Is coconut milk good for health?
American actor and director Dustin Hoffman once said, “The two basic items to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk.” He wasn’t wrong. Also known as “miracle milk”, coconut milk is a creamy mixture known for its natural sweetness.
Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which is found naturally in immature green coconuts. Unlike coconut water, milk does not occur naturally. Instead, the solid coconut flesh is mixed with water to make coconut milk, which is about 50% water. By contrast, coconut water is about 94% water. It contains much less fat and far fewer nutrients than coconut milk. Not just in a variety of recipes, but coconut milk can also be used for diverse skin and hair treatments.
What is coconut milk?
Coconut milk is a milky-white substance extracted from grated mature coconut flesh. Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm scientifically known as Cocos nucifera.
Coconut milk is a high-calorie food.
About 93% of its calories come from fat, including saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Coconut milk is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. One cup (240 grams) contains :
- Calories: 552
- Fat: 57 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Fibre: 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
More than just taste
Most of us are aware of the fact that coconut milk is delicious to taste. But, more than anything else, it is one of the oldest and most natural ingredients that have been used for centuries to treat skin problems, scalp issues, and damaged hair. The milk of coconut is said to contain fats, proteins, sodium, calcium, potassium, and more. Together, these can improve blood circulation in the scalp. Hence, coconut milk, in particular, is one of the easiest and most nourishing forms that can be used to get gorgeous hair.
Coconut Milk Benefits
The benefits of coconut milk are many. Let us take a look at the few significant benefits of it.
1. Helps Increase stamina
Coconut milk is a high-calorie food. A calorie is the energy released when your body digests and absorbs food. More calories mean more energy you get from a particular food. Hence, calories play a significant role in enhancing stamina.
One of the many benefits of coconut milk is that it is rich in electrolytes. The nutritional boost helps you retain the lost fluid. In addition, it allows you to sustain the workout load.
Coconut milk benefits in reducing fatigue and building muscles. In addition, a balanced diet with coconut milk can improve your endurance. It can also act as a tasty post-workout snack.
2. It helps in boosting immunity
People in southeast Asia have always put their faith in Ayurveda and other naturally occurring means of medicine. While the southern parts of India use coconut oil in almost every regional dish, coconut milk is used as an immunity booster worldwide. That is because of its nutritional benefits.
A recent study shows that eating coconut milk porridge can inhibit oxidative damage of protein and DNA in your body. Oxidative damage can have a severe effect on protein structure and integrity. It can lead to cell damage. In addition, certain amino acids in the body are susceptible to reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can damage proteins.
We are what our genetic makeup is. Thus DNA damage may result in life-threatening issues. Excess DNA oxidation can cause certain diseases and cancers, it may also inhibit this process from the beginning.
The milk has Lauric acid and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It reduces the risk of infection and boosts the immune response and also helps fight ulcers and infection of the stomach and its linings.
3. Helps in Weight loss
The technical term for fat is triglyceride. It has two primary purposes, they either burn for energy or gets stored as body fat. For example, coconut milk has medium-chain triglycerides. A study confirms that consumption of MCT oil as part of a weight-loss plan improves weight loss compared with olive oil. Therefore, you can successfully include it in a weight-loss diet.
This plant-based milk contains medium-chain triglycerides. Due to their shorter chain length, medium-chain triglycerides are more rapidly broken down and absorbed into the body. Therefore, it makes them a quick energy source and less likely to be stored as fat.
Among other coconut milk benefits, it is also rich in saturated fats and electrolytes. Therefore, it may be just what you need to lose those few extra kgs. It makes you feel full without adding to the glycemic load. It is less likely to turn into fat and more likely to make you even more active.
4. Helpful for Muscle Health
Coconut milk is an excellent source of triglyceride, which is medium-chain. A study reveals that it helps treat muscle dysfunction and exercise impairment. In addition, it preserves high temperature-induced impairment in exercise performance and muscle function. It leads to a subsequent increase in mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism in the skeletal muscle.
5. Promotes Heart Health
A Happy heart means a healthy life. But, unfortunately, with the pace of life speeding up, health often gets behind. Health science is advancing now, and we know almost everything that can cause a cardiovascular accident or a stroke. But can you control all of them?
Some of the factors that can increase the risk of heart diseases are:
- Blood pressure
- High cholesterol /atherosclerosis
- Weight gain
Although coconut milk is high in saturated fats, some studies show that it benefits heart health via other means. For example, coconut milk decreases LDL, which is bad cholesterol. It also increases HDL, which is good cholesterol.
Studies show that plasma triglyceride levels predict cardiovascular disease risk. These diseases are one of the most commonly growing reasons for the early death rate. It is especially among the young population indulging in junk food. This plant-based milk is perfect for keto diets. These diets help maintain desired weight and act as a healthy choice for maintaining heart health.
Medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk break down quickly and reduce the risk of being stored as fat. In addition, it decreases the overall build-up in the arteries. As a result, the free and enhanced blood flow promotes proper body oxygenation.