It is common knowledge that coconut milk is obtained from coconut kernel using coconut gratings and water. Coconut kernel, coconut milk and coconut oil are used is most Africa, Asian and South American cuisine.
Indians use coconut kernel, coconut gratings and coconut milk in the preparation of various foods such as curries including Kiri Hodi Pol Sambol, Pol – Pittu, Watalappan, Pol – toffee, Bibikkan, coconut biscuits, coconut pudding etc.
Coconut milk which is prepared from coconut kernel contains proteins and fibre consisting mainly of galactomannas, fats, vitamins and minerals. As such effects of coconut milk on blood lipids are those of coconut kernel.
Nutritional value of coconut kernel
Forty five grammes of coconut kernel (a piece of kernel 2″ X 2 “X1/2”) contains 15.07g of fat, 0.64g of polyunsaturated fat, 13.36g of saturated fat, 6.85g of carbohydrate, 1.5g of protein, 1.92 of crude fibre, 1.48mg of vitamin C, 0.03mg of thiamine, 0.01mg of riboflavin, 0.24mg of nicotinic acid, 0.02mg of vitamin B 6, 11.88mg of folic acid, 6.30mg of calcium, 1.09mg of iron and 0.50mg of zinc.
People in Lakshadeveep islands in India who consume large amounts of coconut oil and coconut kernel suffer from very lower incidence of heart attacks compared to rest of the world. (P K Thampan, Facts and fallacies about coconut oil)
The incidence of cardiovascular disease among Nicobar islands in India is very low in spite of the fact that their staple food comprise mainly raw coconut and coconut products (P.K. Thampan, 1994, Coconut Palm and its products, Pub,. By Greenvilla Pu. House, Cohin, 19, Kerala).
In conclusion, coconut oil has no hypercholesterolemic properties when consumed as a part of normal mixed diet because coconut oil is a neutral oil. The consumption of coconut oil along with coconut kernel produces a cholesterol lowering effect. According to research done in Sri Lanka, consumption of coconut oil with coconut kernel causes elevation of HLD cholesterol (good cholesterol) and a reduction of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Epidemiological studies done in India show that incidence of heart attacks is very low in populations that consume coconut oil and coconut kernel.
Too much of anything is always harmful. But we do have to remember that nature provides certain food types, in certain environmental conditions, because that is the ideal i such conditions. Coconut milk and oil is the ideal fruit in tropical conditions!!