11 Health Benefits Of Coconut Milk During Pregnancy

coconut milk during pregnancy
coconut milk during pregnancy

Coconut milk is safe and beneficial during pregnancy, but it should not replace water. It has various forms, but has a higher fat content. This article focuses on coconut milk during pregnancy, while information on coconut water and general coconut consumption can be found elsewhere.

Is Coconut Milk Safe During Pregnancy?

Coconut milk, made by blending mature coconut flesh with water, is safe to consume during pregnancy and in cooking. It is a source of healthy fats that can lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol[ncbi]. However, due to its high fat content, moderation is advised when using coconut milk as a dairy alternative. When selecting coconut milk, opt for unsweetened and preferably organic brands.

Benefits of Coconut Milk During Pregnancy

  1. 💊 Rich in Essential Nutrients: Coconut milk is packed with vital minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium) and vitamins (C, E, and B-complex) necessary for the healthy development of the baby.Coconut is a highly valued ingredient in the human diet for its numerous medicinal benefits [1].
  2. 🦴 Promotes Bone Health: The calcium content in coconut milk aids in the formation of strong bones and teeth, reducing the risk of conditions like osteoporosis.
  3. Preventing Anemia: It is also considered as a natural source of dietary supplements with proven benefits in preventing anemia, regulating heart functioning, and acting as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral [2].
  4. 🛡️ Boosts Immunity: Coconut milk’s lauric acid has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, strengthening the immune system and protecting against infections.
  5. 🍽️ Aids Digestion: The dietary fiber in coconut milk supports healthy digestion and regulates bowel movements, alleviating common digestive discomforts.
  6. ❤️ Supports Heart Health: Coconut milk’s cholesterol-free nature and medium-chain fatty acids contribute to a healthy heart by balancing cholesterol levels.
  7. 💧 Provides Natural Electrolytes: Coconut milk’s electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, maintain fluid balance, preventing dehydration and related issues.
  8. 🌟 Enhances Skin and Hair Health: Coconut milk moisturizes the skin, reduces dryness, and promotes healthy hair follicles, minimizing hair fall.
  9. 🩺 Manages Blood Pressure: Coconut milk’s potassium content helps regulate blood pressure levels, reducing the risks associated with gestational hypertension.Coconut milk and water products are often associated with health advantages such as regulating blood pressure, preventing heart attacks and strokes, increasing body fitness, and improving kidney health [3]
  10. 🩸 May Help Manage Gestational Diabetes: With its low glycemic index, coconut milk does not cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, making it a beneficial addition to the diet for managing gestational diabetes.
  11. Anti-ulcer property: Coconut milk and water also contain antioxidants and high levels of potassium, making them unique. Coconut water provides antiulcerogenic properties that are highly comparable to those of sucralfate known for its ability to coat the gastric lining with complex proteins to protect it [4].
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Risks of Coconuts During Pregnancy

  1. Although coconut is discouraged in the diet of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases and hypertension due to its high lipid and saturated fat content, it maintains other health benefits [5].
  2. Coconut oil has a higher amount of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) compared to other oils. However, studies have found that when people consume coconut oil, it can raise their levels of bad cholesterol (LDL-C), which is not good for heart health.[6]
  3. Despite its proven health benefits, coconut diethanolamide, a tensioactive synthesized with coconut oil, was found to cause allergic reactions such as eyelid dermatitis in some individuals [7].

Is Canned Coconut Milk Pregnancy-Safe?

Canned coconut milk is used for cooking, while carton coconut milk can be used for cooking or drinking. Check the pricing of “light” and “normal” versions when buying canned coconut milk. Some canned brands contain safe guar gum, and it’s advisable to avoid BPA-lined cans during pregnancy.[PubMed][NHS]

Is Coconut Milk Pasteurized?

Avoid raw coconut milk during pregnancy due to the risk of bacterial contamination. Raw coconut meat should be pasteurized to kill bacteria. Commercial coconut milk is pasteurized or sterilized.

coconut milk best brands in us & uk

  • Thai Kitchen
  • Native Forest
  • Aroy-D
  • 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods Market)
  • Chaokoh
  • Biona Organic
  • Koko Dairy Free
  • Alpro
  • Blue Dragon
  • Ayam

Healthy Recipes with Coconut Milk

Incorporating coconut milk into your pregnancy diet can be both delicious and nutritious. Here are three simple recipes to try:

Coconut Milk Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup frozen berries
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
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Instructions:

  1. Blend all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  2. Enjoy this refreshing coconut milk smoothie as a quick breakfast or snack.

Coconut Milk Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli)
  • 1 cup cooked protein (e.g., tofu, chicken, or shrimp)
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk and red curry paste over medium heat.
  2. Add the mixed vegetables and cooked protein. Simmer until the vegetables are tender and the flavors are well combined.
  3. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with steamed rice or quinoa.

Coconut Milk Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • Fresh fruits for topping

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the coconut milk, chia seeds, and sweetener. Mix well.
  2. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator until it thickens into a pudding-like consistency.
  3. Serve the coconut milk chia pudding topped with fresh fruits of your choice.
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