What’s going on with coconut cream? Why is it so hard to find reputable information on it? And could this decadent food be the key to your keto success?
Trying to find information on coconut cream on the interwebs isn’t easy. That is, unless you’re looking for recipes and how-to guides. If you’re looking for factual information to decide whether or not this is a food for you, well, that’s an entirely different story.
We dug deep to find out all we could about coconut cream to find out what it is, is if it’s healthy for you, how to make it, how to purchase it and what it has to offer you.
As to why it’s so hard to find information on coconut cream? People are sleeping on this nutritional wonder because it’s been around for ages, inexpensive and simple. Read: it’s boring.
Coconut cream is:
- Rich in cancer fighting lauric acid that has brought coconut oil and other coconut products into the spotlight in recent years. A 2017 study showed that lauric acid fights cancer by activating signaling prompts for apoptosis (dead of cell) in cancer cells[*].
- Shown to improve cognitive function in Alzheimer patients in just the 21 day duration of a 2017 study[*].
Not only does coconut cream provide a dairy free, keto approved alternative for a variety of uses ranging from your morning coffee to decadent desserts that keep you keto, it packs the major health benefits that have global coconut demand continually rising[*].
But, the majority of coconut cream for purchase in the America is canned. Be sure to purchase BPA-free products. The National Institute of Health Sciences recommends watching for BPA, bisphenol A, a chemical used in resins and plastic products. It leaches into the food stored in it and then into whomever consumes it. BPA exposure is so prevalent that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found BPA in the urine samples of 6 year old children[*].
Let’s take a look at why adding coconut cream to your diet is a recipe for success.
What Is Coconut Cream?
There are tons of coconut products on the market and there’s a maelstrom of hype surrounding the food. Everything from coconut water to coconut cakes are making both mainstream and academic news.
There’s whole coconuts, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut meat, coconut oil and coconut cream, which is different than cream of coconut.
Coconuts are actually both a drupe fruit not a nut. The word coconut originates from both 16th century Portuguese and Spanish word ‘coco’ meaning skull or head. This was in reference to the 3 indentations on a coconut giving it a skull like appearance[*].
Once a coconut is harvested it can be turned into a variety of things ranging from electrolyte rich coconut water to clothing fibers made from the husks.
Coconut water is the the fluid found inside of a coconut. This naturally sweet water only has about 45 calories per serving but is loaded with potassium and other electrolytes making it perfect replacement for sugary, additive laden sports drinks.
Coconut meat refers to the white, edible portion of the coconut. It can be eaten raw or cooked or turned into a variety of other coconut products such as oil, milk and cream.
Then there’s coconut milk and coconut cream. Coconut milk refers to two very different types of products. True (original) coconut milk is made by taking equal parts shredded coconut and water and bringing them to a boil. Then you pour the mixture through a cheesecloth and press out as much fluid as possible. The fluid portion is coconut milk. Full fat coconut milk is said to have the consistency of whole cow’s milk.
The other coconut milk product is in reference to the milk substitute product made by the process above, further diluted with more water and fortified to meat the national standards for a dairy milk replacement. This type of coconut milks is far thinner and often has unwanted sugar and food additives.
How Can I Make Coconut Cream?
Coconut cream is made in a similar fashion to coconut milk. You take 4 parts shredded coconut meat and boil it with 1 part water. Then that mixture is put through cheesecloth and pressed for any excess liquid. It’s going to be much thicker than coconut milk. From there you allow the mixture to rest and what rises to the top is coconut cream.
A quick hack to making your own is to refrigerate a BPA free can of coconut milk and scooping out the solid coconut cream. The fluid that remains can be discarded.
To do this, make sure the coconut milk doesn’t contain any emulsifying agents like guar gum. These are put into coconut milk to keep it from separating. Pure coconut cream ingredients are coconut and water.
Then there’s cream of coconut which is a sweetened, sometimes flavored, version of coconut cream. It’s definitely not keto approved and cannot be used in savory recipes. The sugar and additive content of cream of coconut void the nutritional benefits of coconut.
The Nutrition of Coconut Cream
On top of the above mentioned nutrition, coconut cream is going to pack health wonder, medium chain fatty acid lauric acid.
3 Health Benefits of Coconut Cream
#1. Coconut Cream is Satisfying and Satiating
Let’s stay focused here. Coconut cream is not a stand alone food. It’s an ingredient that you add to recipes, so don’t expect it to fill any massive nutritional voids.
