Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on April 10, 2008
Creamy and sweet, rich and fatty. A food item described by these four adjectives surely can’t be good for you. Or can it? In the case coconut milk, that’s an affirmative. Whereas most foods high in saturated fats are bad for your waistline and your heart, when it comes to coconut milk the (albeit not super slim) but definitely heart-healthy South Pacific islanders are living testaments to its good all round health properties.
While coconut milk, which is derived from the flesh of the coconut, is high in saturated fat, it’s a “good saturated fat”, one which can be easily metabolized by the body. It doesn’t transform into “bad cholesterol” that can clog up the arteries. That’s because the principle ingredient in coconut milk is the lauric acid — the same stuff found in breast milk — which promotes brain development and healthy bones. What’s more, “it’s anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral”, and can strengthen your immune system and protect you from illnesses like hepatitis C, herpes and HIV.
You can make coconut milk fresh at home by pureeing the meat, or you can buy it canned or bottled at the supermarket. A good quality brand should have cream floating on top while the milk at the bottom should be more watery. Whichever you prefer, the key is to use it in moderation. I wouldn’t recommend pouring it onto your Special K in the morning.
Actually, you know what? Scratch that. I bet it tastes absolutely delicious and in any case skinny jeans are over-rated. This season it’s all about the heart.