Any barista knows that the popularity of coconut milk is quite steady, if not rising. Plenty of people ask if you carry it, when you will, or if you ever will. Adding it to coffee is not going to turn your latte into a coconut-tasting latte instantly. It is not that potent. People like it as a pleasant milk alternative, with its sweet-yet-natural flavor. It’s time to know what exactly coconut milk is and what the coconut milk benefits are before any of us go stocking it or ordering it.
How to Make Coconut Milk
If you were to crack open a coconut, you would find to main parts on the inside: the coconut water and the coconut flesh. Coconut water is a whole other field of its own with its benefits and uses. Plenty of stores carry coconut water. It is the coconut flesh that is used to make coconut milk, which is what we coffee drinkers are more concerned about.
The following process for turning the coconut flesh of coconut into coconut milk is from BBC Good Food, and seems pretty easy to try at home!
- Grab a coconut, and carefully crack it open (which may be harder to do than it looks). Here’s a coconut opener toolset to get you started.
- Set the coconut water aside, and carve out the coconut flesh. Here’s a coconut knife to help!
- Grate the coconut flesh and soak it in water.
- Watch as the coconut cream rises to the top and can be skimmed off.
- The remaining liquid is squeezed through a cheesecloth, which can also be used to make oat milk at home.
- Repeat the process to help the coconut milk become thinner, to make it resemble a consistency more similar to regular milk. Less thinned-out coconut milk is popular for cooking.
If making it at home is not for you, coconut milk can be sold in cartons or even cans at most supermarkets. Be sure to look for coconut milk without additives, such as sugary flavors or sweeteners. Coconut milk has been found to have many benefits, with studied being newer with how prominent they are. The following seven are some of the most notable benefits of coconut milk.
Coconut Milk Benefits; Heart Health
Coconut milk is high in fat content and has been found to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), or good cholesterol. It is important to note that it does not increase bad cholesterol either.
Considering older research has mixed reviews on having certain fats affect cholesterol, adding coconut milk to your coffee is a great way to reap the benefits. This is done without going overboard with the potentially unhealthy fats that are also in coconut milk. Still, the research used to not be so supportive of such benefits from coconut milk, but more and more positive studies are proving this benefit to be true.
Boosts Immune System
Coconut milk contains Lauric acid, which becomes monolaurin once it is in the body. This is somewhat of a super-compound in how it destroys disease-causing organisms. This includes everyday viruses, but research is looking into how Lauric acids interact with cancer cells too!
Aids in Weight Loss
The medium-chain fatty acids that are in coconut milk are more likely to be sent to your liver to be used for energy. This is instead being stored as fat, according to Healthline. The saturated fat from coconut milk is more easily metabolized by the body. There is also research supporting that coconut milk reduces your appetite. It is not a guaranteed way of changing how your body interacts with the food that you consume.
Important note: We are in no way encouraging unhealthy or unnecessary weight loss in any way, but sometimes looking to shed a few pounds is part of a healthy lifestyle. Do not seek out coconut milk as a way to lose weight, but rather a beneficial way to possibly avoid putting on additional weight.
We were told growing up that drinking milk gives you strong teeth and bones. However, what happens when you can’t stomach that milk anymore? Don’t worry about it! Coconut milk provides your body with those same nutrients! Which is something to keep an eye out for in all milk alternatives that do not always naturally have such benefits?
Contains Vitamin B-12
B-12 is important for the formation of red blood cells and maintains your nervous system functions. Red blood cells aid in transporting oxygen around the body. It is so cool that putting coconut milk in your morning coffee can assist that in any way!
On top of B-12, coconut milk contains a ton of vitamins and minerals. This includes vitamin C, Iron, potassium, copper, and magnesium. It sounds like the diet of a battery but it is very good for you! A deficiency of B-12 and iron can lead to many health issues, including anemia. So coconut milk is good to not only prevent anemia but help those with it.
Improves Nerve Functions
On top of maintaining functions from B-12, coconut milk can even improve that functioning. The magnesium in coconut milk helps regulate the activity in nerve cells. This is because without it they become hyperactive and create cramping. Working with the calcium that we mentioned earlier, the muscles and bones are more in healthy sync with the help of coconut milk.
Reduces Inflammation and Ulcers
That same Lauric acid that aids the immune system has been known to be an anti-inflammatory as well.
Besides the Lauric acid, this benefit is possibly the most controversial, as most of the studies on coconut milk concerning inflammation are the newest in this area (testing on animals is still involved, unfortunately). It is still important to consider that these could be potentially helping improve different aspects of your body without even realizing it!
We cannot tell you all of these benefits without acknowledging that coconut milk has some cons (for example, it is low in fiber and protein). No milk or milk-alternative is going to be perfect, so you will have to decide if the pros outweigh the cons for you! Another benefit to consider is not so much health-related but flavor related, as coconut milk can be a great flavor addition to your favorite blend of coffee.