduce appetite and curb cravings for carbs which ultimately lowers your intake of calories without even noticing.

May Help Improve Heart Health

Heart disease affects many people worldwide, topping the list of causes of world fatalities. Anything that may help reduce the risk of heart disease is thus taken seriously, and of course, you increase its intake. Coconut milk contains saturated fats in high amounts. This has made people question if it can be good for the heart and general health. However, available evidence indicates that it may have some benefits in people with high or normal cholesterol levels. Drinking coconut milk porridge can lower “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterols and increase “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterols. It can also reduce triglycerides levels in the blood compared to other fats.

May Boost Immunity

Researchers strongly believe that lauric acid in coconut milk can protect and boost your immune system. There’s evidence that lauric acid possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. The antibacterial effects of lauric acid may inhibit the growth of different strains of bacteria, including M. tuberculosis, S. pneumoniae, and S. aureus. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory effects of lauric acid can prevent the growth and spread of certain types of cancer, including cancer of the breast and endometrium. Scientists suggest that it does this by activating protein receptors responsible for cell growth. It also initiates apoptosis which is the programmed death of cells.

Other Health Benefits

Coconut milk can effectively fight viral infections. Evidence suggests that lauric acid can significantly reduce the number of viruses and bacteria in your mouth. Coconut milk may help prevent and decrease the severity of gastric ulcers. Scientists purport that it reduces the size of ulcers and promotes their healing.

Potential Side Effects of Coconut Milk

The use of coconut milk is considered safe without any side effects. However, those who are allergic to it may develop adverse reactions. Their allergies cannot be as severe and common as those of peanut and tree nut allergies. One may present with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, throat and eyes irritation, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

It is worth noting that coconut milk is a high-calorie food and contains high-fat levels. Therefore, to avoid weight gain, it would help if you consumed it in moderation. Additionally, coconut milk has contents of fermentable carbs. That means that some people especially, those with irritable bowel syndrome, may develop digestive problems presenting with diarrhea or constipation.

Conclusion

Coconut milk is a nutritious white substance made by grating coconut flesh into fine granules and squeezing them through a cheesecloth. The granules are simmered or boiled in water before squeezing, which gives either thick or thin coconut milk. Coconut milk contains lauric, capric, and caprylic acids – all of which are medium-chain triglycerides and can help you lose weight and prevent inflammation.

Marie Salbuvik

Dietician MS, Lund University, Sweden Nutrition plays an important role in human life. Eating habits are one of the factors that affect our health. There is often a misconception among people that nutritionists force a very restrictive diet, but that is not true. In fact, I don't ban any products, but I point out dietary mistakes and help change them by giving tips and new recipes that I've tried myself. I advise my patients not to resist change and to be purposeful. Only with willpower and determination can a good result be achieved in any area of life, including changing eating habits. When I don't work, I love to go climbing. On a Friday evening, you are most likely to find me on my couch, cuddling with my dog and watching some Netflix.

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