Benefits of Coconut Milk

To answer the Pink Agendist question regarding coconut milk I found this article on healthyeating.com that I found to be very useful.  You can also go to the website of www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com and they have info on their coconut milk products as well.

Coconut milk, which boasts a variety of vitamins and minerals, may have potential as a tool for weight maintenance.
Coconut milk, which boasts a variety of vitamins and minerals, may have potential as a tool for weight maintenance.

Coconut milk — liquid derived from the meat of mature coconuts — can be a tasty addition to many dishes, and it’s useful as a dairy-free alternative to regular milk. Despite a high fat content, whether you opt for canned coconut milk or a coconut milk beverage, you will reap the benefits of coconut milk’s vitamins and minerals and even its potential for weight loss.

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Traditional Canned vs. Beverage

One cup of canned coconut milk contains 445 calories and 48 grams of fat. The saturated fat content in 1 cup of canned coconut milk vastly exceeds the daily recommended intake put forth by the American Heart Association. According to a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, any form of coconut milk is high in saturated fat, but some coconut milk beverages may be a more healthful alternative to the traditional, canned variety. There are also canned options which are lower in fat. The Los Angeles Times reports at least one unsweetened coconut milk product, marketed as a beverage, has far fewer calories and saturated fat than traditional canned coconut milk, which is often used for cooking. Some of these beverage products are also fortified with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and other vitamins and minerals to make them a healthy, dairy-free alternative.

Weight Loss

Coconut milk contains MCFAs, or medium-chain fatty acids, which differ from LCFAs, or long-chain fatty acids, found in meat and dairy products, as MCFAs contain fewer carbon atoms in a row. Animal studies, noted by The Los Angeles Times, revealed MCFAs are metabolized by the liver, while LCFAs remain as fatty deposits in the body. MCFAs were subsequently studied as a potential tool for weight loss. According to a study published in 2009 by the American Diabetes Association, dietary supplementation with MCFAs, such as those found in coconut milk, could help fight obesity and prevent peripheral insulin resistance — a condition in which certain tissues fail to respond to insulin. The Los Angeles Times reports despite studies promoting the weight loss potential of MCFAs, there is no evidence they are necessarily healthier for the heart than other saturated fats, which raise dangerous LDL cholesterol levels.

Minerals

Coconut milk is a rich source of certain minerals, including iron and potassium. One cup of canned coconut milk has 7.5 milligrams of iron and 497 milligrams of potassium. Most men require 8 milligrams of iron a day, while some women require up to 18 milligrams of iron daily. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional deficit in the United States. Iron deficiency can result in impaired motor ability and mental function as well as birth-related complications for pregnant women. Adequate potassium intake is also crucial; the body requires enough of this mineral to function normally, as potassium helps the body’s muscles and nerves communicate.

Vitamins

Coconut milk also contains important vitamins like niacin and folate. One cup of canned coconut milk has 1.4 milligrams of niacin and 31.6 micrograms of folate. Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, helps the body create sex and stress-related hormones. It also assists circulation. While niacin deficiency is rare, it can be a problem for individuals with alcoholism. Folate aids the production and maintenance of new cells in the body and is especially critical for the body during times of rapid growth. This important vitamin can even help prevent changes in DNA that lead to cancer.

About the Author

Alissa Fleck is a contributing writer for several community newspapers in New York City. She writes book reviews for an online magazine and hosts a monthly reading series. Fleck has also interned at a literary agency and worked as a university teaching assistant. She holds a B.A. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing.
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3 thoughts on “Benefits of Coconut Milk

  1. I find coconut milk is often too sweet for my taste, so the only milk I use is soya (organic non-GMO) but I don’t even use much of that. An article looking at the various drinks, eg almond, rice and soya would be interesting – hint! 😀

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