Coconut milk’s naturally sweet taste might fool you into thinking it’s not good for you. However, you don’t have to feel guilty about drinking it. To be sure, this creamy, tasty substance is chock-full of health benefits. So drink up! And no, coconut milk isn’t coconut-flavored milk. In fact, it’s not a milk at all, not in the traditional sense. Coconut milk is a completely plant-based food. You can find coconut milk, a milky white liquid, inside mature coconuts. Along with coconut water and coconut oil, coconut milk is part of the world’s most nutritious foods. Indeed, coconut milk boasts many health benefits, thanks to healthy fats it contains. For example, coconut milk benefits include lower cholesterol levels, improved blood pressure levels, heart attack prevention and more.
Coconut Milk Benefits
1. Improves Heart Health
Coconut milk benefits include improved heart health. Coconuts contain a fatty acid called lauric acid, which has powerful antibacterial and antiviral activities. Studies have shown that lauric acid works to improve cholesterol levels and heart health. Coconut milk aids in circulation and keeps the blood vessels free of plaque buildup to reduce the risk of heart attack. (1) Due to the magnesium content in coconut milk, it may also help combat stress and muscle tension. These qualities also plays a part in lowering the risk of heart attack.
2. Builds Muscle
Coconut milk benefits the body by aiding in muscle growth and boosting fat loss. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk work to enhance physical performance and repair broken down tissue for better muscle recovery. Furthermore, these healthy fats can help give you an energy boost. This is something that certainly comes in handy while exercising.
3. Provides Electrolytes
Another way coconut milk benefits the body is by providing a steady source of electrolytes. The body utilizes electrolytes to regulate heart health and prevent dehydration. When the weather heats up, it can be all the more difficult to stay hydrated. Plus, you have the added risk of heat stroke. Coconut milk, however, can help prevent dehydration, as well as the ill-effects that come with it.
The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk provide the body with a natural energy source and help fight fatigue. Your brain can easily use these MCTs for energy. In fact, the MCTs such as that found in coconut oil don’t even have to go through your digestive tract in order for your brain to use them. Give your brain the boost it needs by adding coconut milk to your diet!
4. Aids in Weight Loss
Research has shown that coconut milk benefits include the ability to aid in weight loss. Consuming medium-chain triglycerides can help increase energy expenditure to result in greater fat loss. Because of this and other reasons, coconut milk is considered to be a fat-burning food. (2)
Additionally, the healthy fat found in coconut milk can help keep you fuller longer. This makes coconut milk fantastic for aiding in weight loss. It will help stop you from overeating. Naturally, however, if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to not overdo it on coconut milk. This is because of the calorie content.
5. Improves Digestion
If you suffer from IBS or other gut-related issues, you should consider trying coconut milk. It could help improve your condition. Even if you don’t have a gut condition, coconut milk will benefit your digestive system. Coconut milk benefits the digestive system by naturally treating and preventing constipation. Think of it as a health-giving, protective barrier for your gut. The electrolytes and healthy fats that coconut oil contains work to nourish the digestive lining, improve gut health, and prevent digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
6. Helps Control Diabetes
The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk work to slow the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream. This can help control insulin levels by preventing spikes and dips in blood sugar levels. Coconut milk benefits the body by naturally managing blood sugar levels and working to control diabetes. For this reason, coconut milk is a popular ingredient for desserts. It’s a great way to sweeten a dish without adding extra plain sugar. Furthermore, your body responds better to coconut milk as a source of energy than it does sugar.
7. Helps Prevent Anemia
Coconut milk benefits include the ability to help prevent anemia. Coconut milk is a healthy source of plant-based iron, which can combat an iron deficiency and unwanted anemia symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, nausea, dizziness, cramping and insomnia. However, the iron content of coconut milk isn’t high compared to other plant-based foods. Still, it’s a healthy way to help combat and prevent anemia. Other plant-based sources of iron include beans, nuts, and vegetables, such as spinach. Including plenty of these iron-rich foods can help keep anemia in check. Try washing them down with a healthy glass of coconut milk!
8. Prevents Joint Inflammation
Also on the list of coconut milk benefits is the ability to fight and prevent joint inflammation. This is good news for those who suffer from arthritis. The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk work to lower inflammation levels to reduce inflammatory conditions. Coconut milk can help fight arthritis, joint pain and muscle aches thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties.
As sugar is pro-inflammatory, coconut milk is a great option for those who have arthritis. Sugar can worsen inflammation associated with arthritis. Furthermore, sugar can increase pain and significantly lower immunity. As outlined above, however, regarding swelling, coconut milk actually has the opposite effect. If you suffer from arthritic swelling, you may want to try coconut milk to see if it helps.
9. Prevents Ulcers
You may have heard that coconut water can help prevent ulcers. While this is true, coconut water’s thicker, creamier cousin can do an even better job. Indeed, coconut milk benefits also include the ability to prevent ulcers. Research has shown that coconut milk has natural protective effects on ulcerated gastric mucus. This is the substance in your gut that, properly aggravated, can end up causing painful ulcers. Studies suggest, in fact, that consuming coconut milk on a regular basis can help reduce the risk of developing ulcers. (3)