Coconut Milk: The Perfect Ingredient to Boost Your Health in 2019
Written by our in house nutritionist Alyssa Horton, RHN
Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts. The milk has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture. Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which is found naturally in immature, green coconuts. Unlike coconut water, the milk does not occur naturally. Instead, solid coconut flesh is mixed with water and blended to make coconut milk.
About 93% of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s). MCT’s have been shown to supplement weight loss, promote fat oxidation, increase energy, and much more. Unlike longer-chain fats, MCTs go from the digestive tract directly to your liver, where they're used for energy or ketone production. They are less likely to be stored as fat, and have been shown to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels by lowering LDL cholesterol when consumed regularly.
Because coconuts contain minerals important for circulation and controlling blood flow, coconut milk is also useful for lowering blood pressure and keeping blood vessels flexible, elastic, and free from plaque buildup. Magnesium can help combat stress and muscle tension while aiding in circulation and keeping muscles relaxed, which is important for preventing heart attacks and strokes.
Medium-chain triglyceride fatty acids found in coconut milk can increase energy expenditure and help enhance physical performance, which is great when starting a new fitness routine. Following exercise, muscles need plenty of nutrients to repair broken down tissue and grow back even stronger. Coconut milk’s MCTs can help lower inflammation, which is associated with painful conditions like arthritis and general joint and muscle pains or aches. Coconut milk also provides important minerals and electrolytes needed to maintain blood volume, regulate heart health, and prevent dehydration and muscle aches and cramps.
Because coconut milk is high in healthy fats, it is a very filling and fat burning food! Fats help fill you up and prevent you from overeating or snacking throughout the day, which derails your efforts to improve your body composition and reach your health goals.
Coconut Milk is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. Just one cup contains:
Fat: 57 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Carbs: 13 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI
Folate: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 22% of the RDI
Magnesium: 22% of the RDI
Potassium: 18% of the RDI
Copper: 32% of the RDI
Manganese: 110% of the RDI
Selenium: 21% of the RDI
*RDI - Recommended Daily Intake
How To Choose The Best Coconut Milk
Read the label: Whenever possible, choose a product that contains only coconut and water. Many brands will contain added sugars, preservatives, and additives.
Choose BPA-free cans: Purchase coconut milk from companies that use BPA-free cans. This information will usually be displayed on the packing, or can be found using a quick google search!
Make your own: For the freshest, healthiest coconut milk, make your own by blending 1.5–2 cups (355–470 ml) of unsweetened shredded coconut with 4 cups of hot water, then strain through a cheesecloth.
Coconut Rice with Tumeric & Black Beans
1 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk taking the fat first ( the thick part of the coconut milk)
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
In a rice cooker add all ingredients in except for parsley which should be stirred in once rice is cooked fully.
If cooking on the stove. Add Part A in pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Turn down to a simmer on low-medium heat and place lid on. Let simmer for 40-45 minutes. Lift lid and add part B, put lid back on and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Ready to serve.
Coconut Milk is a diverse ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of dishes. At HealthFare, Coconut Milk can be found in several of our menu items including our Thai Lime Peanut Sauce, Apple Coconut Curry Sauce, and our newest menu item, the Coconut Curried Yam Soup!
This blended soup combines the warmth of curry spices, the silkiness of coconut milk, and the health benefits of yams all into one fresh and healthy dish! Cozy up this winter with a warming, wholesome cup of soup for the perfect post-holiday meal!