(NaturalNews) As cow's milk becomes more and more processed throughout the years, many people find that they are lactose-intolerant or allergic to milk. Coconut milk is a nutritious and delicious substitute for cow's milk. Complementing the flavors of pineapple, peach, mango, or Acidophilous-enriched yogurt, coconut milk not only tastes great in a smoothie, but coconut nutrition also has benefits that don't get a lot of publicity.
Beneficial Fat in Coconuts
Coconut milk is high in saturated fat, nearly 25 grams (225 calories) in half a cup, but the fat in coconut milk is healthy fat. The fatty acids in coconut milk are of the medium chain triacylglycerol or MCT type. The distinguishing feature of MCTs so important to coconut nutrition is that they are burned faster than other types of fatty acids. They are especially beneficial for providing energy for the lymph nodes, liver, and fat cells themselves. (Even fat cells need energy.)
MCTs are absorbed only by the older, more highly differentiated fat cells, rather than fat cells formed after exposure to certain medications (such as the diabetes drugs Actos and Avandia). Once inside the cell, they form smaller droplets that are more easily joined by enzymes and more quickly converted into energy by the cell. MCTs are less "fattening" than other kinds of fatty acids.
Coconut milk, like the "meat" of the coconut, is rich in coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is 50 to 55 percent lauric acid. This fatty acid stops microbial growth. As a result, foods prepared with coconut milk or coconut oil last longer. Coconut oil stays fresh at room temperature for up to a year.
Although too much of a good thing is possible with coconut nutrition as it is with any food, moderate amounts of coconut oil from coconut milk stimulate thyroid function and encourage weight loss, so much that Asian farmers avoid feeding coconut to farm animals they want to fatten up.
Using coconut oil in moderate amounts, up to about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) a day, in place of other oils, may help you lose weight (about 1 pound or half a kilo a month) even if you eat the same portions of other foods. You can get the same result from using 1/4 cup of coconut milk a day in your smoothies.
Lauric Acid Fights Acne
The lauric acid in coconut milk is also an effective antibacterial against the principle bacterium involved in acne, Propioniobacterium acnes. The lauric acid survives digestion, enters the bloodstream, and is attracted to the sebum created in pores of the skin. Dissolving in the sebum, it may slow down the growth of the acne bacteria that feed on excess sebum (not so much that they cannot do their job of "clean up," but enough that they are less likely to multiply out of control and form byproducts that inflame pores).
Tips for using coconut milk in smoothies
A little of the unsweetened coconut milk goes a long way. You probably don't want more than one cup of coconut milk in a two-cup smoothie. Store unused coconut milk in a glass container in the refrigerator or freezer. Or just use all the coconut milk at once to make an extra smoothie for a friend.
If you are allergic to coconut, you are not necessarily allergic to coconut milk, although you might want to try just a very tiny amount of coconut milk first before you try an entire smoothie. You will want to avoid coconut milk altogether if you have ever had an anaphylactic reaction to coconut or coconut oil.
Gopikrishna V, Baweja PS, Venkateshbabu N, Thomas T, Kandaswamy D. Comparison of coconut water, propolis, HBSS, and milk on PDL cell survival. J Endod. 2008 May;34(5):587-9. Epub 2008 Mar 19.
van der Hee RM, Miret S, Slettenaar M, Duchateau GS, Rietveld AG, Wilkinson JE, Quail PJ, Berry MJ, Dainty JR, Teucher B, Fairweather-Tait SJ. Calcium absorption from fortified ice cream formulations compared with calcium absorption from milk. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 May;109(5):830-5.
Yang D, Pornpattananangkul D, Nakatsuji T, Chan M, Carson D, Huang CM, Zhang L. The antimicrobial activity of liposomal lauric acids against Propionibacterium acnes. Biomaterials. 2009 Oct;30(30):6035-40. Epub 2009 Aug 8.
About the author
DaNae desires for you to absorb accurate information on how to easily take care of your family's nutritional needs. As a mother of two young boys, she knows how important it is to incorporate nutrition into a busy schedule.