Coconut Milk Benefits For Health

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Coconut is a sweet nut that can be found in all tropical islands, North and South America, Asia, Australia and lots more places. In fact almost everywhere you turn you can find a coconut or the canned coconut milk.

Coconut is a nut and the kernel is white with a brown outer layer. Of all the nuts you can find coconut is probably the largest and the sweetest. Cashews are a close second when it comes to the sweet flavor.

The coconut has many uses and is widely used throughout the world in many cuisines. There are thousands of dishes which include coconut whether it be the flaked coconut, toasted coconut or the coconut milk.

Some uses for coconut are:

  • To drink as milk
  • Rice and peas Jamaican style
  • Sauces and stews - stewed peas Jamaican style, garlic coconut sauce
  • Entres like Lobster in coconut stew, clams in coconut
  • Deserts such as ice-cream, pies, cakes and more
  • Appetizers

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A little about the coconut

There have been quite a lot of debate as to where the coconut originated but based on early documentation it is believed that the coco nucifera was originally from some part of Asia such as Southern Asia and Malaysia.

The nut was also found in the Caribbean and thrives well in the tropics. It seems that the debate as to the origin of the plant can be proved in the use of the plant. The Asians including Indians, Chinese and others were some of the first to use this nut in their food. In the Caribbean it is widely used in many ways for many things.

Every part of the coconut can be used:

  • The husk which is the outer skin with all the hair is used to make coir. Coir is used to twine the inner spring of mattresses before they are wrapped with sponge. The use of coir is less today as inner spring mattresses become less popular. The coir can also be used to make rope and it is used in making mulch for gardening. If you use a saw to cut the tip of the husk off the coconut when dry you get a floor brush which people in the Caribbean used to shine their floors.
  • The hard shell of the coconut is not edible but can be used to eat from if cut properly. This is done by cutting the coconut with a saw before removing the edible part. You then leave the shell to dry then polish with a piece of sandpaper. The shell of the coconut makes great bowls or cups. The shell also make great ornaments or jewelry.
  • The nut of the coconut can be used to make many dishes including appetizers, entres and desserts.
  • The water in the coconut can be had in two ways, either when the coconut is fully ripe or before the nut forms. The water before the nut is fully formed is known as jelly water and this is the best way to have it as all the nutrients and flavor is in the water.

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Health benefits of coconut milk

Ulcers: In a study, rats with gastric ulceration (of course they were drug induced) were given coconut milk and coconut water. The set that was given the coconut milk saw a 54% reduction in ulcer while the set given the coconut water saw a 39% reduction.

Cardiovascular health: Can saturate fat be really good for your heart? The saturated fat found in coconut is called Lauric acid and this has been found to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.

Promote Good Cholesterol: The lauric acid found in coconut milk is found to increase high density lipoprotein which is the good cholesterol. This definitely will help to promote a better cholesterol balance by reducing the bad cholesterol.

Weight Maintenance: Coconut contains what are known as medium chain fatty acids which the body processes quite differently than other saturated fats. These fatty acids are essential to help maintaining a healthy body weight by not increasing bad cholesterol levels. This is only suggested when you already have the weight you require. This is not conclusive.

Additional info

Calcium - 4% of the required daily value

Vitamin C - 11%

Iron - 22%


It is not recommended to have coconut milk in high quantities and the calories in one serving makes it a full meal. Have coconut milk in diluted quantities. To reduce the weight gain effects of coconut milk you should use it in meals instead of having it just so.

A young coconut tree near an old one.
A young coconut tree near an old one. | Source

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Comments 31 comments

Brigitte Thompson profile image

Brigitte Thompson 4 years ago from Austin, TX

great information I am always fascinated by natures way of healing.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thank you Brigitte, me too. I love using products found in nature to assist with ailments. Thanks for stopping by.


MikeNV profile image

MikeNV 4 years ago from Henderson, NV

I've tried a lot of brands of coconut milk and some of them do not even taste like coconut. I wonder how so much of what is being sold even passes for coconut milk. Trader Joes in the refrigerator section tastes like "thick water".

What has been your experience with the different brands.

Have you tasted it fresh from the coconut?


