Is Coconut Milk Good for Diabetics? 5 Benefits & Daily Limits

In the life of a diabetic individual, the right choices in food matter the most. The health and maintenance of one’s blood sugar levels decide the proper management of diabetes.

Many a time, regular food items and drinks may become causes of concern. To avoid such little mishaps that can have a greater impact on your body, you should pay proper attention to what you eat and its details.

Today, we will help you with a very well-known item in your kitchen and tell you all you need to know about it. It is – ‘Coconut milk.’

You might be wondering…

  • Is coconut milk good for diabetics?
  • What are its benefits?
  • What are its nutritional components?
  • What are the daily limits of including coconut milk into your meal?

Well, let us find out!

What is Coconut Milk?

What is Coconut Milk

Before diving into what it is good for or not good for, let us first get familiar with this food item.

Ancient Japanese Tonic

Coconut milk is a rather famous food item or a cooking ingredient in many parts of the world. It is most common in Asian countries and is used in a myriad of different cuisines.

Coconut milk is very rich and nutritious as well. It is extracted from the meaty white portion of the ripe coconut. It has a number of essential vitamins and minerals that make it an excellent product overall.

Coconut has many uses, and of this fruit, every part is beneficial in making something or else. The milk extracted from coconuts is enriched with nutritious substances, but it is also very delicious and often deemed tastier than regular milk options.

The thick consistency and texture make it a great addition when used in curries, soups, sauces, and various other dishes. It is satisfying both in terms of nutrition as well as taste.

But even with all the excellent components of coconut milk, is it completely safe for diabetics? Let us get on to know the answer to this question.

Is Coconut Milk Good for Diabetics?

When it comes to the whole coconut fruit, it is an excellent item for any diabetic. Coconut is a Super-food for any diabetic patient. But is it the same when it comes to the milk pressed put of coconuts?

Coming to Coconut milk, it is a slightly tricky food item for anybody who is diabetic. Coconut milk is said to possess many great nutrients that can benefit a diabetic individual, but at the same time, it is high in fat and the Glycemic Index.

Diabetics should consume coconut milk only in limited and moderated quantities. Otherwise, the effects of it can be harmful to blood sugar levels.

See also  15 Common Foods with Low Glycemic Index

The difficulties of including coconut milk begin with its excessive fat content. Diabetics are advised to have a regulated amount of all nutrients. Still, the fat contained in this milk variety can be excessive for the limit as per a diabetic’s health.

Excess fat leads to the development of an accumulation of it. In addition to that, it is also harmful to one’s cholesterol levels. In combination, this can have an overall detrimental effect and cause many health risks.

Moreover, some coconut milk varieties that are available in markets are often found with added sugars.

Naturally occurring coconut milk is absent of added sugars. This is a better option to choose if you have diabetes. It will not have an immense impact on your blood sugars.

Let us have an indepth look at the Glycemic concept of Coconut milk. This will help us understand why coconut milk is a tricky item to include in a diabetic diet.

What is the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Coconut Milk?

What is the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Coconut Milk

The measure of how a food will affect one’s diabetic sugar levels is easier to determine when you look at its Glycemic levels.

The Glycemic Index of many available foods is measured on a scale of 0 to 100. The ranks show how much or less blood sugar levels may rise to consume a particular food item.

The Glycemic Index of various foods is categorized into three main groups – Low, Medium, and High. Here is a table representing the Glycemic Index categories:

Sl. No. Glycemic Index CategoriesGlycemic Index Range
1.Low Glycemic IndexFrom 0 to 55
2.Medium Glycemic IndexFrom 56 to 69
3.High Glycemic Index70 and above

As per the categories, the Glycemic Index of coconut milk falls under the Hugh Glycemic Index range.

Coconut milk has a High Glycemic Index of 97. This is considered very high and would lead to extremely high sugar levels. Compared to Coconut milk, regular cow milk is lower in Glycemic Index, with only 47.

Veggie causing Diabetes

But the Glycemic Load of coconut milk is what creates a difference in opinions.

The Glycemic Load of foods is measured and ranked on a scale that further categorizes the Glycemic Load into three categories. The Glycemic Load denotes how the food and the portion consumed will affect blood sugar levels.

