Coconut Milk – What is it, Properties and Benefits

Coconut Milk – What is it, Properties and Benefits

Coconut milk is a delicious and healthy drink. It is made with the coconut pulp in a completely natural way.

Its main ingredients are medium chain fatty acids. These fatty acids provide energy that will be immediately available for the organism.

All about Coconut Milk

Unlike other fats, the fatty acids from coconut milk are not stored as body fat. Instead, they are directly burned to produce energy. Therefore, including them in our diet can be a great way of supporting weight loss.

Moreover, coconut milk has other properties for health, since it can treat acne and it stimulates the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

What is coconut milk?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding those products that are obtained from coconut: water, milk, or cream. How can we distinguish each one of them?

  1. When we make a small whole in a coconut, put a straw, and drink, we are consuming coconut water.
  2. If we open the coconut, scrape the white pulp from the inside, mix it with hot water, and then squeeze it out, we will get coconut milk.
  3. If we macerate this coconut milk for a day, a fat will form that will result in coconut cream.

Coconut milk helps to protect the heart

For the longest time, people have advised against the consumption of coconut milk due to its high fat content. This happened because it was mistakenly believed that it could increase the cholesterol levels or cardiovascular diseases. Even nowadays, there are people who still believe that coconuts and its derivatives should be avoided if we suffer from heart problems.

All these rumors have created a lot of confusion. While it is true that coconut fat increases the cholesterol, what has to be taken into account is that this cholesterol is the one known as HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol”.

The increase of HDL cholesterol levels reduces the risk of suffering atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Therefore, eating coconuts is good for preventing these diseases, which is far from being harmful for our health.

Properties of coconut milk

Both the benefits of coconut milk and the lower risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases related to its consumption have been tested in epidemiological studies carried out on the population of tropical regions.

In these areas, coconuts and its derivatives have been a basic ingredient of the inhabitants’ diet for centuries. Well, these people from tropical areas barely suffer heart attacks or stokes, even though their only source of fat mainly comes from coconut.

Ultimately, coconut milk is not only harmless but it is also beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Kitava clinical study

At the end of the 80s, a Swedish scientist, Lindenberg, carried out a clinical study in the Kitava Island (located in the Trobriand Islands archipelago, in Papua New Guinea). In this island, the population based their diet on totally natural products, since they barely received industrial processed food.

Coconut milk is the basis for the nutrition of Kitava’s people.

After an in-depth study about these diseases and the Kitava population, the researcher revealed the following information:

  • A 6% of the population was between 60 and 95 years old.
  • Despite the age, none of the inhabitants of Kitava showed any symptom of dementia or memory problems.
  • Unlike developed countries, there are barely any cases of heart attacks or strokes in Kitava.

Ways of eating coconut milk

Benefits of coconut milk for health

All of the products obtained from coconuts are highly beneficial for our health, apart from being quite versatile, since they allow many different uses and always provide a delicious flavor.

Coconut milk helps to lose weight

Coconut milk has less fat than other types of milk. Depending on how it is diluted, it can have between a 15-22% of fat. But this percentage is still low when compared to cow milk, which has a 30 or 35%. So, apart from providing less fat, the ones that it supplies are beneficial for our body.

To understand this process, we will explain how the fatty acids found in coconuts and thereof work. The fatty acids from coconuts are medium chain triglycerides, also known as MCT.

These MCTs have special properties that consist of providing energy to the body faster than other types of fatty acids. Unlike other fatty acids, the MCTs provide energy to the lymph glands and liver, and they are not stored in the fat deposits of the body. When the medium chain triglycerides enter the cells, they transform into smaller substances called enzymes. Enzymes bind more easily and they can become energy very quickly. That is why the MCT fatten less than other types of fatty acids.

Flour from coconut milk

Does it provide minerals?

This is one of the reasons why Asian farmers do not give coconuts to their animals, because coconuts prevent them from gaining weight. Additionally, coconuts have a high percentage of hsn_link tipo=”category” id=”596″ anchor=”minerals” title=”Minerals” target=”_blank” ] which are beneficial for health.

