Coconut milk is a rich, creamy liquid made from the meat of ripe coconuts. It is a very popular drink in the Philippines, the Caribbean, and anywhere coconut trees are abundant.

Coconut milk has the aroma of a coconut and a slightly sweet taste. It is an excellent substitute for cow’s milk as it is easy to digest, easy to make, and contains a wealth of nutrients. It can be drunk alone, but it is also used in cooking or mixed with smoothies to benefit from its nutritional value.

Coconut milk is rich in vitamins and minerals

Vitamins C, E, and B vitamins are abundant in coconut milk. Vitamins C and E help support the immune system, and B vitamins are responsible for providing energy to cells . Coconut milk is rich in magnesium , potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Magnesium is responsible for many biochemical functions in the body, including regulating the rhythm of the heart and supporting nerve cell function.

Potassium maintains the tissues of the heart, kidneys, brain, and muscles. Phosphorus keeps teeth and bones strong, and iron creates red blood cells and carries oxygen throughout the body.

Antioxidants in coconut milk

“Ceylon Medical Journal” notes that milk like coconut cream is rich in antioxidants, and prevents free radical damage. Free radicals are associated with the development of many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and age-related dementia. Antioxidants can help reverse damage and slow the aging process.

Drink a glass of coconut milk , while eating other antioxidant rich foods such as nuts, raisins and blueberries, energy generating snacks that are rich in antioxidants will boost your immunity while rebuilding damaged cells in the body.

Lauric acid

Coconut milk is rich in lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that is abundant in mother’s milk. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, lauric acid has many germ-killing properties, it is anti-fungal and anti-viral. Lauric acid can also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reducing the risks of heart disease and stroke. There are only a few foods that are rich in lauric acid, so drinking coconut milk regularly provides benefits of this nutrient.

Heart disease

According to the “Ceylon Medical Journal,” coconut fats do not contain trans fatty acids. The fats that are present in coconuts are less likely to clog your arteries, which makes coconut milk a healthy alternative to cow’s milk when it comes to preserving your heart health. Coconut meat contains monoglycerides, which the body absorbs and uses for energy shortly after it is consumed. Because the body does not store coconut fats, there is less chance that your arteries or blood vessels will become clogged, which lowers the risk of heart disease.

Steps to make coconut milk

1. Peel the coconut and cut it into pieces

Peel the coconut and extract its meat; also reserve the coconut water. Once you have the coconut meat cut it into small pieces and simply add it to your blender along with the coconut water and an extra cup of filtered water.

2. Process the coconut meat with its water

Process for about 5 minutes or maybe up to 10. This will form a somewhat thick dough. It is due to the mixture of coconut oil and water.

3. Filter the processed mixture

When you feel that your coconut has given all it had to give, transfer the contents of your blender to a fine mesh sieve to filter. We let it rest for a while and we get ready to filter the preparation but not before adding another half cup of filtered water to your food blender and giving it a quick spin just to mix it with the remains that have been stuck. Add to the previously processed mixture.

Now we proceed to squeeze. You need to squeeze the mixture very well. We press the grated meat well until it is very dry. In this way, we have obtained our coconut milk, which will serve us in an infinity of preparations.

The result will be a very dry and rather bland and flavorless pile of coconut meat. You could discard it or take advantage of it as a fiber to add a few tablespoons to your dishes such as salads or baked goods. However, it is not very palatable.

Different consistencies of milk that can be extracted from coconut

“first milk” can be obtained by grating the coconut meat and using a kitchen cloth very similar to gauze, it is squeezed out. That first liquid that is obtained is little and very thick.

Through this one reaches the second type of milk, “second milk” or clear milk . Water is added several times to the pulp and it is squeezed with the gauze. In Southeast Asia, the experts for this art are women who even do it simply with their hands.

When the milk obtained is left to rest, we will see that it separates and forms a thick layer called “coconut cream  or coconut cream.

We can also obtain coconut milk, from a dry grated coconut (not roasted), we must add water and let it rest for 30 minutes to hydrate again.

Where can we use coconut milk?

  • Shakes
  • Baked
  • Soups
  • Drinks
  • Like ice cubes – put them in hot coffee or tea when a little “cream” is needed, or in smoothies.

Coconut milk shelf life

Homemade coconut milk will only keep for 4-5 days in the fridge, so you want to make enough so you don’t have to throw it away.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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