Coconut milk is a common ingredient in Far East and Indian sub-continent cooking. While it may be purchased canned, it is frequently made at home by shredding fresh coconut, soaking in water and thoroughly blending it. It is then allowed to strain through a cheese cloth, where the fresh coconut milk is collected for use in different recipes.
Coconut milk may also be obtained in the same way by using dried shredded coconut, if fresh coconut is not readily available.
Other than being tasty and a highly nutritious, it is a very good substitute for dairy products in baking and cooking. It is usually suitable for people with dairy and soy allergies, and people who have a problem using nut or grain based milks.
Coconut Milk Nutritional Facts
Coconut milk, in fact ‘anything’ coconut, is extremely good for you (I use a lot of coconut oil – for cooking, spreads, as a sauce and sometimes I just eat it direct out of the tub!). It is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals.
It delivers high quantities of vital minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and calcium in addition to vitamins C and E. It also contains small amounts of vitamin K, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, thiamine, phosphorus, manganese, copper and selenium.
One cup of the milk (approximately 240 grams) contains about 13 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and 57 grams of fats. The same cup also contains 552 calories. But don’t let that calorie count fool you, because these are healthy fat calories.
Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
The medium-chain fats found in coconut milk contain generous amounts of lauric acid, which is an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-microbial. In the body, lauric acid is converted into monolaurin which helps to fight serious diseases like herpes, influenza and even HIV. Lauric acid aids in maintaining elasticity of arteries, and keeps them clean, which reduces the risks of conditions like heart disease and atherosclerosis.
The high level of vitamin K wards off anemia. The selenium in the milk is an antioxidant that eliminates free radicals from the body, lowering the risk of joint inflammation and reducing joint pain. The vitamin C and copper are responsible for slowing down the aging process, and maintaining elasticity of the skin while delaying wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin.
Coconut milk is potent source phosphorus, which is a major contributor for strong bones.
How to Make a Basic Maca and Coconut Smoothie
- ½ cup coconut milk
- tablespoon maca powder
- 1 medium banana
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup of ice
Whack all the ingredients in your blender and flick the switch until smooth. Enjoy!
You might also like to add, or swap some of the coconut milk for yogurt or almond milk, for an alternative flavor.