The main minerals that can be obtained from coconuts are phosphorus, iron, magnesium, selenium, sodium and calcium.

Coconuts can be consumed in different ways: milk, smoothies, desserts, soups, etc. We can obtain the benefits of MCTs and minerals with all of them.

But you should always consume it with moderation, otherwise it could produce too much weight loss.

How can we lose weight by taking coconut milk?

The proper dose of coconut milk to lose weight consists of taking 60ml daily (¼ of a cup).

If you also want to use coconut oil to lose weight, you must replace the oil that you use to fry food with coconut oil. However, never use more than 30ml a day.

Benefits of coconut milk for health

Coconut milk stimulates the thyroid gland

Since the MCTs from coconut stimulate the metabolism, they also improve the functioning of the thyroid gland.

Coconut milk has anti-bacterial lauric acid

One of the most important medium chain triglycerides is lauric acid. Coconut milk has between a 50 and 55% of this fatty acid. Lauric acid has properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria.

These properties are also found in the products that are made with coconuts. Apart from maintaining its anti-bacterial effects, lauric acid will continue to work in the organism once it is consumed.

How does this process take place?

Lauric acid penetrates the cell wall of pathogens (bacteria, fungus, viruses) to destroy and kill them. Through this process, lauric acid can manage to destroy herpes, flu and a variety of Candida viruses. Coconuts do not require refrigeration and can be stored at room temperature for a year.

Coconut milk is anti-acne

Coconut milk has properties to reduce and eliminate the acne

The anti-bacterial lauric acid from coconut is very effective against the bacteria of common acne, which is called Propionibacterium acnes.

But, how does lauric acid in coconuts work on acne?

Lauric acid survives in the intestinal system, it enters the bloodstream, and it is attracted by sebum, which is why it enters the skin pores. Once there, it dissolves the fat and reduces the growth of the bacteria that cause the acne, managing to produce a reduce the excessive production of sebum.

Coconut milk is better than cow milk

Cow milk and dairy products are obtained through an industrialized process which is not always completely animal-friendly. In contrast, coconut milk or coconut water is obtained from the coconut pulp without being processed or adulterated.

This milk has been drank for centuries in many tropical countries and it is one of the basic ingredients of their diet. Coconut milk diluted with a bit of water, is a much more flavorsome and nutritious drink than cow milk.

We can also consume coconut milk in smoothies, mixed with pineapple, peaches, mango, or other fruits. Asian cuisine has many recipes that are made with coconut milk or water, for example soups, sauces, and vegetable and meat dishes.

Coconut milk vs cow milk

Coconut Milk is ideal for Lactose Intolerance

One of the advantages of coconut milk consists on the fact that it can be consumed by those who suffer lactose or soy intolerance. Coconut milk has between a 15 and 25% of fat.

You can use coconut milk to prepare delicious sauces and soups, coconut water to make cocktails like the famous Piña Colada. To do this, you just have to shake the liquid very well so that the fat and water mixes properly before preparing the drinks.

It is very important to always purchase coconut water and milk that are completely natural and organic.

Always choose quality coconut milk

As it happens with most foods, we can find coconut milk with different degrees of quality.

We always recommend organic coconut milk, since this ensures that the coconuts have been cultivated without using chemical products, an ecological and environmentally-friendly cultivation. Organic coconut milk has a higher proportion of coconut and it will provide more benefits for health. In addition, it does not have additives, preservatives, thickeners or any other type of industrial additives.

Once the coconut milk recipient has been opened it is advisable to change it to a glass jar or container that has a hermetic seal. It can be stored in the fridge for 4 days. Organic coconut milk powder is much easier to use and measure.

Quality coconut milk

Tips

In this case, it is enough to mix from 2 to 3 spoonfuls of powder in a glass of water and stir it to enjoy a delicious low-fat drink. Coconut milk powder has a special type of fiber, known as acacia fiber. Therefore, the benefits of coconut milk powder are higher, since it also provides the added properties of acacia fiber.

