Researchers have yet to determine with certainty the place of origin of the coconut tree, though most of them think coconut tree came from Southeast Asia. Featuring the ability to float, the fruits were dispersed by the sea to the land in many tropical countries where they have taken root in the sandy soil of the beaches. A habitat that is particularly suitable for this plant. For coastal populations, who did not always have access to drinking water, the liquid of its immature nuts was a gift of the gods.
Over time, the coconut has colonized all parts of the planet lying between the two tropics. Several varieties have been selected for commercial exploitation, but the wild form persists in many places where the fruit is the main source of fat, protein and a number of minor , but essential, nutritional components. On this regard one can affirm that, without coconut, whole civilizations would have not emerged or, at least, would have not survived. Hence its common names of “tree of life”, “tree of wealth,” “gem of the tropics,” there are many myths surrounding its origin among the peoples where coconut grows and where it has always played a leading role.
In the West, we find little mention of the coconut before the fourteenth century, when the Italian Marco Polo reported on his famous travels in Asia. With the expansion of the Portuguese Empire in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it became popular in Europe and later in North America.
The benefits for the health of coconut milk
The coconut milk is an excellent source of iron for men and women, while the desiccated coconut is a good source of iron in particular for for women, their needs being different. For its part, raw coconut is a source of iron. Each cell in the body contains iron. This mineral is essential for transporting oxygen and the formation of red blood cells.
It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in the nerve impulse). It should be noted that the iron content in plants (such as coconut) is less well absorbed by the body compared to iron from animal foods. Its absorption is enhanced when used with certain nutrients, such as vitamin C.
Coconut and coconut milk are excellent sources of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor of several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also helps prevent damage caused by free radicals.
The desiccated coconut and coconut milk are excellent sources of copper, while raw coconut is also a good source. As a component of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein for the structure and tissue repair) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also contribute to the body’s defense against free radicals.
The coconut milk is a good source of phosphorus, while the whole coconut is also a source of it. Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays a vital role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, he participates among others in the growth and regeneration of tissue and helps maintain normal blood pH. Finally, phosphorus is one of the constituents of cellular membranes.
Desiccated coconut is a good source of selenium, while raw coconut and coconut milk are also good sources of it. This mineral works with a major antioxidant enzymes, thus preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps to convert the thyroid hormone to its active form.
The desiccated coconut and coconut milk are sources of magnesium. Magnesium is involved in bone development, construction of proteins, enzyme action, muscle contraction, dental health and functioning of the immune system. It also plays a role in energy metabolism and in the transmission of nerve impulses.
The desiccated coconut and coconut milk are sources of potassium. In the body, it is used to balance the pH of the blood and stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach, promoting digestion. In addition, it facilitates the contraction of muscles, including the heart, and is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses.
The desiccated coconut and coconut milk are sources of zinc while raw coconut is a source of zinc for women only. Zinc participates including immune reactions, manufacture of genetic material, to taste perception, in wound healing and development of the fetus. It also interacts with the thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it is involved in the synthesis, storage and release of insulin.
The coconut milk is a source of vitamin B3. Also known as niacin, vitamin B3 is involved in many metabolic reactions and contributes particularly to the production of energy from carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and alcohol we consume. It also works in the DNA formation process, allowing normal growth and development.
The desiccated coconut is a source of pantothenic acid. Also called vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme allowing us to adequately use the energy in the food we eat. Desiccated coconut also participated in several steps of the production of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters (messengers in the nerve impulse) and hemoglobin.
The desiccated coconut is a source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is part of coenzyme involved in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids and the synthesis (manufacturing) of neurotransmitters (messengers in the nerve impulse). It also helps to manufacture red blood cells and allows them to carry more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the conversion of glucose into glycogen and is working towards the proper functioning of the immune system. Finally this vitamin plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in modulating hormone receptors.
The coconut milk is a source of folate. Folate (vitamin B9) is involved in the production of all body cells, including red blood cells. This vitamin plays an essential role in the production of genetic material (DNA, RNA), in the functioning of the nervous system and immune system, as well as in the healing of wounds and sores. As it is necessary for the production of new cells, an adequate intake is essential during periods of growth and development of the fetus.