Portion sizes matter a lot. Even with foods that are not so recommended for diabetics, if one can healthily manipulate the portion sizes, it can be consumed easily.

The Glycemic Load is a better and realistic indicator of whether a particular food is safe to be included in a diabetic diet or not. It is more relevant as it takes into consideration the quantity of food that is taken.

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Here is a table representing the Glycemic Load categories:

Sl. No. Glycemic Load CategoriesGlycemic Load range
1.Low Glycemic LoadFrom 0 to 10
2.Medium Glycemic LoadFrom 11 to 19
3.High Glycemic Load20 and above

The Glycemic Load of coconut milk is low. It is only 4.81. This is a low value, and it indicates that the blood sugar levels will rise but at a very slow pace, which is harmless for diabetics.

Hence, the value of the Glycemic Load helps to nullify the heightened importance of the Glycemic Index.

Several experiments conducted in labs have shown that coconut’s effect on diabetic blood sugar levels is very safe and efficient. They don’t raise the blood sugar levels at once, but rather keep the blood sugars stable and normalize the internal functioning with a constant supply of energy to the body.

Moreover, it has been deduced that porridge made using coconut milk is low in the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. It has a Glycemic Index ranging from 30 to 35. It is a safe and rather magical cereal, snack, or dinner option for diabetes patients.

We will tell you the recipe of this magic coconut milk porridge later in this article.

What is the Daily Limit of Coconut Milk for Diabetes?

By now, you know that coconut milk is good for health and needs to be taken in regulated quantities. But what are these regulated quantities? Let us find out.

  • It is best to stick to a moderate amount of only 2 cups per day. It is safe and enough amount to satisfy your cereal bowl needs.
  • If possible, it is better not to have coconut milk every day. 2-3 times a week is a proper frequency.
  • You can include it within a healthy smoothie, oatmeal, or other cereals. It can be added to soups to make it creamier.

What are the Nutritional values of Coconut milk?

Following is a table representing the nutritional components available in coconut milk and their respective quantities:

Sl. No. Nutrients available in 1 cup Amount available
1.Calories445
2.Carbohydrates6.35 g
3.Fats48.21 g
4.Proteins4.57 g
5.Water164.71 g
6.Calcium41 mg
7.Iron7.46 mg
8.Potassium497 mg
9.Magnesium104 mg
10.Vitamin C2.30 mg

Now, let us look at the various health benefits of coconut milk.

5 Health benefits of Coconut milk

5 Health benefits of Coconut milk

  1. Aids fat loss

Coconut milk is a great way to include foods that are good for managing a healthy and normal weight. The presence of Medium-chain Triglycerides (MCT) in it is useful in keeping the weight under control.

  1. Increases Insulin Sensitivity

The presence of MCT is also useful to increase insulin sensitivity. This, in turn, leads to better insulin functioning and managed glucose levels in the body.

  1. Good for heart

Coconut milk can also benefit the heart in certain ways. It may not help decrease the good cholesterols but surely help improve levels of bad cholesterol in the body. However, make sure to include healthy amounts.

  1. Boosts immunity

The availability of many nutrients and minerals is good for the overall body. It can boost immunity and protect against diseases.

  1. Skin and hair

This milk has also been used in Ayurveda and cosmetics to enrich the health of skin and hair. It has amazing hydrating benefits.

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Coconut Milk Porridge Recipe for Diabetes

Ingredients:

  • Oats (1 cup)
  • Water (2 cups)
  • Coconut milk (1 cup)
  • Cinnamon (1/2 tsp.)
  • Vanilla (1 tsp.)

Method:

  1. Boil the oats with the water in a saucepan.
  1. Let the oats absorb all the water.
  1. Turn off the pan’s heat and add the vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut milk to the boiled oats.
  1. Turn on the heat once more, and on a low flame, stir the oats and milk until the consistency is creamy.
  1. Pour the oats and add your favorite diabetic-friendly fruits if you want to make your cereal even healthier.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30004125/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27540708/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24682189/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30906043/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29584924/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30853534/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30744855/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30156521/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30308985/
  10. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323743#top-3-health-benefits
  11. https://foodstruct.com/food/coconut-milk
  12. https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/coconut-milk-basics
Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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