WHAT’S IN YOUR FOOD …THE GOOD STUFF   (COCONUT MILK)

MATURE COCONUT

MATURE COCONUT

Do you recall that delicious flavor from the cocktail at the beach during your last tropical vacation?

Chances are, if it is memorable, it came from the coconut in your Pina-Colada. Virgin or alcoholic, the aroma and taste of coconut is always pleasant.

Coconut milk is derived from the meat of a mature coconut.  

coconut milk

coconut milk

The coconut palm is native to Malaysia, Polynesia, and Southern Asia. This palm has the distinct advantage in that every part of the tree can be used. Either nutritionally, commercially, or industrially. In some counties in the Indian ocean, the coconut was once considered so valuable that it was used as a form of currency. The fruit of the tree yields coconut meat, coconut milk, coconut sugar, and coconut oil.

Coconut milk is considered a much healthier alternative to dairy milk. Because it is a natural product, it is easier for the body to assimilate and make use of the nutritional components. To get some of the same benefits as in coconut oil, go here. 

climbing a coconut tree

climbing a coconut tree

 

The coconut palm is grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions, and the fruit grows in clusters towards the top of the palm with its branches reaching towards the sun. A tall coconut tree takes 8 to 10 years to mature, and a dwarf palm can bear fruit in about 5 years. My earliest recollection of the coconut palm, was the ingenious ways that people devised to reach the top of the trees to retrieve the fruit. These palms can grow up to 95 feet tall.

YOUNG COCONUT

YOUNG COCONUT

Coconut milk is not to be confused with coconut water. Coconut water is the water that fills the space inside a young coconut. As it matures the volume of water gives way to the volume of the maturing flesh.

 

 

The very nature of coconut milk does not allow it to be highly processed.  The flesh of a fully mature coconut is pulverized, water added and then drained. This produces coconut milk. Three products can be derived from coconut milk.

It can be used as the milk, the same way one would use dairy milk.

It can be further dehydrated to form coconut cream, or cream of coconut, or it can be allowed to settle to collect the coconut oil.

It has a high fat content. This makes it a viable  milk or cream for culinary purposes.

NUTITIONALLY

Coconut milk boasts of a plethora of nutrients . It is rich in iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. As well as vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6.

Coconut oil has as much as 89 grams of magnesium per cup. This greatly assists in calming nerves and helping to maintain normal blood pressure. (The oil in coconut milk is diluted so the ratio would be much smaller.)

Coconut milk has 240 milligrams of phosphorus per cup.

Coconut Milk contains a powerful anti-oxidant called Selenium which controls free radicals in the body, and decreases inflammation.  Also, the ample lauric acid in coconut milk is converted to monolaurin which is a compound known to have antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. For these reasons, coconut milk helps to prevent those inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.

You can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation in this convenient and affordable way.

FOR COOKING AND BAKING

Because coconut has a creamy consistency, and is both delicious and nutritious it can be used anywhere you would use dairy milk.

Nut milks are also good replacements for dairy in baking and deserts, but coconut milk has the added value of not being watery and do a much better job in deserts and creams.

Coconut milk is being widely accepted as a viable replacement to dairy for yogurts, whipped cream, and ice-cream. An added attraction for the health conscious is that because coconut milk naturally has a sweet flavor, it requires less added sugar than dairy milk.

Coconut milk products are being produced commercially, and are becoming popular as the main ingredient in yogurts, ice-cream, whipped cream etc.

coconut milk yogurt

coconut milk yogurt

coconut milk whipped cream

coconut milk whipped cream

coconut milk  icecream

coconut milk icecream

 

SKIN and HAIR

For beauty care, coconut oil is more popular than coconut milk. But the milk can be used for skin care and beauty the same way you would use dairy milk. It may be rather costly to take a coconut milk bath, but I can imagine the luxury of that option.

Coconut milk can be used as a moisturizer for skin. Bathe your face in coconut milk and leave it on for up to fifteen minutes and then rinse. Or give your hands a luxurious soak in coconut milk for ten to fifteen minutes and then rinse, to soften and replenish moisture. In this same fashion, coconut milk can be uses as a hair conditioner. Natural nutrients and oils work to condition the hair.

For leave in treatments for skin and hair, use coconut oil instead

 

pina colada

pina cola

Or, of course you can have a Pina Colada, at your favorite bar. 

Coconut Milk.  A wonderful and versatile gift of nature.

 

 

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