African acacia fiber is the juice extracted from the locust trees that is dried later on. This fiber is extraordinarily rich in soluble fiber. It is soft and digestible, while it simultaneously stimulates the peristaltic intestinal movements. You can obtain the benefits of an easy digestion just by taking acacia fiber for a few days.

Acacia fiber has important properties for health, it can even support the treatment of intestinal inflammatory diseases. This is due to the fact that it has anti-inflammatory effects on the intestinal mucosa. In addition, it will provide the body with a 20% of the daily fiber requirements by taking only 3 spoonfuls of coconut milk powder dissolved in liquid.

Recipes with Coconut Milk

Carrot soup with coconut milk

Carrot soup recipe

An original and healthy meal, perfect for any occasion!

Coconut oil is delicious and healthy. It provides energy quickly thanks to its high medium chain fatty acid content. Moreover, these fatty acids will not be stored as body fat and they tend to be used by the body.

Those recipes made with coconut water or milk are the perfect choice for those who want to lose weight and take advantage of their benefits for our health. There are many cooking recipes that use coconut and thereof.

Recipe to make a Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk

Recipe Tips: Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Portion size: 1 Dish
  • Number of servings: 1
  • Cooking style: European

Ingredients

  • 400ml of vegetable stock
  • 250g of carrots
  • 250g of potatos
  • 200ml of coconut milk
  • 80g of peas
  • 1 dry chilli pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 smashed garlic clove
  • 4 spoonfuls of chopped parsley
  • 3 spoonfuls of coconut oil
  • 1 spoonful of lemon juice
  • A pinch of salt and pepper Carrot Soup Ingredients
Nutritional Information per serving
Calories:663.6kcal
Fat:36.4g
of which saturates:34.2g
Carbohydrates:65g
of which sugars:29g
Fiber:10g
Proteins:19g
Salt:1.5g

How to make: Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk

  1. Wash the veggies with water.
  2. Peel the carrots and potatos and cut them in dices of 1.5cm approximately.
  3. Cut the onion too and smash the half garlic clove.
  4. Heat the coconut oil and cook the onion and garlic for five minutes.
  5. Boil the coconut milk and add the salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Take a bowl and put the stock, potatos, carrots, onion and garlic and cook everything at medium heat between 12 and 15 minutes.
  7. When the veggies are soft, add the coconut milk, peas and the chilli pepper and cook everything three more minutes.
  8. To finish off, add the lemon juice and the chopped parsley and serve.

There are many versions of this carrot and coconut recipe, you can blend all the ingredients, resulting in a thin cream. You will just have to heat it afterwards and serve.

Served carrot soup

Another version: Carrot cream and Coconut Milk

There are similar recipes that add other products such as ginger. To make these recipes, you just need to add a ginger root of approximately 1 cm long to the previous recipe. Follow the steps of the recipe to get a delicious soup or a carrot, coconut milk and ginger cream.

Pumpkin cream with coconut milk

Pumpkin cream recipe

Enjoying recipes made with coconut milk is a delicious way of taking care of your health and exploring new and exquisite flavors

This time, we have one of the healthiest recipes which combines the benefits of coconut and vegetables.

Pumpkin cream with Coconut milk

Recipe Tips: Pumpkin Cream with Coconut Milk

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 35 minutes
  • Portion size: 1 Dish
  • Number of servings: 2
  • Cooking style: European

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 3 spoonfuls of sunflower oil
  • 750 grams of Hokkaido pumpkin
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1-2 teaspoons of thin Himalayan salt
  • 1 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of curry
  • A little bit of chopped parsley
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • A little bit of fresh grated ginger Ingredients for Pumpkin cream
Nutritional Information per serving
Calories:677kcal
Fat:56.5g
of which saturates:52.5g
Carbohydrates:32g
of which sugars:6g
Fiber:6g
Proteins:8g
Salt:2.5g

