Like coconut oil and coconut water, coconut milk is another common product made using coconut. Coconut milk generally confused with coconut water. Coconut water is the naturally occurring water inside a coconut while coconut milk is a "manufactured" product. Coconut milk is produced using flesh of coconut (grated), mixing it with water and then squeezing it to extract the pulp from it, the remaining liquid is called coconut milk. Another difference between coconut water and coconut milk is that of colour. While coconut water is almost clear, coconut milk is white in colour as normal dairy milk we consume.
What makes coconut milk unique?
One of the most important characteristic of coconut milk is its close resemblance to coconut oil. Like coconut oil, coconut milk is rich in fat (which is unlike coconut water which is very low fat). Fat in coconut milk varies based on what type of coconut milk one is considering, low fat coconut milk has less than 14% fat content while in normal coconut milk it varies from 17% to 24%. The fat percentage is controlled by the quality of water used in the coconut milk.
Coconut milk is great for people looking for low-carb foods as it has very low carbohydrate content. Coconut milk has very low sugar content too, research shows the sugar percentage is even lower than that in dairy milk!
Benefits of Coconut milk
Skin care : Coconut milk is great for skin care. Topical use of coconut milk, just like coconut oil can help in making skin soft and shiny. Coconut milk is good for dry skin where it helps in treating dryness and flaking. Coconut milk is also helpful with treating sunburns, cuts, burns etc. Coconut milk also has anti-ageing properties, it helps in removing wrinkles and prevents sagging of skin.
Hair care : Coconut milk is great for controlling dandruff. Coconut milk is beneficial for the health of both scalp and hair. Coconut milk nourishes the hair from head to toe and make the shiny and healthy looking. Fermented coconut milk can also be used to get rid of hair lice.
Coconut milk benefits to heart : Coconut milk is good for heart even if it has high fat content. This is because it has lauric acid which helps in preventing cholesterol and heart problems.
Weight loss : Coconut milk is also helpful in weight loss. It has almost no sugar content in it. Further, coconut milk is mostly medium chained fatty acids which are not stored in fat cells but are directly burned and converted into energy. These medium chained fatty acids also help in burning of long chain fatty acids which our body consumes from other food sources. Thus, coconut milk slows fat deposition and helps in fat burning too.
Strengthens immune system : Another great benefit of coconut milk is that it helps in boosting body's immune system as it contains capric acid, caprylic acid, lauric acid and antimicrobial lipids. All these have great anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties which helps body combat various disease effectively.
Helps in digestion : Coconut promotes good digestion and thus ensuring digestion related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, general upset stomach, etc. do not occur. The reason for this benefit is again the ant-fungal, anti-bacterial properties of coconut milk which help fight various bacteria, fungi, causing stomach diseases.
Great for lactose intolerant people : Milk and nut allergies are two main allergies found across the globe. While some people are allergic to milk, others do not prefer consuming dairy products because they do not want to consume processed milk or are pure vegetarians. For such people coconut milk can be a great substitute, providing them with feel and taste of milk. Allergies to coconut and coconut products are rare and thus, one can safely consume coconut milk even one is lactose intolerant.
Coconut milk helps fight infection : Topical use of coconut milk can help in treating skin disorders such as eczema, skin dryness, etc. It also helps in repairing of skin's protective layer to fight external fungi, bacteria and virus from entering our body. Consuming coconut milks is found to be helpful in case of ulcers, UTI, throat infections, etc.
Healthy bones : Coconut milk, like coconut oil helps in absorption of various essential minerals (calcium, magnesium, etc.) which are necessary for health bones. This in long term helps in prevention of disease such as osteoporosis.
Healthy teeth : Coconut milk is also great for healthy teeth as it helps in proper calcium absorption by body essential for our teeth.
How to use coconut milk?
The best part regarding coconut milk is ease of using it. Coconut milk can be taken directly (as dairy milk) and its cream can be used as we use dairy cream. This is not all, one can add coconut milk to make various recipes (people in Thailand and Philippines use coconut milk extensively in their meal preparation). One can also use coconut milk topically and apply on skin and hair.
Where to find coconut milk?
Coconut milk is a processed product and is easily available in grocery stores across the globe. As there are various kinds of coconut milk available, it may become difficult to choose one. It is advised to go for high fat coconut milk, as low fact coconut milk has additives such gaur gum etc.
Coconut milk is full of health benefits. People who cannot use coconut oil for various reasons can go for coconut milk to get virtually the same benefits as coconut oil. Coconut milk is available easily and it is highly recommended that you make it part of your healthy diet as soon as you can!