Coconut milk

Coconut trees belong to the palm family and they are abundantly present in many countries, especially Asia. One coconut along with its outer cover is one whole seed. If you plant one coconut on the ground, it can grow up to become a big coconut tree.

Once you break the coconut, you get coconut water. That is very tasty but do not confuse that for coconut milk. Coconut milk is extracted from the grated coconut which is inside the shell. This coconut milk is very rich in saturated fat and is very creamy in nature. Hence a favorite for many chefs!!

Saturated fat content may vary from 20% to 22% depending on the thickness of the milk. Other than fat, coconut milk contains – Vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6, Calcium, iron, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

How to extract coconut milk

To get good coconut milk, you need to choose a coconut where the shell is not dark brown in color. Preferably whitish or sandal in color. It means, not a fully ripe one.

  • Break the coconut into two halves and remove the water from it
  • Grate the coconut from the shell and keep them in a bowl
  • You can grind the grated coconut by adding very little water in a mixer to make it even smoother
  • Now place a cheesecloth above another bowl (like a strainer)
  • Pour the ground coconut on the cheesecloth and strain the milk from it by squeezing the cloth
  • You can grind the same coconut chunk again with little water to get the full extract from it

This coconut milk can be diluted with water or used as it is for consumption. Coconut milk needs to be consumed fresh and it loses its goodness if stored for later purposes. Coconut milk is also available in cartons in supermarkets.

Coconut main

100ml of packed (canned) coconut milk contains 154 calories, 1.4g protein, 15g fat, and 3.4g carbohydrates.

Let’s see what health benefits coconut milk can provide.

Improves heart health

There is a feeling among everyone that coconut and coconut products increase the fat and cholesterol levels in our body. It is a myth!

Coconut milk is rich in calories but it actually helps your heart to function effectively. Coconut milk is rich in lauric acid. This acid is a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent. This is also a type of fatty acid that creates good cholesterol by reducing bad cholesterol and improves heart health.

Reduces blood pressure

The minerals present in coconut milk are responsible for circulating blood in our bodies. While creating good blood flow to all body parts, it also reduces blood pressure. The magnesium in coconut milk helps to fight stress and tension in muscles.

Powerful anti-oxidant

Coconut milk contains anti-oxidants that can help you fight free radicals effectively. These anti-oxidants can also keep you young and increase your life span.

coconut oil
Click on the image for Source

Cures anemia

Coconut milk can provide 22% of iron which is required on a daily basis. When consumed regularly, coconut milk can effectively fight anemia. Coconut milk can be consumed directly or it can be included in cooking.

Helps to lose fat

Coconut milk contains fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). This MCT can help our body to use energy effectively and it can also increase physical stamina. This will help you build muscles, rather than gaining fat. When you consume coconut milk in the morning, it will help you reduce the appetite, by providing more energy.

If you want to involve in any physical activity, you can have a cup of coconut milk without sugar before an hour. This will increase performance.

Prevents fatigue

Coconut milk contains all important minerals that can maintain blood volume and flow in the body. It can protect your heart and increase heart health too. Consuming coconut milk when you feel dehydrated can help you feel better, as it contains a high amount of electrolytes. Coconut milk can also stop diarrhea by calming the internal system.

Cures Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Coconut milk can help your intestines to function smoothly because of the electrolytes and good fat content in it. It can create good bowel movement and hence cure constipation. People who are suffering from IBS can regularly consume coconut milk to find relief.

Coconut milk
Source: Flickr.com ‘John Revo Puno’

Treats Arthritis

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that is highly present in coconut milk. Selenium helps in treating joint pain and inflammation in joints. Coconut milk can help people with arthritis to relieve pain.

Boosts immunity

Lauric acid in Coconut milk gets converted into monolaurin once they get into our body. Researchers believe that monolaurin is a compound that fights viruses and bacteria that causes herpes, influenza, and sometimes HIV too.

Coconut milk for Hair

  • To rejuvenate – The fat content in coconut milk can restore dry, brittle, and damaged hair.

How to apply:

  1. Extract fresh coconut milk at home and apply it on the scalp.
  2. Leave it for 20 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.
  • To treat baldness – This method can stimulate the growth of new hairs. You can do this process once a week.

How to apply:

  1. Add water to coconut milk in 2:1 ratio
  2. Mix camphor with water to get camphor liquid
  3. Add a few drops of camphor extract the water and coconut milk
  4. Apply this mix on the bald spots and gently massage without any pressure
  5. Rinse with lukewarm water and use mild herbal shampoo
  • Hair Conditioner – It works as a good hair conditioner which is completely organic

How to apply:

  1. Extract fresh coconut milk as per your requirement
  2. Do not dilute the milk
  3. Apply the fresh milk on the full length of your hair after a shampoo wash
  4. Leave it for 20 minutes and wash it off with lukewarm water

Coconut milk for skin

  • Skin moisturizer – The fatty acids in coconut milk can hydrate your skin and also keep them moisturized for a longer duration
  1. Extract fresh coconut milk
  2. Apply the milk on the skin with a cotton ball
  3. Leave it for 30 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water
  4. You can also add rose water or rose petals along with the milk for fragrance

This can be applied on the whole body too.

  • Treats sunburns – The cooling effect of coconut milk can help you treat and cure sunburn
  1. Extract fresh coconut milk
  2. Apply the milk on the affected area with a cotton ball
  3. You can leave it overnight for better results
  • Anti-aging agent – The anti-oxidants in coconut milk helps your skin stay young and fresh.
  1. Extract fresh coconut milk
  2. Apply on the skin and leave it for 20 minutes
  3. Wash it off with cool water

This can be done on a daily basis.

The goodness and health benefits do not stop with these, you can explore more by using it personally!

Sources

Bach, A. C. & Babayan, V. K., 1982. Medium-chain triglycerides: an update. The American Journal of CLINICAL NUTRITION, 36(5), pp. 950-962.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/36/5/950/4693611

Bryan Brewer, H., 2004. Increasing HDL Cholesterol Levels. The NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL of MEDICINE, pp. 1491-1494.

https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp048023

Fang, Y.-Z., Yang, S. & Wu, G., 2002. Free radicals, antioxidants, and nutrition. Nutrition, 18(10), pp. 872-879.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900702009164

Raghavendra, S. N. & Raghavarao, K. S. M. S., 2010. Effect of different treatments for the destabilization of coconut milk emulsion. Journal of Food Engineering, 97(3), pp. 341-347.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0260877409005342

Rayman, M. P., 2000. The importance of selenium to human health. THE LANCET, 356(9225), pp. 233-241.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673600024909

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.