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Coconut milk is considered a superfood because of its many benefits and nutritional content. Like soy or rice milk, it is a type of vegetable beverage that does not contain animal components and provides our body with the properties from coconut.
In this article, we explain what coconut milk is, what are its benefits and some delicious recipes, as well as the best options to buy this product.
This beverage is made from the mixture of ripe coconut pulp crushed with water. It is different from coconut water, which is the whitish, milky liquid that comes from this fruit and that is 100% natural.
When the coconut is ripe, the water that it contains inside is a thicker pulp which is ideal for making milk. Since coconut water has more sugar, coconut milk is richer in natural fatty acids but contains more calories.
This beverage is sweet and its texture is rather creamy. It is very nutritious and beneficial for our organism. This product is mainly used in Asian food to make sauces. Coconut milk is also considered a good alternative to animal milk and a suitable choice for vegans or lactose intolerant people.
It is also used as the main ingredient in some natural cosmetic creams and lotions, for it moisturizes and hydrates the skin and relieves rashes. It is also used in hair products, being the main component in conditioners and masks. Finally, this liquid can be used as fertilizer.
We have to bear in mind that the coconut milk beverage is not the same than the canned version, which is used for cooking because it contains less water.
Coconut milk contains a high amount of protein, phosphorus, vitamins B and C, selenium, chromium and carbohydrates. It is considered a superfood because of the great nutritional potential it offers. Below are some of its main properties and benefits.
The fats contained in this type of milk are considered beneficial. Consuming it has a satiating effect on the body, so it helps to avoid snacking. It also promotes the loss of body fat, and apart from providing the necessary fatty acids it also stimulates the burning of fats, promoting weight loss.
Due to its iron content, coconut milk prevents the symptoms of anemia. It has many vitamins and minerals that help the digestion process, prevent constipation, and improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract and immune system.
The minerals and electrolytes contained in this vegetable milk are essential to ensure that blood volume is optimal, to avoid body dehydration and diarrhea. These electrolytes prevent exhaustion, heat strokes, and muscle aches, among others. Also, the energy provided by this drink is a necessary caloric source for the proper functioning of the brain.
Thanks to the minerals it contains such as calcium and phosphorus, this milk helps strengthen bones, preventing diseases such as osteoporosis. The triglycerides in this beverage reduce the articular and muscular inflammation, which is typical of pathologies such as arthritis.
Coconut milk is usually recommended in people with diabetes because the fat it contains helps lower the blood sugar levels. Therefore, it helps to control insulin levels and thus prevents diabetes.
Coconut is a fruit that is often added as an ingredient in many Latin American and Asian recipes. Some examples of recipes are curry chicken, milk rice and sponge cake.
This recipe is a traditional Asian dish. It is made with chicken, rice, onions, garlic, tomato sauce, some spices like curry powder, coriander, pepper, salt, and oil.
This delicious dessert is the vegan version of the traditional one. The recipe is the same, but cow's milk is substituted with this beverage. If the texture is too creamy, you can add more water or coconut water. It is an easy, quick, delicious dish.
The sponge cake made with this type of vegetable milk is a very aromatic and original dessert. For coconut lovers, you can also sprinkle grated coconut on top along with icing sugar to make the cake prettier. The ingredients are the same as a regular sponge cake recipe: eggs, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and of course, coconut milk.
The coconut milk that is sold in supermarkets is a type vegetable beverage that under no circumstances is a substitute for milk of animal origin. However, it also has very beneficial nutritional properties for our body.
It is preferable to choose the most organic version and without sweeteners, colorants or other added components. Pasteurized options are also not recommended because this process would eliminate many of the essential nutrients it contains. It is also important to get the sugar-free and BPA-free version (bisphenol-A) if it is canned.
Mäkinen, O. E., Wanhalinna, V., Zannini, E. & Arendt, E. K. (2016). Foods for Special Dietary Needs: Non-dairy Plant-based Milk Substitutes and Fermented Dairy-type Products. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 56 (3): 339-339.
Sethi, S., Tyagi, S. K. & Anurag, R. K. (2016). Plant-based milk alternatives an emerging segment of functional beverages: a review. Journal of food science and technology. 53 (9): 3408-3423.