What it can and will do is add a pop of nutrition to everything from your morning coffee to keto curries, which you serve over a bed of cauliflower rice. The creamy texture, rich flavor and fat content will not only help you stay fuller longer (satiation), but will make the meal more satisfying.
A big and overlooked reason that people overeat or don’t stick to their healthy eating plan is because they genuinely don’t enjoy their food. Way too many of us are eating food for the sake of eating it and that adds up to extra pounds and health problems.
When you really and truly enjoy what you’re eating, not only do you eat less in that sitting, you’re less likely to binge on some nonsense later in the day. There’s a difference between eating and eating well.
#2. Coconut Cream Contains Lauric Acid
No need for a catchy subtitle here folks. Lauric acid can stand on its own. This medium chain fatty acid helps with everything from weight loss to cognitive function to cancer cell slaying. It’s the same fatty acid that brought olive oil in to mass popularity.
A 2017 study found that lauric acid goes sets of the signal in cancer cells to initiate apoptosis – cellular death[*]. That means this MCT gets the cancer cell to push its own self destruct button.
Another study fresh off the presses in April 2018 shows that lauric acid works synergistically with cancer cell specific chemo agent selenite[*]. This is really good news as chemo is notoriously brutal on cancer patients and this translates to a shorter and less harsh form of treatment.
This fatty acid came to rise in popularity over 20 years when it was found to increase HDL, otherwise known as good cholesterol. These days it’s making the news for it’s positive effects on the cardiovascular system, neurons and ketosis[*].
All of this to say that coconut cream is a no brainer replacement for toxic coffee creamers.
#3. Coconut Cream is a Versatile Food That Can Keep You Keto
Coconut cream can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. As mentioned it adds both a creamy texture and fat content that will help you enjoy your meal and state satiated.
Beyond that you can use this ingredient in a variety of dishes ranging from vegan whipped cream (no need to add sugar) to some seriously next level curry all the way to dairy-free dressings. You can even swap it out one for one for heavy whipping cream.
Because of coconut cream’s versatility and ability to enrich the dishes it’s added to, it’s a great ingredient to stalk up on to keep you on the path to your goals. Having it as a pantry staple makes it a logic item to grab and add to your meal or snack rather than making poor food choices.
Often overlooked, a major key to success is stocking your cabinets with healthy choices that support your success.
How to Buy and Store Coconut Cream
Unless you’re making your own at home, make sure to check the ingredient list on the packaging. Pure coconut cream will have 2 ingredients – coconut and water.
Some may have emulsifying agents in them such as guar gum to keep them from separating, but this also reduces their functionality in many recipes.
Make sure the container it is in is BPA free. If it doesn’t have the official BPA free labeling on it, it contains BPA. Put it back and choose another product.
Store in a cool, dry place like any other pantry staple. If you’re purchasing canned coconut milk to skim off the cream, place it in the fridge at least overnight. If you’re going to be doing this on a regular basis, store a few cans in the fridge.
Coconut Cream Safety Concerns
The largest safety concern with coconut cream or any coconut product is an allergy. If you or someone in your household is allergic to coconut, it’s best not to bring it into the home.
Coconut Cream Recipes
Take coconut cream’s versatility for a spin with these Perfect Keto recipes that span the flavor spectrum.
Chocolate Keto Birthday Cake with Vanilla Frosting
You can have your cake and stay keto too. If you’ve got a birthday coming up to celebrate or just want to celebrate life, this delicious chocolate cake is a perfect choice. Easy to make and even easier to devour. Get the recipe HERE.
Keto Guro with Creamy Tzatziki
See what coconut cream can do for savory foods. You’ll enjoy every bite of these keto gyros and the creamy tzatziki. Although they’ll keep you satiated for hours, you’ll be thinking about how delicious they are all day. Get the recipe HERE.
Chocolate Mint Keto Ice Cream
Coconut cream makes it possible for you to stick to a keto diet and still enjoy ice cream. This recipe is absolutely perfect for satiating a sweet tooth on a hot day. Get the recipe HERE.
Coconut Cream Is Not a Miracle, But It Is a Pantry Staple
Coconut cream is nothing more and nothing less than a simple ingredient you can use in just about anything from sunup to sundown. It’s not superfood that you can live off of exclusively, but it pairs well with a variety of other ingredients while improving your cholesterol, waistline and fending off cancer.