Coconut Milk

Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of ripe brown coconuts, which are the fruit of the coconut tree. Contrary to popular belief, the juice in a fresh coconut is not coconut milk. Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which naturally occurs in unripe green coconuts. Coconut milk is the juice squeezed from the coconut flesh. The milk has a rich, creamy texture and a thick consistency.

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Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines usually use this milk. It is also popular in Hawaii, India and some South American and Caribbean countries.

Unlike coconut water, coconut milk does not occur naturally. Instead, the firm flesh of the coconut is mixed with water to make coconut milk, which is about 50% water.

Coconut water, on the other hand, is about 94% water. It contains significantly less fat and significantly fewer nutrients than coconut milk.

Coconut milk is a product that is not actually milk, but because it resembles it in appearance, it is colloquially called that. The process of obtaining it begins with grating the coconut flesh and soaking it in hot water. The coconut milk is then collected and the remaining part is squeezed through cheesecloth to obtain an appetizing drink. The resulting liquid is milky white in color and has a nutty flavor. Thanks to its high fat content (about 20%), it also has a creamy consistency.

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Health benefits

Coconut milk is a source of saturated fatty acids. Coconut milk contains from 17 to 24 percent of fat.

Fortunately, these acids are different from those found in palm oil, animal fats or margarine. Coconut milk contains medium-chain fatty acids, which the body metabolizes in a completely different way than saturated fatty acids contained in animal fat. Instead of storing fatty acids, the body sends them directly to the liver, where they are converted into energy. This does not cause an increase in the level of "bad" cholesterol or fat deposition in the tissues.

Saturated MCT (medium chain) fats contained in coconut burn easily, because the body does not need pancreatic lipase or bile to digest them, therefore they are a quick source of energy for the body, which is commonly used in the diet of athletes, they are also a good source of fat for vegetarians . MCT acids are also used in the nutrition of premature babies.

Additionally, the fatty acids found in coconut milk have been shown to normalize blood lipid levels, protect against the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, and enhance the body's anti-inflammatory response.

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Despite the high fat content, this product is not contraindicated in a reducing diet. As we know, the main reason for overweight and obesity is a positive energy balance. In addition, some specialists believe that coconut milk can support the weight loss process, thanks to the fact that fatty acids from the digestive tract reach the liver directly, where they are converted into energy - thus they do not accumulate in fat tissue.

In addition to providing nutrients and amazing taste, coconut milk contains a very beneficial fat called lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted in the human body into monolaurin, which has antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal properties.

According to scientists, monolaurin has the ability to destroy the lipid envelope of viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomelagia and influenza. It also has a destructive effect on some fungi, pathogens, protozoa, yeasts and bacteria. The amazing properties of lauric acid can be proven by the fact that it occurs in nature in large quantities only in coconut and mother's milk.

The capric acid present in coconut milk reduces the tension of blood vessels and improves their elasticity, which improves the condition of the arteries and prevents hypertension.

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The results of both - the latest research and those from many years ago - suggest the anti-carcinogenic properties of some saturated fatty acids found in coconut milk. It has been shown that coconut milk reduces the risk of cancer in rats. In vitro studies showed an inhibitory effect of coconut components on leukemic cells. Lauric and myristic acids, which are found in coconut milk, have also been shown to inhibit prostate hypertrophy in rats.

Coconut milk and the fats it contains help you lose excess weight. Healthy fats increase metabolism, prevent rapid increases in blood sugar levels, reduce appetite and the risk of hypoglycemia attacks. The dietary fiber found in coconut milk fills the stomach, providing a feeling of satiety. Thanks to this, we reach for snacks less often between meals. This same fiber sweeps food waste from the digestive system and facilitates bowel movements, while also reducing the risk of digestive problems such as constipation and even colon cancer.

If you are on a slimming diet, there is no point in overdoing the consumption of coconut milk. One glass of this drink (240 g) contains approximately 500 kcal and 57 grams of fat, so it should be consumed in moderation.

Thanks to its antioxidant properties, coconut milk protects our skin cells against free radicals, slowing down the aging process. In turn, medium-chain fatty acids strengthen connective tissue, making the skin firm and elastic.

Drinking milk, including coconut milk, strengthens your bones. Oxidative stress and excessive free radicals contribute to the development of osteoporotic changes. However, the consumption of coconut products, including milk, prevents these changes. This is probably related to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut products. The antioxidant potential of coconut milk inhibits the inflammatory process leading to osteoporotic changes.

Culinary uses

If you like the exotic cuisine and want to introduce a bit of oriental flavor to your daily menu, coconut milk should be on your shopping list. This is an ingredient that is extremely popular in Asian cuisine and valued for its taste and health properties.

Coconut milk is the perfect ingredient which can be used in soups. Thanks to its creamy taste and aroma, coconut milk goes well with vegetables, meat and rice. You can use coconut milk to prepare cream soups, curry soups, pumpkin soups or even shrimp soups. Just add coconut milk to the boiling soup and simmer until all the ingredients are combined. You can also add coconut milk to the soup after cooking to give it a creamy consistency.

Coconut milk is also an ideal ingredient for desserts. You can use coconut milk to prepare coconut pudding, coconut ice cream or coconut muffins. Just add coconut milk to the cake or cream to give it an exotic taste. You can also add coconut milk to coffee or tea to get a coconut flavor in the drink.

Coconut milk is also a perfect ingredient for meat dishes. You can use coconut milk to prepare curry with chicken, shrimp or beef. Just fry the meat with vegetables, then add coconut milk and spices. Cook over low heat until the ingredients are combined and you get an aromatic dish with an exotic taste.

Coconut milk is also a good ingredient to prepare drinks. You can use coconut milk to prepare cocktails, smoothies or milk drinks. Just mix coconut milk with fruit, yogurt or honey to get a delicious and healthy drink.

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