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 — 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Los Angeles Times: Got Coconut Milk?
- Self Nutrition Data: Nutrition Facts And Analysis For Nuts, Coconut Milk, Canned (Liquid Expressed From Grated Meat And Water)
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- American Diabetes Association: Enhancement Of Muscle Mitochondrial Oxidative Capacity And Alterations In Insulin Action Are Lipid Species Dependent
- MedicineNet.com: Peripheral Insulin Resistance
- American Dietetic Association: American Dietetic Association Complete Food And Nutrition Guide
- Silk Pure Coconut: FAQ – Nutrition
- Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: Iron And Iron Deficiency
- MedlinePlus: Potassium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)