Top Four Health Benefits of Coconut Oil and Milk

Looking for more energy, clearer skin, a lovely figure, and stronger bones? The benefits of coconut oil and milk could be your answer! Coconut milk is one of many nutritious and delicious substitutes for cow's milk. Coconut complements pineapple, peach, and mango with a rich creamy flavor. Coconut milk is not only a great way to add flavor and cream to a smoothie, but many of the benefits of coconut oil and milk don't get a lot of publicity.

There are several types of coconut that you can blend into a coconut smoothie. Coconut oil, coconut cream, coconut milk, and the shredded coconut are just a few of the main ones. Out of all those options, I find that coconut milk adds the best flavor and texture to a coconut smoothie.

#1 - Beneficial Oils from Coconut

coconut splas

Depending on the brand... Coconut milk is high in saturated fat, nearly 25 grams (225 calories) in half a cup, but the fat in coconut milk is healthy fat. The fatty acids in coconut milk are of the medium chain triacylglycerol or MCT type.

The distinguishing feature of MCTs so important to coconut nutrition is that they are burned faster than other types of fatty acids, and they are especially beneficial for providing energy for the lymph nodes and liver.

MCTs are absorbed only by the older, more highly differentiated fat cells, rather than fat cells formed after exposure to certain medications (such as the diabetes drugs Actos and Avandia). Once inside the cell, they form smaller droplets that are more easily joined by enzymes and more quickly converted into energy by the cell. MCTs are less "fattening" than other kinds of fatty acids.

#2 - Microbial and Antibacterial Benefits

Coconut milk, like the "meat" of the coconut, is rich in the benefits of coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is 50 to 55 percent lauric acid. This fatty acid stops microbial growth. As a result, foods prepared with coconut lasts longer. Coconut oil by itself stays fresh at room temperature for up to a year.

The lauric acid in coconut milk is also effective against the principle bacterium involved in acne, Propioniobacterium acnes, due to its antibacterial properties. The lauric acid survives digestion, enters the bloodstream, and is attracted to the sebum created in pores of the skin. Dissolving in the sebum, it can slow down the growth of the acne bacteria that feed on excess sebum. Not so much that they cannot do their job of "clean up," but it is enough that they are less likely to multiply out of control and become those dreaded blemishes.

#3 - Benefits of Coconut Oil with Weight Loss

Although too much of a good thing is possible, even when you are considering the benefits of coconut oil. As it is with any food, moderate amounts of coconut oil from coconut milk stimulate thyroid function and encourage weight loss.

Even the Asian farmers avoid feeding coconut to farm animals they want to fatten up. Using coconut oil in moderate amounts, up to about 2 tablespoons (30ml) a day, in place of other oils, may help you lose weight (about 1 pound or half a kilo a month) even if you eat the same portions of other foods. You may get the same result from using 1/4 cup of coconut milk a day in your smoothies.

#4 - Benefits of Coconut Oil - Stronger Teeth

Coconut milk helps prevent gingivitis. Indian dental researchers of coconut nutrition have found that the fleshy tissues surrounding the teeth survive longer in coconut milk than they do even in other antioxidant preparations.

And coconut milk even can be a source of calcium. Dr. Regine van der Hee from Unilever Food and Health Research Institute in Holland was quoted in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that "coconut milk is as good a source of calcium as yogurt," and that actually about 10% more calcium is absorbed from coconut milk than from cow's milk.

Tips for Blending a Coconut Smoothie

coconut milk

Coconut milk is not the watery fluid inside a coconut. That is coconut water. Instead, it is an oily, milky, sweet fluid extracted by squeezing the freshly extracted meat of the coconut.

Thick coconut milk is made by squeezing the fresh coconut meat through a cheesecloth. Thin coconut milk is made by after soaking the coconut mash in water and squeezing it a second and third time. Both forms of coconut milk are excellent sources of coconut nutrition, but thick coconut milk is higher in beneficial fats and lauric acid.

Don't store unopened, canned coconut milk in the refrigerator. It will solidify and you won't be able to pour the milk out of the can very easily. (This stuff is more like a cream. Coconut milk from the carton is fine in the refrigerator.) Have your coconut cream at room temperature and add cold ingredients to coconut cream in the blender, not coconut cream to cold ingredients.

A little coconut milk goes a long way. You probably don't want more than one cup of coconut milk in a two-cup smoothie. Coconut is delicious made into a chocolate coconut smoothie recipe or pina colada smoothie recipe!

Store the unused coconut milk in a glass container in the refrigerator or freeze in an ice cube tray. Allow time for it to come to room temperature before using it in your next smoothie. You could double your coconut smoothie recipe and share it with a friend.

Some people can be allergic to coconut. You might want to try just a very tiny amount of coconut milk first before you try an entire smoothie. Of course you will want to avoid coconut milk altogether if you have ever had an anaphylactic reaction to coconut or coconut oil.

Selected references:

Gopikrishna V, Baweja PS, Venkateshbabu N, Thomas T, Kandaswamy D. Comparison of coconut water, propolis, HBSS, and milk on PDL cell survival.J Endod. 2008 May;34(5):587-9. Epub 2008 Mar 19.

van der Hee RM, Miret S, Slettenaar M, Duchateau GS, Rietveld AG, Wilkinson JE, Quail PJ, Berry MJ, Dainty JR, Teucher B, Fairweather-Tait SJ. Calcium absorption from fortified ice cream formulations compared with calcium absorption from milk. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 May;109(5):830-5.

Yang D, Pornpattananangkul D, Nakatsuji T, Chan M, Carson D, Huang CM, Zhang L. The antimicrobial activity of liposomal lauric acids against Propionibacterium acnes. Biomaterials. 2009 Oct;30(30):6035-40. Epub 2009 Aug 8.

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The contents are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This website is for sharing knowledge and information from the research and experience of DaNae. She encourages you to make your own health decisions based upon your research and discussion with your own qualified professionals.

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