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What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Coconut Milk Every Day

Coconut milk is a popular alternative milk that provides a number of nutrients. Learn from experts what happens when you drink it every day.

By Kaly JohnesPublished about a month ago 3 min read
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There are tons of different alternative milks to pick from nowadays. But some, like coconut milk, are staples that have been around much longer than the trend. Coconut milk itself is derived from the flesh of mature coconuts, and is mixed with water to thin it out.

You’ll find some coconut milk in a carton, which is different from canned coconut milk that usually includes the thicker coconut cream. Since coconut milk in cartons is more diluted than coconut milk in a can, it can contain stabilizers, flavorings and can be fortified with additional nutrients. This type of coconut milk often has nutrients like vitamin B12 and vitamin D added that help your body thrive, and it can also support heart health, lower inflammation levels and better blood sugar control.

You might be wondering: what happens if you drink coconut milk daily? Is there a downside to adding it to your diet? Let’s talk about the benefits of coconut milk, potential drawbacks and understand what to expect from this popular plant-based alternative.

Health Benefits of Coconut Milk

You May Experience Better Blood Sugar Control

Coconut is mainly composed of carbohydrates and fat. When dietary fat is combined with protein- and fiber-rich foods, this trio of nutrients helps support steady blood sugar levels, rather than blood sugar spikes and crashes.

Bailey Franklyn, RD, registered dietitian and owner of Harvest Table Nutrition also highlights a 2021 study done on rats with diabetes suggesting that daily consumption of coconut milk may improve blood sugar and HbA1c levels.1 It’s important to note that these findings are preliminary and derived from animal studies, so more clinical research in humans is needed to help clarify their findings.

You May Support Weight Management

Something that sets coconut milk apart is that it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are a unique type of fat because they are used by the body as an immediate energy source similar to glucose in the blood. A recently-published review even points to studies linking MCTs to increased energy expenditure (AKA burning more calories) and improved weight management.2

However, it’s important to not jump to conclusions too quickly. Emily Holdorf, M.S., RDN, CDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and recipe developer at EmPowered Nutrition points out a 2022 review that also took a look at MCTs in food. Holdorf mentions, “There have been many studies done to see if MCTs can benefit body composition, weight and metabolism, but none have been conclusive and more extensive research is still needed.”3

Holdorf goes on to highlight, “Coconut milk is lower in calories, but since it has less protein and carbohydrates than cow's milk, you may end up feeling less satisfied which could contribute to more snacking throughout the day.”

To keep you satisfied longer, try pairing a glass of coconut milk with a source of protein and fiber such as a bowl of yogurt and berries or an egg scramble with vegetables.

You May Improve Heart Health

Research has shown that a high protein diet combined with coconut milk could potentially reduce cholesterol. This research was done primarily in rodents, so more clinical research in humans is needed to understand this potential link.4

Argavan Nilforoush, RD, registered dietitian nutritionist at Baby Steps Nutrition, points out how coconut milk is also a good source of potassium, which is a nutrient that helps regulate blood pressure. Be sure to round out your potassium intake by also reaching for potassium-rich food sources like salmon, avocados and bananas.

You May Decrease Inflammation

Franklyn relays how coconut milk may help decrease inflammation in the body because it contains something called “lauric acid”, a medium-chain fatty acid. Lauric acid is found in even larger quantities in coconut oil. According to research, lauric acid has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects.5 More research is needed to fully understand the potential effects of coconut milk on inflammation, though.

Coconut Milk Nutrition

One cup of unsweetened, fortified coconut milk contains the following:

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About the Creator

Kaly Johnes

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