Going Nuts Over Coconut Milk ! Health Benefits & More
May 21, 2012 By Sunithi Selvaraj,
Growing up as a child , I remember eating curries make with coconut milk and drinking coconut water. The old school of thought was that coconut was loaded with fat and hence coconut milk should be used sparingly. Fast forward….now coconut milk is quickly becoming the new ‘Health Craze’ and the same fat is considered ” Healthy Fat” which delivers a multitude of benefits. My first experience with drinking coconut milk was in a smoothie. I went to a cafe in DC and had this exotic tasting berry smoothie which was unlike anything I had tasted before. On enquiry I found it had been blended with coconut milk. I read a little about it and jumped on the ‘ Coconut Milk Bandwagon’. Previously available only in special stores, you can now get it anywhere. Smoothie it, cook with it, turn it into ice cream or just drink it cool with ice cubes, it ‘s a treat. I do not recommend canned milk which is a more concentrated form for drinking. You can however cook with it if you wish. The packaged version in a carton is more drink friendly. It tastes absolutely delish in smoothies.
Benefits of coconut milk
Higher in calcium than regular milk and almond milk.
Nutrient Rich : Coconut milk is rich in a wide range of minerals and vitamins. It contains iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, and also the following important vitamins: C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6. Coconut milk is also a good source of protein.
Boost immune system : Half the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk are composed of lauric acid, which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal thus strengthening the immune system.
Weight Loss : The saturated fat in coconut is made up of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids which the body quickly turns into energy instead of storing as fat. Therefore, even though it’s high in saturated fat, coconut can aid in weight loss. No wonder it’s the number one recommended milk for protein shakes. It is also said to boost metabolism.Coconut milk makes you feel full very quickly because of high concentrations of dietary fiber.
Relaxes muscles and nerves: Rich in magnesium which can help relive and ease cramps, muscle pulls and muscle soreness.
Aids in Digestion : Coconut milk contains beneficial substances that allow the stomach to digest food properly. Due to the high content of lauric acid, coconut milk is anti-bacterial and it kills off bad bacteria in the stomach that can cause you to not digest food properly. So adding coconut milk to your diet will help with digestion.
Dairy Free, Nut Free and Vegan : Coconut milk is a dairy-free alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to nuts. This vegan drink is also soy-free and gluten-free.
Healthy Creamy Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk Dates & Nuts
Yield: 8- 12 servings
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
This creamy rice pudding tastes rich and delish and is loaded with fruits and nuts ! Quite healthy too. Substitute the sugar and honey for stevia or Agave nectar to make it diabetic friendly
1 cup Pureharvest Basmati Rice
3 cups Pureharvest Coco Quench
1 cup Pureharvest Almond Milk
1 cup Pureharvest Raw Almonds Kernels
1/2 cup Brown sugar (substitute with Pureharvest Pear Concentrate)
1/ 4 cup Pureharvest Raw Honey
1/2 cup Pureharvest Raisins
1/2 cup Dried Dates
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup Pistachio
1/2 stick Butter
Soak rice for 2hrs before cooking
Soak Almonds in water for 4 hrs. Peel and blend to a fine paste
Cook soaked rice with 2 cups coconut milk and 1 cup almond milk for 30 minutes or till soft
Roast nuts and dry fruit in butter till golden brown
Add almond paste, 1 cup coconut milk , sugar and honey to cooked rice
Add roasted fruit and nuts to cooked rice mixture and simmer for 10 minutes
Serve warm or cold. Garnish with nuts and fruit.
How I Boosted My HDL Cholesterol by 300%
R. J. Gardiner, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Jan 12, 2010
Ever since I first had my blood tested for cholesterol content(which was at about age 25), I have always had depressingly low HDL cholesterol, which is also known as "good cholesterol". Recommended laboratory levels for HDL cholesterol are at least between 40 milligrams per deciliter for men and 50 milligrams per deciliter for women(these numbers might appear on your laboratory results written like "40 mg/dL").
I am now 42, and my HDL levels had always been between 11 and 15 mg/dL. My doctors always suggested exercise, which is supposed to raise your HDL, and there are numerous other remedies touted by health experts that I have tried over the years. These have included cooking with olive oil, eating more fish and fish oils, and other natural supplements touted as having the ability to raise HDL levels.
Despite copious exercise and the dietary changes mentioned above, my good cholesterol never budged. It is of concern to me because I have a strong family history of heart disease, and low HDL levels contribute to a poor cholesterol ratio. A cholesterol ratio is a calculation based upon your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels that is a very accurate indicator of heart disease risk. A good ratio can be maintained even if your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, is a little on the high side if your HDL levels are very good.
I heard something on the radio back in September 2009 about the health benefits of almonds. Some studies had shown that a handful of almonds a day helped maintain a healthy weight and was shown to improve cholesterol levels. I decided to give them a try. At the same time, I began drinking coconut milk instead of dairy milk because of some information I read on the side of the coconut milk carton informing me that coconut milk was high in middle-chain fatty acids. (Note: This is not coconut milk from a can that is primarily used for cooking. This is a commercially prepared version of coconut milk flavored and constituted to be a dairy milk alternative.)
It was December 2009 when I next had my blood tested, and I was stunned at the results. My HDL was 42. That's almost three times higher than it has ever been. Now, before you run out and gorge yourself on almonds and coconut milk, let me add a few disclaimers.
First of all, almonds have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by about 9% if you're eating 73 grams of almonds a day. That's about 2/3 of a cup of almonds. I probably eat closer to 40-50 grams a day. Almonds have also been shown to improve HDL cholesterol by about 4% at the 73 gram per day level. Obviously, my HDL improvement was far beyond the clinical average attributed to almond intake.
So does that mean that majority of my HDL cholesterol level improvement was due to the coconut milk? That's what I believe, but there is little-to-no hard evidence suggesting that middle-chain fatty acids boost good cholesterol. That could simply be due to the fact that not many studies have been done to see if there is a link between these acids and HDL cholesterol. Thus, the dietary recommendation for an increase in middle-chain fatty acids is still controversial. However, I only drink about 6 to 8 ounces a day, so it's not as though it's a taxing change on my diet.
Sure, this evidence if anecdotal and comes from only myself, but it has been VERY difficult for me to raise my good cholesterol, and I am sure that I am not alone in this. I'm not trying to say that coconut milk is some kind of HDL cholesterol wonder product, but it definitely seems to have helped me. So if you have struggled for years unsuccessfully to raise your good cholesterol, it won't hurt to give coconut milk a shot.