A fatty food, but interesting from a nutritional point of view
Yet, if not abused, due to its fiber content, coconut milk can be an effective way to help control weight. The fat in coconut milk also increases metabolism and, when integrated into a diet low in calories, it helps in weight loss1. As usual, it’s all about quantity.
To enjoy the benefits of coconut, specifically on this aspect, it still would be better to consume the coconut milk, containing more protein and less fat. We will certainly not use it in the same way but if you want to take advantage of its fiber, coconut milk will be fat enough: it is therefore reserved as often as possible for the kitchen.
An alternative to animal milk
If you consume cow’s milk, coconut milk can be a great alternative, although unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk contains only 38 grams of calcium per cup. It contributes substantially to the construction and bone strength.
As explained above, the coconut milk contains selenium, which is an antioxidant which relieves the symptoms of arthritis. In fact, selenium helps to control free radicals and reduces the risk of inflammation of the joints.
Coconut milk benefits for hair
Just like coconut oil, coconut milk can help your hair. It is often used in hair masks and fills your hair with proteins. Thus, it offers benefits for your hair in the following way:
The application of coconut milk on your scalp gives a feeling of freshness. It nourishes the hair giving you a natural moisture. You can apply some fresh coconut milk made at home. Leave it for 20 minutes and then rinse your hair as usual.
This allows you to stimulate hair follicles and hair growth, which is particularly advantageous for hair restoration when they are dry, damaged, weakened, brittle and fragile as well as split ends.
Coconut milk is used with certain other organic compounds to be extremely beneficial for hair growth. For this purpose you can mix 50 ml of coconut milk with 100 ml of still water and add a few tablespoons of camphor oil to the mixture.
The mixture is very useful for people with hair loss problems. Massage your scalp including bald spots with this mixture and leave for several hours by placing a towel over your head, and then rinse with warm water.
Coconut milk acts as a conditioner for your hair, all you have to do is rub a little coconut milk while combing your hair. Just rub a small amount of coconut milk where the tangles are and comb through them.
Coconut milk will not only help mitigate the nodes, but also make your hair smooth and shiny. t provides you with longer and thicker hair. You can take equal amounts of coconut milk and shampoo in your hands and rinse your hair as usual.
Coconut milk will make your shampoo foam as you have never seen (like coconut oil), so you use less shampoo and do something good for your hair!
Coconut milk benefits for the skin
Whether ingested or applied locally, coconut milk is great for your skin. It is rich in vitamin A, C, calcium, iron and natural proteins that contribute to a healthy and radiant skin. The various benefits of coconut milk for the skin are the followings:
Because of its soothing, coconut milk is an excellent moisturizer for dry skin. Try adding a cup of rose petals, half a cup of rose water and a cup of coconut milk in a warm bath water. Soaking in the bath for about 15 minutes will help restore moisture to dry skin.
You can directly rub coconut milk on your skin and leave for 30 minutes. This will help combat dryness and promote healthy, glowing skin. But make sure that you use fresh coconut milk prepared at home.
The application of crude coconut milk is effective in the treatment of the skin damaged by the sun. All you need to do is apply a thin layer of fresh coconut milk to the area burnt by sunburn, fat and oil in the milk will help reduce redness and restore moisture to the skin burnt by the sun.
Consumption or coconut milk application improves the elasticity of the skin due to its copper content and vitamin C. These nutrients slow down your skin’s aging process by maintaining the flexibility and elasticity of the skin and blood vessels. Thus, it prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and aging spots.
Thanks to its moisturizing, coconut milk can ease the symptoms of psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. Natural fatty acids in milk that may help treat dry and irritable skin and remove harmful bacteria from your skin.
Combine two parts of olive oil with some coconut oil and apply on the skin to gently remove makeup while moisturizing the skin. This is a much healthier alternative to most commercial cleansers that are alcohol based.
- R. A. I. Ekanayaka, N. K. Ekanayaka, B. Perera, and P. G. S. M. De Silva. Impact of a Traditional Dietary Supplement with Coconut Milk and Soya Milk on the Lipid Profile in Normal Free Living Subjects. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 481068, 11 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/481068