Coconuts are of one of the most nutritious naturally occurring foods that you can find on the earth. You should not be put off with the fat content, as the coconut is abundant in healthy fats which actually work to help manage your weight and wellbeing.
Approximately 50 percent of the fat contained in pure coconut milk is a beneficial fat named lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that is easily absorbed by the body which is used as energy supplies.
As coconut milk has a high calorific content you should try to mix it with smoothies and food recipes. However, to get the full benefit of the coconut milk’s nutritious value you should consume the natural full-fat variety which contains the beneficial fats.
|Per 100ml (RDI=Recommended Daily Intake)||Coconut Milk (Full-fat from Cold Pressed)||Cow’s (Whole) Milk|
|Calories||169 kcal||64 kcal|
Improves Heart Health
Lauric acid is also beneficial for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. According to many studies, lauric acid is a protective type of fatty acid which helps improve heart health by removing bad cholesterol (LDLs) and protecting the breakdown of beneficial tissue cells. (1)
Growth and Repair
Studies find that medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) fatty acids found in coconut milk increase energy expenditure and help enhance physical performance.(2) In addition, coconut milk is plentiful in magnesium and potassium which is great for replenishing electrolytes to improve blood flow, maintain fluidity, repair and strengthen tissue cells. (3)
The healthy fats in coconut milk make you feel fuller for longer which helps with weight management as well as improve the composition of your body. (4)
The electrolytes in milk help to improve the lining of the digestive tract treating and helps to relieve constipation, improve gut health and preventing conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. (5)
Manages Blood Sugar
Lauric acid and other fats in coconut milk can reduce the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream, which controls insulin levels and prevents sugar spikes and the risk of diabetes.
Coconut milk’s MCTs can help lower inflammation and hence help reduce the risk of join pain. (6)
What type of coconut milk?
Coconut milk can generally be purchased from your local supermarket in bottled or tinned form. The healthiest type of coconut milks are organic, cold-pressed which contain no additives, no sweeteners or preservatives and are not pasteurised.
You can also buy watered down versions of coconut milk which typically have a lower calorific intake, but are low in the healthy fats such as lauric acid which is essential for the protection of cells in your body against bacteria and viruses.
How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk
Making your own coconut milk is always the freshest and healthiest option and here are the steps you should follow:
- First look for fresh young coconuts or fresh coconut meat which has been sealed and opened for no longer than 5 days.
Recommendation: shake the fresh coconuts and be sure to hear some liquid moving around as this indicates its freshness.
- A sturdy cleaver should be used to crack open a coconut, alternatively, you can use a hammer or mallet. Hit the top of the coconut using one of these tools and you should hear a crack.
Recommendation: You should be in a clear space and watch out for your fingers!
- Strain 1he coconut water out and keep as this is a valuable source of nutrition which can be added to smoothie recipes.
- You will then be left with the coconut pieces containing their white flesh/meat attached to the inedible shell. Remove the flesh either by cutting it out with a paring knife or continue to hit the back of the coconut until the meat falls off from the shell.
- Rinse the coconut meat well, and chop it into small pieces. Then add your coconut meat to a blender or food processor along with about two cups of water.
- Blend it into a thick liquid, and then strain it using a strainer so that you can separate the coconut meat from the coconut milk. Squeeze the coconut meat well with your hands to get the most coconut milk to strain out.
- Keep refrigerated, cover and use within 3-5 days.
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