How to make: Pumpkin Cream with Coconut Milk

  1. Cut the pumpkin and the cinnamon in dices.
  2. Take a cooking pot with a little bit of sunflower oil and cook the onion until it is soft and transparent.
  3. Clean the pumpkin, remove the seeds and cut in dices.
  4. Add the pumpkin to the pot where we have the onion and cook everything together.
  5. Add water until the vegetables are completely covered and add the vegetable stock cube, salt and cinnamon. You can also add a little bit of ground pepper if you want.
  6. Stir the vegetables and cook them at low fire for 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.
  7. Add coconut milk and curry and let it a few more minutes, until all the ingredients are well combined.
  8. Finally, blend the mixture and strain it. We will obtain a delicious cream. Add more salt if necessary.
  9. Serve and season with the chopped parsley and ginger. Presentation

That’s it! Our delicious pumpkin cream with coconut milk is ready!

This is one of the most famous and easiest recipes with coconut milk that you can cook at home. You can serve this recipe as a main dish.

This type of recipes are delicious when combined with a dish of basmati rice. This pumpkin cream will provide all the benefits of coconut and vegetables to your body.

Pumpkin cream with Rice

Veggies in coconut milk

Veggies cooked in coconut milk

Recipe Tips: Veggies in Coconut Milk

  • Preparation time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Portion size: 1 Dish
  • Number of servings: 3
  • Cooking style: European

Ingredients

  • 500gr of potatos: wash, peel and cut in dices
  • 500gr of tomatos: wash, peel and cut in thin slices
  • 200gr of solid coconut cream
  • 300gr of green beans (they can be frozen): wash and strain properly
  • 2 bananas: peel and cut in thick slices
  • 3 onions: peel and cut the onion in big slices
  • 2 garlic cloves: cut them thinly
  • 3 spoonfuls of coconut oil
  • Saly
  • Chile in powder or cayenne or black pepper
  • 1 small bunch of parsley: cut in big pieces Making veggies with coconut milk
Nutritional Information per serving
Calories:570kcal
Fat:69g
of which saturates:57.7g
Carbohydrates:277g
of which sugars:37g
Fiber:25g
Proteins:21g
Salt:1.8g

How to make: Veggies in Coconut Milk

  1. Boil 125ml of water in a small pot.
  2. Smash the coconut cream and put it in the hot water, stir until it melts and it becomes coconut milk. Put aside.
  3. Take a big pot and heat the oil, add the onion and cook it a little.
  4. Then, add the garlic and cook it a little bit as well, be careful not too burn it (if the garlic is overcooked it will have a bitter flavor that will ruin the entire dish). Then, pour the coconut milk that you have made in the first place.
  5. Cut the potatos and add the salt and pepper to taste. Add them to the pot and cover it, let it all cook at medium heat for 15 minutes approximately.
  6. When the potatos are soft, add the beans, bananas, tomatos cut in dices (save some tomato, banana and potatos to decorate the dish). Stir softly and let it cook for 5 minutes at low heat. If you need more stock, add hot water or a vegetable stock.
  7. Once the vegetable soup is done, serve it on dishes and decorate with the banana and tomato that you have put aside. Finally, add a little bit of chopped parsley.

Side dish ideas

It is served with basmati rice or as an starter, with pasta or curry sauce. It can also match recipes made with tofu and soy, serving the veggies first and then the tofu and soy.

Basmati rice and veggies

Presentation with basmati rice

This colorful recipe with veggies is eye-catching, due to the striking color of the vegetables and it can be easily combined with other ingredients. On top of that, it is a very nutritive and healthy dish that everyone will enjoy. Especially if we are vegan or we simply like digestive and healthy recipes.

