In Praise of Coconut Milk

Coconut milk has gained in popularity with the ketone diet and as a delicious alternative to butter when indulging in a good cup of bulletproof coffee, but don’t set it aside yet. There are several reasons to use coconut milk in your coffee year-round.

For one thing, coconut milk is cholesterol free. We must point out here that there is a misconception about this “coffee creamer” due to its high content in fat (74% per cup compared to 12% for whole milk). If you have high cholesterol, like an increasing number of Americans, chances are your doctor suggested you reduce your consumption of cheese and dairy in general. Soymilk is certainly a delicious option, but coconut milk is gaining in popularity and for good reason.

Aside from its nutritional value (22% iron and magnesium, 11% vitamin C, 10% folate, 21% selenium and a whopping 110% manganese), coconut milk has been shown to provide significant health benefits, especially when it comes to the heart and weight.

For example, the types of fatty acids present in coconut – caprylic acid and capric acid – are less likely to be stored as fat. According to research, they are directed to the liver and turned into energy, or ketone production. In studies, subjects who increased their intake of these fatty acids experienced a higher level of satiety and thus reduced appetite and cravings throughout the day. Subjects who used coconut milk in their coffee decreased their weight over time.

We can attest to this fact from direct experience. The writer of this article noticed a distinct reduction in cravings for snacks throughout the day (an easy habit to develop when you work at the computer all day!) upon switching from milk to coconut milk in her morning coffee. Soymilk and almond milk did not provide the same result.

In one significant study, subjects who consumed coconut milk porridge over an eight-week period increased their HDL (good) cholesterol by 18%. A similar study with soy revealed a 3% increase in good cholesterol.

To be fair, it is still early to draw sweeping conclusions from the initial studies of coconut milk. Scientists believe further research is required, but the conclusions are promising. Other verified benefits of coconut milk and coconut oil include increased liver health, reduced inflammation and increased resistance to viruses and harmful bacteria.

For ultimate health benefits when shopping for coconut milk, choose a low-calorie, unsweetened option and make sure the can is BPA-free. Coconut milk is available in cartons also. We find the can to be more convenient when using the coconut milk as a coffee creamer only since less of it will be used over time. An open carton will not last long enough. Some people like to freeze coconut milk in ice-cube trays, to use in daily one-serving portions. Note that freezing coconut milk alters its texture. We personally prefer the richer aspect of refrigerated (not frozen) coconut milk.

You may be wondering about taste. It is true that coconut adds some of its natural flavor to coffee, but it does not overpower a good brew. Far from it. Coffee and coconut combine with ease, as though they were made for each other. We find the resulting richness to be utterly satisfying. Incidentally, many believe that milk modifies the taste of coffee to a greater degree than coconut milk.

To make your own coconut milk, simply purée raw coconut flesh in a food processor or blender. Add water to a 1:1 ratio and mix to a smooth texture.

Bonus benefit if you use a travel mug: As you know, a travel mug is harder to clean than a ceramic mug. Coffee leaves a stain overtime. This, it turns out, is especially true if you mix it with milk, soy or almond milk. However, the natural oils in coconut milk prevent coffee particles from adhering to your travel mug’s walls.

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