Coconut milk is one of the creamiest and most delicious dairy alternatives you can find. But what is coconut milk, why is it good for your health and how can you use it in your kitchen? Let's dive in and learn how to use coconut milk like a pro.
What Is Coconut Milk?
Did you know that 'coconuts' means 'grinning face?' When Spanish explorers discovered coconuts, it reminded them of monkeys with the "three little eyes" at the bottom so they named them cocos, or 'grinning face.'
Despite their name, coconuts are actually fruits, not nuts. They are originally from Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia and grow on a type of palm.
These tropical fruits are unique, because you can use practically every part of them: their flesh, milk, sugar, oil and water are all edible and their shell can be used for all kinds of things, including sculpture and bowls.
Palm trees can produce 60-180 coconuts in a single harvest. With the ability to make coconuts up to 13 times a year, that is a lot of nutritious fruit!
Coconut milk is one of the most popular dairy alternatives that is made with coconut flesh (the white part), grated and soaked in hot water.
It is not to be mistaken for coconut water. Thanks to all the electrolytes, coconut water is nature's Gatorade, it is the liquid inside of the coconut. You can drink it with a straw out of the coconut.
Coconut milk, on the other hand, is made from coconut flesh. It is a richer and creamier drink than coconut water, filled with fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals, including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Both are incredibly healthy and should be part of your diet.
Coconut milk has been used throughout history across various cultures, mainly in Asia, but due to Indian influence, some parts of East-Africa too. It is an important part of curries, Thai coconut rice and turmeric golden milk. You can use it in smoothies, shakes, baked goods, kefirs and more. Coconut milk can even be part of your skincare routine, used for coconut milk baths or turmeric-coconut facials.
Why Should I Drink Coconut Milk?
Ten or twenty years ago, dealing with a dairy allergy or sensitivity, turning vegan or simply trying to reduce your dairy intake was a difficult quest. Today, we are lucky with so many dairy alternatives, including almond milk, rice milk, cashew milk, flax milk, coconut milk and so on. Various nut milks, seed milks, plant-based milks and animal milks have unique tastes and various health benefits, allowing you to pick the right milk(s) based on your personal health, unique taste buds, mood, recipes and ethical beliefs.
It really is a blessing to have so many options. Let's see how coconut milk fairs with other milk options.
Coconut Milk Versus Other Milk Alternatives
Out of all dairy alternatives, coconut milk most resembles the texture of whole dairy milk without hurting animals and causing allergies or health issues. Though it's high in many nutrients, it is relatively low on protein. Its specific nutty flavor makes it perfect and delicious for some dishes and less ideal for others. It's fantastic for smoothies, shakes, ice creams, baked goods, curries, coconut rice and many Asian dishes, but if you are looking for a less flavorful milk for your recipe, you may want to look for other options.
Looking through the list of different milk options can help you to decide when to choose coconut milk and when to try something else.
Coconut Milk Versus Almond Milk
Almond milk, one of the most popular dairy alternatives, is made from ground almonds, water and often sweeteners. It is sweet, creamy, low in calories, rich in vitamin E and other nutrients. If you are looking for protein, compared to dairy and soy milk, almond milk is still relatively low.
Coconut Milk Versus Rice Milk
Rice milk is another popular dairy alternative. It is made from boiled rice, brown rice syrup and brown rice starch. It's well tolerated by most people, however, it is thinner than dairy and other plant milk. If you are watching your carbs, this may not be the best choice since it is higher in carbs than other options.
Coconut Milk Versus Flax Milk
Flax milk is less known and is made from ground flax and water. It is sweet, thin and high in fiber and omega-3s. If you are using flax milk, check the container, because many are overly fortified and filled with sugar.
Coconut Milk Versus Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is an increasingly popular milk alternative made with hulled hemp seeds, water and some sweeteners. It is a great source of omega-3s, promoting brain and heart health. It is low in calcium and its nutty taste may be too strong for certain recipes.
Coconut Milk Versus Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is made with ground cashews, water and sometimes sweeteners. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals and supports your immune system and brain health. Compared to soy milk and dairy, it is relatively low in protein.
Coconut Milk Versus Soy Milk
Soy milk, traditionally the most common dairy alternative, is the bean extract of soybeans. It is often sold sweetened, fortified with calcium, vitamins A and D and riboflavin and provides plenty of protein. One of the main issues with soy milk is that soy allergies and sensitivities are quite common and have also been associated with heart disease.
Coconut Milk Versus Cow Milk
Being an animal-derived milk, cow's milk is not an option for vegans and octo-vegetarians. Cow's milk also causes sensitivities and allergies for many people that can develop later in adulthood too. Though cow's milk is a better source of protein than plant-milks, it is also higher in saturated fat and often sugar than coconut milk and many other plant-based milk alternatives. If you are not choosing organic cow's milk, you are also risking your health with GMOs and hormones.
Coconut Milk Versus Heavy Cream
Heavy cream comes from cow's milk. Though it has a good fatty acid profile, it can be insulin and growth-promoting and due to dairy allergies, is not tolerated by many. Canned coconut milk can be an excellent non-dairy heavy cream alternative with lots of medium chain triglycerides and anti-fungal properties.
Benefits Of Coconut Milk
Coconut Milk Can Improve Your Heart Health
A 2013 study has found that coconut milk can improve your cholesterol levels. Furthermore, coconut milk can also improve your blood pressure and circulation, benefiting your heart.