Oat porridge with coconut milk and honey

Oat porridge with Coconut Milk

An energizing and healthy recipe

Recipe Tips: Oat Porridge with Coconut Milk and Honey

  • Preparation time: 3 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 minute
  • Portion size: 1 Bowl
  • Number of servings: 1
  • Cooking style: British

Ingredients

  • 60g of Thin Whole Grain Oat Flakes by HSNfoods
  • 50g of coconut milk
  • 1 spoonful of organic honey (approx. 15g)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
Nutritional Information per serving
Calories:347kcal
Fat:11g
of which saturates:6.6g
Carbohydrates:52g
of which sugars:15g
Fiber:6.2g
Proteins:10g

How to make: Oat Porridge with Coconut Milk and Honey

  1. Macerate the oat flakes in coconut milk the whole night. To do this, mix everything with a glass of water, stir well and leave it in the fridge.
  2. The next morning, you can eat it cold or heat it in the microwave and then add the honey

Quiche with coconut milk and vegetables

Quiche recipe

Recipe Tips: Quiche with Coconut Milk and Vegetables

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes
  • Portion size: 1 Piece
  • Number of servings: 6
  • Cooking style: French

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Bag of Spinach
  • 1/2 spoonful of yeast
  • 1 Onion
  • 200g of Mushrooms
  • 5 Eggs
  • 80g of Instant Oat Flour by HSNfoods
  • 20g of Gouda Cheese
  • 20g of Emmental Cheese
  • 200ml of Coconut Milk
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 spoonfuls of Ghee butter
Nutritional Information per serving
Calories:183.6kcal
Fat:12.4g
of which saturates:8.6g
Carbohydrates:10.3g
of which sugars:1.3g
Fiber:1.9g
Proteins:7.7g
Salt:0.2g

How to make: Quiche with Coconut Milk and Vegetables

  1. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 200º. Let's prepare everything on the meantime.
  2. Fry the onion with the mushrooms.
  3. Take a bowl and put: 1 glass of water + oat flour + ghee butter and stir until you get a mass. That will be the base for the quiche.
  4. Take a recipient that is suitable for microwaves, spread the mass on it.
  5. In another bowl: eggs + yeast + coconut milk + cheeses + spices and stir. Add the spinach with the rest of vegetables which should have been previously cooked.
  6. Put it in the oven, cook at 160º for 45 minutes. Leave it longer if necessary.

Protein pudding with coconut milk, chia seeds and papaya

Protein Pudding with Coconut Milk

A delicacy for our palate which is highly nutritious. With this combination, we will obtain all the benefits from coconut, which is rich in medium chain fatty acids (MCT's), fiber, omega-3, vitamins, minerals and protein. The latter comes from Milk Protein Concentrate, which has 80% of casein:20% of whey, without fats nor sugar.

Recipe Tips: Protein Pudding with Coconut Milk, Chia Seeds and Papaya

  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 minute
  • Portion size: 1 Bowl
  • Number of servings: 1
  • Cooking style: American

Ingredients

  • 1/2 papaya cut in dices
  • 1 spoonful of chia seeds
  • 1 scoop of Milk Protein Concentrate 85% by HSNraw
  • 200ml of Coconut Cream
Nutritional Information per serving
Calories:479.6kcal
Fat:34g
of which saturates:32g
Carbohydrates:17.9g
of which sugars:7g
Fiber:3g
Proteins:25.5g
Salt:2.2g

How to make: Protein Pudding with Coconut Milk, Chia Seeds and Papaya

  1. Take a bowl and mix the protein powder, the coconut cream and the chia seeds. Stir until you get a homogeneous mass.
  2. Make it on the same day in the morning and leave it in the fridge.
  3. At night, you just have to add the papaya and stir. You can add some cinnamon if you want.
  4. A fresh and appetizing recipe!

Contraindications

If you are allergic to coconuts, it does not necessarily mean that you are allergic to coconut milk.

However, you should start taking a very small amount and see how your body reacts.

Where can I buy coconut milk?

You can buy coconut milk in many conventional supermarkets.

But the best choice is to make your own coconut milk:

  1. Mix 1 liter of water with 400gr of grated coconut and boil the mix.
  2. Turn down the heat and let the blend settle until its volume drops to a half.
  3. Use a sieve to get rid of any coconut lumps and DONE! You have your natural coconut milk for your cooking recipes.

Bibliography

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