We are all about alternatives and choices in life, and we realize that many people benefit from educating themselves about healthy alternatives to milk due to dietary restrictions or simply personal choice. Coconut milk is a creamy, rich liquid made from the meat of mature coconuts and it’s a nice alternative to dairy because it is easy to digest, simple to make and contains an abundance of nutrients. You can drink it plain, use it for cooking or blend it with smoothies to benefit from its nutritional value. Side Note: The healthiest choice is always to opt for the no sugar added versions.
Here are some more reasons to make the switch:
- Dairy and Soy Alternative: Those who need to stay away from dairy and soy because of allergies and sensitivities often find that they can digest coconut milk without a problem. The good news is that it can be substituted in baking and cooking as well!
- Plant-Based Fats: The fat in coconut milk is coconut oil, which is slightly different than saturated fats that come from animals. These plant-based fats are medium chain fatty acids, which don’t degrade in the body the way animal fats do. Instead of adversely affecting cholesterol levels, they actually lead to an increase of HDL – or good – cholesterol levels.
- Calming Effect: Coconut milk contains 89 milligrams of magnesium per cup, which makes it a rich source of a mineral that helps to calm the nerves and maintain normal blood pressure. So coconut milk makes you relax!
- Build Strong Bones: Coconut milk is not a good source of calcium. It contains just over 38 milligrams of calcium per cup compared to regular milk’s 300 milligrams in the same serving size. It is, however, rich in phosphorous. With 240 milligrams of phosphorus per cup, coconut milk still contributes to strong bones!
- Fight Infection: Coconut milk contains a fatty acid called lauric acid- which converts to monolaurin in the body, which is a compound that has antiviral and antibacterial properties. For this reason, coconut milk consumption helps fight infections and viruses.
- Maintain Blood Sugar Levels: Coconut water (found in coconut milk) is a source of manganese, which is vital for regulating blood sugar levels. One of manganese’s most important functions is to help metabolize glucose in the human body. Manganese is also essential for metabolism function, treating inflammation, preventing osteoporosis, alleviating PMS in women, aiding vitamin absorption and maintaining the health of the digestive tract.
- Lower Cholesterol: Coconut milk raises cholesterol levels, but its lauric acid boosts HDL (good) cholesterol, which improves the HDL-LDL (bad) cholesterol ratio. The fats in coconut milk are also easier for the body to break down and metabolize and contain healthy fats including omega 6 essential fatty acids.
- Prevent Wrinkles: Improve skin elasticity with the consumption or application of coconut milk due to its copper and vitamin C content. Copper and vitamin C maintain flexibility and elasticity of the skin and blood vessels, slowing the aging process of your skin and body.
- Weight Loss: Because of its fiber content, coconut milk makes you feel fuller longer and, in moderation, can help to control weight.
- Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins C, E, and many B vitamins are abundant in coconut milk. Vitamins C and E help to boost the immune system, and B vitamins are responsible for providing energy to the cells. Coconut milk is also rich in magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and iron. Magnesium is responsible for many biochemical functions in the body, including regulating the heart’s rhythm and supporting the function of nerve cells. Potassium maintains the tissues of the heart, kidneys, brain, and muscles. Phosphorus keeps teeth and bones strong, and iron creates red blood cells and carries oxygen throughout your body.