Due to its distinct flavor and creamy texture, coconut milk can add a nice touch to coffee, protein shakes, and desserts. Although it is nowhere near as popular as other vegan milk alternatives in the United States, it maintains a loyal fan base. But how nutritious is this drink? Do they have tangible health benefits?
Coconuts are known for their high saturated fat content. For decades, this nutrient has been linked to the obesity epidemic and a host of chronic diseases. However, recent years have seen a sharp increase in studies (Opens in a new tab) Challenge these findings, and even contradict them.
If you feel confused, don’t worry. In this article, we will discuss the nutritional value and potential health benefits of coconut milk to help you decide if it is the right vegan alternative for you.
Coconut Milk: Nutritional Information
|Nutrients||Amount per serving (1 cup)||% daily value|
|Dietary fiber||1.9 grams||7%|
|Vitamin D||3.6 mcg||18%|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||0 mg||0%|
|Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)||2.16 mcg||90%|
Coconut Milk in a Can vs. Coconut Milk in a Can
There are two types of coconut milk – canned and canned. Although made with the same ingredient, they differ in consistency, nutritional value, storage capacity, and culinary uses.
Canned coconut milk is a thick white liquid that is extracted from the “flesh” of the coconut. Because it’s canned and airtight in a sterile container, it’s shelf-stable and comes with a longer expiration date than the coconut milk in the carton. It also does not require refrigeration. Canned coconut milk has a much higher fat content than other types of milk, and as such, is primarily used as a cooking ingredient. It is a common staple in many South Asian cuisines and is frequently used in making curries.
Coconut milk from the carton is a white, watery liquid extracted from the meat of the coconut and is rich in vitamins, minerals and added sugars. It is mainly used as a milk substitute in coffee, smoothies, shakes and cereals. Unlike canned coconut milk, the carton version contains much less fat and more water, and in most cases, it should be refrigerated before and after opening.
How long does coconut milk last?
Just like dairy milk, the coconut milk in the carton can be divided into two categories: UHT (Ultra High Temperature) / shelf stable and fresh / refrigerated. UHT drinks undergo intense heat treatment to increase their shelf life, while refrigerated drinks do not. As a result, they come with different use dates and storage instructions.
Shelf-stable coconut milk is typically six to 12 months old. Refrigerated dates tend to have much shorter use dates – usually two weeks after their production time – and stay fresh for about a week after opening.
What are the health benefits of coconut milk?
When water doesn’t count, saturated fat is the main ingredient in coconut milk. for several decades, Saturated fat It is considered one of the largest contributors to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and degenerative conditions. However, more studies (Opens in a new tab) They began to contradict this, pointing to the fact that the relationship between cardiovascular disease and saturated fat consumption remains weak.
There is also increasing evidence to suggest that fatty acids are present in Coconut Oil Lauric acid and medium chain fatty acids in particular may actually be beneficial to our health. According to a review published in Journal of Food and Agricultural Sciences (Opens in a new tab)Lauric acid has been shown to exhibit antibacterial and antiviral properties, while medium-chain fatty acids, which are similar to the fats found in human breast milk, may play an important role in regulating blood lipids, improving cognitive function, and fighting free strays and reduce ignitionas well as reduce the risk of development Type 2 diabetes And many types of cancer.
When compared to animal fats, regular consumption of coconut oil may result in lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, as evidenced by the results of a meta-analysis published in Nutrition Reviews (Opens in a new tab). However, it should be noted that another meta-analysis was published in Diabetes and metabolic syndrome (Opens in a new tab) He points to the more harmful effects of coconut oil on heart health.
What’s more, according to a review published in International Journal of Food Sciences (Opens in a new tab)Coconut milk contains several compounds that may provide protection against damage to fats, proteins, and DNA strands. This drink also tends to be enriching CalciumAnd the Vitamin B12 And the Vitamin DWhich can help vegans increase their intake of these nutrients without resorting to additional supplements. Unsweetened coconut milk is largely free of carbohydrates and sugars as well, which makes it a good choice for people who eat it. Low carb diets.
Coconut Milk vs Almond Milk
according to statista (Opens in a new tab)And the Almond milk It is the most popular plant-based milk alternative in the United States. Unsweetened almond milk tends to have much fewer calories as well as a much lower fat and protein content than coconut milk. When it comes to nutrient values, they are roughly comparable in both drinks, although this varies distinctly between brands. As such, almond milk may be a better choice for people whose primary goal is weight loss, while coconut milk is more suitable for individuals with a more substantial drink.
Both almond and coconut milk work well in a variety of meals and drinks. However, coconut milk tends to have a stronger taste and more immersive aroma which may overpower other ingredients, so you may need to use it in moderation in cooking.
From an environmental perspective, the impact of coconut and almond cultivation is somewhat similar in terms of water and land use, according to a review published in global food security (Opens in a new tab) magazine. So it really comes down to your health goals and personal preferences.