These Reasons to Drink Coconut Milk Will Blow Your Mind…Maybe
In the past year and a half, you’ve heard me harp on the dangers of drinking cow’s milk. Since I’m not a fan of dairy, I’ve featured incredible, natural alternatives like goat milk and almond milk in my writing.
Plus, I’ve written about just how awesome coconut oil is for general health.
So, it should go without saying that since I’m anti-dairy and pro-coconut, I should probably focus on one of the best dairy substitutes in the world made out of coconut:
Take a second to look over what’s so great about coconut milk, and then imagine just how many ways you could start to incorporate it into your diet.
The Incredible Reasons to Drink Coconut Milk Revealed
#1 – It helps you lose weight.
Dairy milk is likely partly responsible for the obesity epidemic we see here in the U.S. and other developed nations. That’s because dairy milk contains hight amounts of sugar, is high in calories, and contains complex fatty acids that your body likes to tuck away for later use (it stores them in your love handles, thighs, back, and stomach).
On the other hand, coconut milk is generally lower in sugar (especially when you get plain, non-flavored varieties) and also carries a special kind of fat that helps with fat loss. These fats are known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and they actually kick your body’s fat burning engines into overdrive.
The School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University wrote this about how MCTs help with fat loss.
Consumption of a diet rich in MCTs results in greater loss of fat (adipose tissue) compared with long-chain fatty acids, perhaps due to increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation observed with MCT intake. MCTs may be considered as agents that aid in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss.
MCTs are also helpful for appetite control. When you consume MCTs, your body will find itself satisfied which will prevent you from snacking randomly throughout the day. The less you eat, the easier it is to keep body fat off!
#2 – It can improve your heart’s health.
Like I mentioned before, coconut’s rich in fat. About 50 percent of the fat in coconut is made out of lauric acid, and lauric acid has the remarkable benefit of helping regulate cholesterol levels.
“When 60 healthy volunteers were given coconut milk porridge (CMP) for five days a week for eight weeks, researchers found that their low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels decreased while their “good” high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels rose significantly. They concluded that “coconut fat in the form of coconut milk does not cause a detrimental effect on the lipid profile in the general population, and in fact is beneficial due to the decrease in LDL and rise in HDL cholesterol.”
That’s pretty incredible, and you don’t find those same kinds of results in association with dairy milk.
Another way coconut milk helps out with heart health is how it affects blood pressure. Coconut milk is rich in electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, and these nutrients have a known effect of relaxing blood vessels while also helping to prevent the formation of plaque buildup.
All of these minerals help blood flow more freely through your body, and the improvement in circulation benefits your heart immensely.
#3. It can improve digestion.
If you drink dairy milk, you might experience bloating and uncomfortable gas after a few sips. Most people have some kind of an adverse reaction to dairy, even if it’s only minor.
Switching to coconut milk can improve how your body digests food.
Remember MCTs? Yeah, I like to talk about them, and there’s a good reason for my obsession. MCTs are easily digested, and as an added benefit, MCTs don’t require the production of bile to be broken down into their easily digestible parts. So that makes coconut milk great for those with digestive problems.
Now, it’s important to note that some coconut milk comes with guar gum as a thickening agent. Guar gum is made out of the guar bean, and since it’s a legume it can irritate your digestive tract (it’s technically not paleo for those following a paleo diet). That means when selecting coconut milk, you’ll want to check the ingredient list on the back to make sure guar gum isn’t on there if you’re switching to coconut milk for the relief of stomach pain.
Also, the fat (lauric acid and MCTs) in coconut milk will help keep the digestive tract well-hydrated and nourished, which helps keep you regular.
And let’s be honest, everyone likes being regular, don’t they?
#4 – It can help fight inflammation:
I hate inflammation; I really do. You would think as a doctor I’d be appreciative of inflammation because as long as it exists, I’ll have a job – but man, I wish it would disappear.
While I don’t think coconut milk is going to accomplish this all on its own, there’s some solid evidence which shows that drinking coconut milk will help relieve chronic inflammation in joints.
Coconut milk’s MCTs can help lower inflammation, which is associated with painful conditions like arthritis and general joint or muscle aches and pains. Coconut milk in place of refined sugar especially is helpful for people with arthritis (or other autoimmune conditions) because sugar is a pro-inflammatory and linked to low immunity, worsened pain and swelling.
#5 – It can help prevent ulcers.
Newer research indicates that coconut milk is amazingly therapeutic on the lining of the stomach and can help prevent the formation of ulcers. In an animal study, rats who had large ulcers were treated with coconut milk to see how it would help their ulcers. What the scientists observed after the rats received the coconut milk was that they experienced a reduction in the size of ulcers of about 56 percent. That’s pretty amazing!
#6 – It contains cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Antioxidants are inflammation-causing free radicals’ worst nightmare. Turns out coconut milk’s high fat means the beverage is swimming in them – which is good news for people who want to fight free radical formation.
A study just published in Food and Function, of the Royal Society of Chemistry, shows once again that the highest amounts of antioxidants in coconut oil are found in virgin coconut oils produced by the wet-milling process. And while that study refers to coconut oil, the same coconut meat used to make coconut oil is also used for milk.
And then there’s the fact coconut milk isn’t super expensive.
It costs a little bit more than regular milk, so it won’t break the bank, and the added health benefits are absolutely worth it.
And yes, it tastes great!