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Although we aren't in the area of Peru that produces coconuts, we can find them readily and they're used in the jungle for all the things you mention. Now I feel like going to buy a coconut! Thank you for sharing all these interesting facts.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Lots of great information on the coconut! I am learning to add it to a variety of dishes to enjoy the health benefits that you mention.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Really good info here Cardisa. I had not tasted coconut milk before reading and trying your recipe for Jamaican style rice and peas. I t has delicious flavor. We keep some on hand now.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hello MikeNV, I have never drank coconut from a tin. I live in Jamaica and the best way to have coconut is freshly made. We hardly drink it as milk though, we use it mostly to cook. But our brand of coconut milk from the tin does make the food taste great. I would suggest the GRACE brand from Jamaica.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hello Vespawoolf, yeah you should go out an buy a coconut...lol. Have you used it to make some of your meals?


sandrabusby profile image

sandrabusby 4 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Thanks for this hub, Cardisa. I have only acquired a taste for coconut as an adult, but I've never had the opportunity to drink the milk from a real coconut. Maybe someday.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Teaches, coconut does make a meal taste so much better. I like curries with coconut as well.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi there Xstatic, I am so happy you tried the rice and peas. You can try coconut and shrimp or even chicken.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Sandrabusby, I hope you do get to taste the real coconut milk. You can use it to make rice and so many other dishes as well.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hello The Finance Hub, thanks for stopping by. Coconut milk is definitely good for you but not in excess at all.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Sometimes I make fresh coconut milk for my curries. I've used the leftover milk in smoothies, but I know that it's high in fat so like you said, I try to eat it in moderation.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this. I liked coconut milk long before I found it was good for me.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Mhatter99, coconut is really tasty.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Vespawoolf, I love coconut smoothies and coconut icecream as well. Coconut is yummy.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

I love coconut.. i always have a glass of cold juice every lunch! So fantastic fruit.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hey Unknown Spy, you know what I love and it is great for you with less calories and fat? The coconut water. I t is refreshing, less calories, fat and still very good on the stomach.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

coconut ice cream...that gives me an idea for a new recipe hub! Thank you!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

You are welcome, looking forward to reading it!


Efficiency Man profile image

Efficiency Man 4 years ago

I love coconut. One thing to be weary of though is that coconut will not protect your teeth like cow milk will. At least according to Dr. Ellie Phillips DDS, coconut water has a damaging effect on teeth due to the acidity. That doesn't mean you shouldn't ingest it, but you should follow it up with a small amount of a tooth-protective food.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I've never tasted coconut milk. I love the flaked on cakes and pies. I always thought coconut was fattening. I see it has good nutritional values in moderation.. Thank's for the info. Cardisa..Cheers


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Efficiency Man, I don't know where Dr. Ellie Phillips got her information from but coconut water or milk is not acidic, coconut is an alkaline product. Remember that coconut is a nut a not a fruit. It has no fruit acids. Similar to almonds or peanuts it has no fruit acids in it.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Ruby, coconut is fattening and must be used in moderation. I would rather use it to cook than drink the milk directly. I also love coconut water as it has little fat and is very refreshing. Thanks for stopping by.


bluebird profile image

bluebird 4 years ago

I have been enjoying extra virgin coconut oil as a lotion, it is wonderful. But as far as the milk goes, not so much. Your hub makes me wanna give it a try as it's gotta be good for the body as you point out so well. Thanks!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hello Bluebird, the coconut milk tastes great but must be had in moderation. I love using it cook with. I love coconut oil and it's great for the skin as well.


Efficiency Man profile image

Efficiency Man 4 years ago

Hi Cardisa, briefly looking into that I am not sure either. I could be wrong about her saying that it is acidic...maybe she said it contains phytic acid. Either way, I think her point was just that it isn't an exemplary tooth-protective food. I don't think it is anything to worry about. Thanks for setting me straight.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Not to worry Efficiency man. I am also trying to look into it to see if there is anything to it.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

I'm so happy to read about these great benefits of coconut milk because I cook with it A LOT! My grandma always made her own coconut milk, using grated coconut flesh and warm water. It was so old-school and so good! I don't have such patience and dedication, though. I just buy the canned version of it. hehehe


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hey OM, we make our own coconut milk as well by using what is called a grater. Nothing beats the real deal.

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    Carolee Samuda (Cardisa)1,134 Followers
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    Carolee is a passionate writer with a love for learning and teaching. She is a published author, poet, blogger and content creator.



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