Coconut milk can be used as a mild, creamy base for curries, soups, sauces, and smoothies. It is the perfect dairy substitute and is often used in vegan and dairy-free recipes. My favorite example of this is the recipe for a whipped cream made of coconut fat in my book Gluten-Free Cupcakes.
Coconut milk also makes a delectable base for vegan ice cream such as this creamy Vegan Mint Chip.
Like coconut meat and coconut oil, coconut milk is high in saturated fat; however, because of healthy fiber, and heart-healthy antioxidants, and medium-chain triglycerides, it is a good source of energy and a fast-metabolizing source of healthy fats.
Coconut milk contains several important minerals such as selenium, potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium. There is evidence that this rich mineral content makes it beneficial in a number of ways, including: maintaining blood sugar levels, decreasing inflammation, and preventing aging. The vitamin C coconut milk contains also makes it valuable for boosting the immune system.
Since most coconut milk is exported in cans, be sure that the brand you buy doesn’t use bisphenol-A (or BPA) in their can lining. This chemical can leach into foods–especially salty, acidic, or fatty foods like coconut milk and long term exposure can cause many health problems. I recommend Natural Value since it is one of the few brands that doesn’t use BPA in their can linings. Better yet, use my recipe for making your own homemade coconut milk.