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Is Coconut Milk Good For You?

Updated on July 13, 2016
Sam Dreiberg profile image

A young software engineer passionate about being a writer, sharing thoughts, and spreading knowledge.

Coconut milk, a liquid that comes from the grated meat of a brown coconut, is not coconut water. The colour and rich taste of coconut milk are attributed to its high oil content, most of which is saturated fat. Coconut milk is a popular food ingredient used in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Southern China, the Caribbean and the north of South America.

Fresh coconut milk has a consistency and mildly sweet taste similar to that of cow's milk, and if properly prepared, should have little or no coconut odour. It may be consumed raw by itself, or used as a milk substitute in tea, coffee, or baking by vegans or people allergic to animal milk. It can also be mixed with fruit to make a yoghurt substitute.

Traditionally, coconut milk is acquired through the grating of the white inner flesh of a brown coconut, and mixing the resulting substance with a small amount of water to suspend the fat present in the grated meat.

Canned coconut milk is also available in the market. Manufacturers of canned coconut milk typically combine thin and thick milk, with the addition of water as a filler. Once opened, cans of coconut milk must be refrigerated.

Source

Nutritional Value

In a 100 ml (gram) portion, coconut milk provides 230 calories and contains:

  • 68% water
  • 24% total fat (21 grams of saturated fat)
  • 6% carbohydrates
  • 2% protein

Coconut milk is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of manganese (44% DV) and a good source (10-19% DV) of phosphorus, iron and magnesium, with no other nutrients in significant content.

Health Benefits

Coconut milk is rich in vitamins and vital nutrients and can be used for various health purposes. The health benefits that can be obtained from coconut milk are as follows:

  1. Builds strong bones - Coconut milk has the same amount of calcium as any regular milk. But it is very rich in phosphorous which help in contributing much strength to the bones.
  2. Helps in lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol - Coconuts are one of the best sources of lauric acid which has antibacterial and antiviral activities. Many studies have been conducted over the time linking coconut milk with improved cholesterol levels and heart health. One of the studies was conducted by National Centre for Biotechnology Information.
  3. Treats Arthritis - Selenium, an antioxidant found in coconut milk helps in soothing arthritis. It relieves arthritis symptoms by controlling free radicals and decreasing the risk of joint inflammation.
  4. Improves Digestion and Relieves Constipation - The electrolytes and healthy fats present in coconut milk are quite effective in improving digestion. Many studies state that good digestion is vital for treating constipation.
  5. Boosts the immune system - Coconut milk is packed with lauric acid, capric acid as well as antimicrobial lipids which together boost the immune system within the body. This is because all these nutrients have antibacterial, antiviral and also have anti fungal properties and thus help the body to fight various diseases, flu, and infections.
  6. Helps in soothing Nervous System - Coconut is a very good source of magnesium which helps to calm the nerves and maintain normal blood pressure as well as prevent nerve cells from becoming overactive by virtue being stimulated by calcium. It results in the reduction of muscle contraction, thus making you feel more relaxed.

Hair Benefits

Just like coconut oil, coconut milk provide high amount of protein to the hair. Various benefits of coconut milk for hair are as follows:

  1. Hair Conditioning - Coconut oil is a great conditioner for hair. It provides longer and thicker hair as well as add volume to the hair. It can be used with shampoo, with conditioner or individually.
  2. Hair Nourishment - Coconut milk provides nourishment to the hair right from the roots and also forms a natural moisturizer to the hair. It is best for repairing damaged hair. It also provides a cooling effect to the scalp. You can apply some fresh homemade coconut milk and massage for three to five minutes. Leave it for 20 minutes and shampoo your hair as usual. This will boost the hair follicles and stimulate hair growth.
  3. Baldness Prevention - As coconut oil provides longer and thicker volume, it is very useful in preventing baldness. It also adds volume to the hair.
  4. Hair Detangling - Coconut milk acts as a natural remedy for detangling your hair. All you need to do is rub some coconut milk while combing your hair on the tangles and comb right through it.

Coconut Milk and Weight Loss

As a rich source of fiber and saturated fats, coconut milk is a very filling, fat-burning food. Fats provide the feeling of being full and satisfied and can help prevent overeating, snacking, food cravings and potentially weight gain.

If taken in moderated amount, coconut milk is very effective in controlling the weight.

Skin Benefits

Coconut oil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron and natural proteins which contribute to a smooth and radiant skin. Drinking coconut milk or applying it directly on your skin, both reap huge benefits for your skin. Some of the benefits are:

  1. Anti-Ageing Benefits - Coconut milk keeps skin mosturized and hydrated. It also maintains the elasticity of the skin and prevents wrinkles as well as fine lines. It is one of the best natural treatment for pre-mature skin ageing.
  2. Natural Mosturizer - Coconut milk is very good for dry skin. It restores the moisture of the skin and keep it hydrated.
  3. Sunburns Treatment - Apply and keep coconut oil on the burned skin or rashes overnight. It reduces pains and removes rashes.

Possible Side Effects

  1. Portion control is important as coconut milk has a high calorie and fat content. The fat is surely a healthy type but is still good to consume in a moderated amount.
  2. Although not much but coconut milk does contain some potassium. People with kidney problems should consult their doctors before consuming.

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    • Sam Dreiberg profile image
      Author

      Sam Dreiberg 13 months ago from India

      Thanks Rachelle. Now you know it does. And its more nutritional and beneficial than dairy milk. Time for a switch may be... ;)

    • Rachelle Rider profile image

      Rachelle Rider 13 months ago

      Very informative. I did not know that Coconut milk has the same amount of calcium as dairy milk.