Tuesday, 1 November 2011

What a lovely (and healthy) bunch of coconuts!

I am so in love with coconut milk that I have to tell you about its existence and its benefits!
I found out about coconut milk over the summer from a new friend on a course I attended.  We were talking about how difficult it is to find a tasty replacement for cows milk, especially when having it on cereals or in hot drinks.  My friend then mentioned that she had struck upon coconut milk.  And its not same thick coconut milk that you put in thai curries!
As soon as I got home I got my hands on some to see what she was raving about, and I have to say I was hooked.  It has a similar consistency to semi-skimmed cows milk.  It is not sweet or watery like rice milk and not sticky and heavy like soya milk.  It also doesn't really taste of coconut.
I then started looking into the health benefits and it really seemed a no brainer that I had found a perfect replacement! 
Coconut milk is made up of 60% Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT).  Coconut oil and the indian cooking product, ghee, are also made up of high levels of MCT's.
Fats are either Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) or Long Chain Triglycerides (LCT).  After reading information about these fats it became very apparent that MCT's are much healthier for the body.  Fats are made up of molecules which are composed of chains of carbon atoms.  As you may have guessed the MCT have less carbon atoms than the LCT chains and this is what is beneficial to health.  Due to its make-up it is rapidly absorbed by the body rather than being stored as fat.  There has been research into its benefits on exercise and energy levels, weight control, appetite control, the cardiovascular system and immunity, all with positive results.
I normally try to avoid dairy (along with wheat).  Ultimately, not having them in my diet gives me more energy, a lighter feeling, a better mood and improved condition of my skin - but you must always only do what feels right for you.
I still mix in soya, rice and hemp milk every now and again and even with all good intentions I have been known to dabble in a delicious milky belgian hot chocolate during my 20% 'eat/drink what you want' times!  So, if you decide to try coconut milk then remember to make it part of a balanced diet.
Zen Dog
(Coconut milk is sold in Holland & Barratt, Whole Foods and I believe some large Tesco's).

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