by Shelby Keys, NEPA
What is coconut milk and why drink it?
When we think of coconut milk, most of us probably think of our Spring Break pina coladas. But coconut milk can also be used in ice cream, yogurt, soups, or even as a substitute for a glass of regular milk.
Some consumers are wary to buy it, because traditional coconut milk is high in saturated fats, calories, and sugars. However, newer unsweetened coconut milk beverages have a better nutritional profile with only 50 calories for one cup. The So Delicious brand is also high in Vitamin B12, magnesium, and calcium. While the saturated fat content seems to be high, the saturated fat in coconut milk is made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which are quickly metabolized by the liver for energy, rather than stored as fat.
Furthermore, half of the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk are composed of lauric acid, which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal.
For the vegans out there, coconut milk is dairy free! It still has the consistency of milk, but is slightly sweeter, sometimes flavored with vanilla, and contains a hint of coconut flavor. What’s more is that coconut milk is higher in fiber, lower in sugar, and contains the same percent daily value of calcium–30 percent—as skim milk and soymilk. On the contrary, coconut milk is lower in protein, Vitamin A, and contains no Vitamin D, so these must be sought from alternative sources.
Nonetheless, coconut milk is a great alternative for those who are bored of regular milk and want to try something new, healthy, and different. There are tons of ways to enjoy this nutritious beverage, so grab it next time you’re at the store!