Friday, October 22, 2010
Coconut Milk And Its Amazing Benefits
Coconut milk is a new to the health food arena, but it is causing quite a stir. Although many of us enjoy toasted coconut in cookies, in a creamy pie, or as flavoring for other desserts, few are aware of the fact that coconuts generally, and coconut milk in particular, offer an exciting array of hidden benefits to the human body. Scientists are working eagerly to study the possible medical treatments and cures that coconut milk might be able to produce. In the near future we might be seeing more coconut milk products at the grocery store, cosmetic counter and even pharmacy.
How is coconut milk made?
Most people do not know how to make coconut milk the proper way—you can’t just poke a hole through the tough skin and pour it out. Squeezed from the moist, white flesh of mature coconuts, the milk comes in two forms: thin and thick. The thin form of coconut milk is taken directly from the flesh via a first-squeeze process. Then the flesh is grated or sliced thin, soaked in hot water, and squeezed through cheesecloth or a thin mesh strainer a second time to produce the thicker version. This may be done two or three times to get increasingly diluted coconut milk that is still usable in a number of ways. The pre-existing liquid inside the fruit is usually referred to as coconut water and has its own claims to health-related fame.
What’s so great about coconut milk?
Although experts condemned the use of coconut milk a few decades ago due to its high-fat content, recent studies have uncovered valuable aspects of this fluid that can be used in a number of ways to improve people’s health.
Although high in saturated fat and calories, coconut milk is similar to human milk in key ways and contains important nutrients and fiber content.
You can make your own coconut milk at home. But for convenience, you can buy it in prepared form in a can or bottle at health food stores or Asian grocery supply shops. Be sure to refrigerate a container that has been opened, or it will go sour. Some stores sell coconut milk powder so you can mix it yourself to make several fresh servings over a period of time. It appears that coconut milk nutrition adds a valuable component to good health. Here are three key ways to make use of this intriguing natural substance.
Use Coconut Milk as a Health Aid
Benefits of coconut milk include possible anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic properties. In fact, it is currently being tested as a supplemental treatment for various chronic ailments with no known cure such as HIV. Check with your doctor first, and then try drinking coconut milk on a regular basis to safeguard your body from viral infections and to strengthen your immune system. If you suffer from a chronic viral condition like herpes, you can ask the doctor to check your blood levels before you start drinking coconut milk, and then check again every few weeks to measure any impact from the milk.
Keep an eye on the calories, though. A full cup (8 ounces) of thick coconut milk can have over 500 calories. Start with one-half cup per day to see how you like it and whether it affects your body in positive or negative ways. Most people like the taste of coconut milk, but if you don’t, you can add it to drink recipes, like a virgin colada (if you prefer nonalcoholic beverages) or a tropical smoothie.
Coconut Milk in Various Cooking Recipes
People around the world enjoy tasty Asian recipes that utilize coconut milk; for example, Thai food and certain kinds of Indian dishes use coconut milk and coconut oil for their unique contribution to many recipes. If adding coconut milk to your food seems distasteful, visit restaurants that specialize in Thai or Indian cuisine, as well as African or Hawaiian food, to sample various uses of coconut flavoring in prepared dishes. Many Oriental eateries offer coconut chicken or shrimp on the menu, and coconut milk soup is a gourmet treat. Items like these will give you an idea of their taste and texture and determine whether you want to try the recipe at home. In addition to beverages and appetizers, coconut milk can be added to main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. Some creative chefs substitute coconut milk for almost any recipe calling for other kinds of milk, but you will need to adjust these for texture and taste.
Another popular use is as a creamer or sweetener for coffee and tea. Powdered coconut milk can be packed in lunches or taken on camping trips, and is allegedly safe for kids and seniors. It could be a great substitute for those who don’t like the taste of regular powdered milk.
Condition Your Skin With Coconut Milk
Cosmetic experts report improved skin condition from topical use. Outside the body, coconut milk can provide numerous healthy uses to make your skin clean and moist.
Sephora.com offers a coconut milk salt scrub that gently exfoliates the body’s top skin layer while leaving the next layer smooth and supple. Many high-quality cosmetic manufacturers sell an assortment of beauty supplies that are made of or include coconut milk. These include body lotion, facial cream, body wash or soap, hair shampoo, hair conditioner, shower gel, foaming shower wash, body bath, and body butter.
As when purchasing coconut milk at the store, look for skin care products that contain no chemicals like artificial colors or scents, and preferably no preservatives. Read the ingredients to see what benefits, if any, are offered by the product. For example, some coconut milk cosmetic cleansers may offer anti-bacterial and anti-viral benefits to your skin, especially when used on a regular basis. Most if not all will help to moisturize and soften the skin. Make sure the product uses real coconut milk, not an artificial substitute. Check for the inclusion of sun screen that is SPF 15 or higher.
When shopping for coconut milk, avoid the “light” or diluted variety; it contains less of the lauric acid, which the body turns to monolaurin. an essential health aid. Don’t buy coconut milk with additives or chemicals, which can negatively impact its nutritional value. Lastly, look for credible health food sources when you go shopping.
Who would have thought that an exotic tropical fruit like the coconut could offer so much support to the human body? As a newer health food option, coconut milk continues to undergo testing and experiments to measure its advantages. Natural, tasty and accessible, coconut milk might have more untapped resources to be revealed in the future if it turns out to be usable as a treatment for viral or chronic diseases or as a cancer preventative. For now, explore the full range of health and nutrition options available in coconut milk as an interesting new addition to the health food industry.