Coconut Milk Can Improve Your Performance, Help To Build Muscles And Reduce Fatigue
Thanks to the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), coconut milk can better your exercise performance and energy expenditure. Filled with minerals, it can also help you to recover faster, perform faster, be less fatigued and have more energy.
Coconut Milk Can Help You Lose Weight
As a 2003 study discovered, coconut milk is a fat-burning food that can help with weight loss. The high nutrition content and MCTs can help you feel satisfied longer and prevent you from snacking or overeating.
Coconut Milk Can Improve Your Digestion
According to a study on coconut milk, it can improve your digestion by hydrating your digestive tract, relieving constipation and nourishing your body with electrolytes.
Coconut Milk Can Help Manage Your Blood Sugar
Coconut milk can slow the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream, therefore, it can help balance your blood sugar levels and prevent sugar highs and diabetes.
Coconut Milk Can Help Inflammation
Because of its MCT content, coconut milk can prevent and lower inflammation in your body. It can improve your pain, arthritis and joint pain symptoms.
How To Use Coconut Milk
You can find and use coconut milk in various forms and ways, including coconut milk from a can, or a carton, or as a powder, yogurt or kefir.
Canned Coconut Milk
Canned coconut milk can be easily found in any supermarket in the canned goods aisle or the Asian or ethnic section. It is the creamiest and thickest form of coconut milk, making it perfect for dressings, marinades, curries, creamed dishes, soups, ice creams and baked goods.
Coconut Milk In A Carton
Coconut milk in a carton is a much thinner form of coconut milk than what you find in a can. It is perfect for smoothies or just to drink on its own, but you can use it for your dishes and baked goods as well. You can find it in your supermarkets, health food stores and online.
Coconut Milk Powder
Coconut milk powder is made from dried coconut meat and can be mixed with water to make coconut milk. Some brands use casein and other additives, so check your box before purchasing it, especially if you are vegan or have allergies. Many superfood powder mixes, like Organifi Gold Juice, use coconut milk powder for its amazing benefits.
Coconut Milk Yogurt
Coconut milk yogurt is a non-dairy yogurt alternative with beneficial good bacteria for your gut health. Use it over cereal, fruit salads, or enjoy it on its own. You can buy it at a health food store or supermarket or make your own.
Coconut Milk Yogurt Recipe
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 capsule of Biotic Balance Probiotics
- Refrigerate your canned coconut milk for a few hours to make a thicker yogurt. If you want a thinner yogurt, skip this step or cool it for a shorter time.
- In a bowl, combine your ingredients.
- Add it to a big enough sterilized glass jar. Mix it up again.
- Seal the jar and put it in your oven with the light on. Do NOT turn on the oven, just close the door. Even in cold weather, a closed and turned off oven with the light on can generate a stable 105 - 110 degree F temperature. Instead of putting it into the oven, you can also put it in a cooler with a heating pad wrapped around it.
- The longer you leave your jar to sit, the more yogurt-y it will become. Leaving it for 24 hours is the ideal time, but depending on your preference, you can experiment with 16 - 20 or even 25 - 30 hours.
Coconut Milk Kefir
Coconut milk kefir is another healthy and delicious cultured milk alternative that provides your gut with lots of probiotics, balancing your gut flora. Enjoy it on its own, in smoothies, over granola, or in various recipes.
Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Coconut milk is one of the best bases for non-dairy ice creams. Coconut Bliss, So Delicious, and Nada Moo are some of the most popular brands that make coconut milk ice cream, but you can also make your own at home.
If you want a healthy dose of coconut milk in your daily diet along with other powerful superfoods, Organifi Gold is your best friend. Besides coconut milk powder, it also includes turmeric, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, Reishi, turkey tail, monk fruit and acacia fiber. Organifi Gold can relieve pain and inflammation, boost your immune system, help your sleep, boost your memory and improve your cognitive function. Mix it with warm water for a powerful, warming fall drink or add it to cold water, smoothies, shakes, juices, baked goods and other recipes.
We use coconut milk powder as a base in Cacao Bliss. This sun-kissed raw cacao superfood blend is the best hot chocolate you'll ever sip, and only contains one gram of sugar! That's right, move over conventional-sugary-processed-hot-cocoa-brands and welcome the best thing that's happened since Organifi Green Juice! Cacao Bliss is packed with the finest raw cacao available along with other antioxidant-rich superfoods. Sip this all winter long to promote bliss, relaxation, immune-system revival and more. Learn more here.
Coconut Milk Recipes
- Turmeric-Coconut Milk
- Coconut Milk Baby Formula
- Pumpkin Smoothie
- Spiced Coconut Rice
- Thai Mango Sticky Rice
- Coconut Dream Smoothie
- Coconut Milk Cream Cheese
- Mega Morning Milk Shake
- Thai Green Curry
- Sweet Potato Curry Soup
Coconut milk is one of the most delicious dairy alternatives.
To get your daily dose, consider trying Organifi Gold. This is literally the most economical, smartest and easiest way to meet your nutrition needs and boost your health in a delicious way.
This tasty warming drink is filled with the power of many high-quality, organic, plant-based superfoods, including turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, Reishi, black pepper, turkey tail and of course, coconut milk powder. Organifi Gold can relieve pain and inflammation, boost your immune system, help you sleep, boost your memory and improve your cognitive function.
Drinking Organifi Gold daily can improve your health rapidly. It is so delicious, it will become one of the happiest parts of your day.
Try it and let us know what you think. We would love to hear your experiences and success stories.
And remember, we're in this together.